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Proposed Trip to Laos

  • pajero

    Joined Travelfish
    6th September, 2009
    Posts: 15

    Hi
    The following trip to Burma has been proposed to us. We are 67 years old and are not back packers i.e. more spoilt.
    In addition to laos, we will also be seeing Cambodia, Yunnan before arriving in Burma.
    Our main concern is.... will we be seeing different things after having visited in Laos as compared to Cambodia, Burma and Yunnan.
    Any comments would be welcome.
    Cambodia:
    Day 1 Bangkok-Phnom Penh by morning flight
    Sightseeing Phnom Penh
    Day 2 Phnom Penh-Kratie
    Day 3 Kratie-Rattanakiri
    Day 4 The Tampoum totems
    day 5 The Kroeun Territory
    Day 6 Rattanakiri-Stung Treng- Kratie
    Day 7 Kratie-Khong Island
    o/n Khong Island

    Laos:
    Day 8 Khong-Khone-Khong
    Day 9 Khong - Pakse
    Day 10 Pakse-Vientiane by flight
    Day 11 Vientiane-Luang Prabang by pm flight
    Day 12 Luang Prabang
    Day 13 Luang Prabang

    Yunnan:
    Day 14 Kunming
    Day 15 Lijiang
    Day 16 Lijiang
    Day 17 Dali
    Day 19 Dali
    Day 20 Tengchong
    Day 21 Tengchong-Ruli

    Myanmar:
    Day 22 Ruili-Muse-Lashio
    Day 23 Lashio-Pyin Oo Lwin
    Day 24 Pyin OO Lwin-Mandalay
    Day 25 Mandalay [Amarapura-Ava-Sagaing]
    Day 26 Mandalay-Bagan by boat
    Day 27 Mandalay-Bagan
    Day 28 Bagan
    Day 29 Bagan-Heho-Inle Lake
    Day 30 Heho-Yangon
    Day 31 Yangon-Bangkok

    #1 Posted: 15/5/2011 - 02:44

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  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location New Zealand
    Posts: 2088
    Total reviews: 20
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    I would suggest that are trying to do far too much in a very short period of time. I haven't been toYunnan and Myanmar, so can't comment about those areas. However, I have travelled elsewhere through Asia and am planning a trip to Laos later this year so am familiar with travelling times, etc through research and reading other posts on the forum.

    With this itinerary you will be on the virtually everyday. Don't underestimate the distances in Asia and how long it takes to travel. Even when flying, you end up losing 1/2 day just getting to/from airports, to/from hotels, checking in, waiting, etc.

    Looking at Laos alone, you will be 'sight-seeing' as you move around - but won't have any time to just enjoy and absorb (other then then few days in LP). Cut out Vientiane, for example, and allow yourself more time in LP - I hear you can easily spend 5-7 days here without getting bored.

    Being on the move everyday can be tiring, less rewarding - and your entire trip becomes a blur of airports, busrides, etc - and giving you little chance to meet people and experience a bit of 'culture'.

    Just by 2 cents worth.

    #2 Posted: 15/5/2011 - 05:10

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location New Zealand
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    I would suggest that are trying to do far too much in a very short period of time. I haven't been toYunnan and Myanmar, so can't comment about those areas. However, I have travelled elsewhere through Asia and am planning a trip to Laos later this year so am familiar with travelling times, etc through research and reading other posts on the forum.

    With this itinerary you will be on the virtually everyday. Don't underestimate the distances in Asia and how long it takes to travel. Even when flying, you end up losing 1/2 day just getting to/from airports, to/from hotels, checking in, waiting, etc.

    Looking at Laos alone, you will be 'sight-seeing' as you move around - but won't have any time to just enjoy and absorb (other then then few days in LP). Cut out Vientiane, for example, and allow yourself more time in LP - I hear you can easily spend 5-7 days here without getting bored.

    Being on the move everyday can be tiring, less rewarding - and your entire trip becomes a blur of airports, busrides, etc - and giving you little chance to meet people and experience a bit of 'culture'.

    Just by 2 cents worth.

    #3 Posted: 15/5/2011 - 05:10

  • caseyprich

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd March, 2010
    Location China
    Posts: 1234
    Total reviews: 53
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    I agree with Lizzy, that is fast! I've got a lot of experience backpack traveling, and not meaning to be offensive, I'm not 67 years old and I'd be tired with that schedule. I'd really want to sit down and rest somewhere.

    I would recommend Don Khon over Don Khong in 4,000 Islands for you. Um, 6 days in Laos seems really short . . . I'd normally recommend at minimum 3 nights in Luang Prabang, you have a night and an morning in Vientiane -- so are you planning to see anything there? Again, as Lizzy says it is nicer to have a spot to keep your bags and take day trips around than it is to keep packing up and moving every day.

    Yunnan is very different than Laos - but much more touristy and developed also - though you are going to a good place to get away from that. I assume you'd fly LP to Kunming, but you should know that flight does not run every day, so you'd have to plan your schedule just right to hit the flight. As well - NO OVERLAND TRAVEL FROM CHINA TO MYANMAR. You will have to go back to Kunming and fly into Myanmar.

    China is a very big place, and Yunnan is one of my favorite - but I'd almost recommend cutting it out of your trip so you could spend more time in Cambodia and Laos. Save Yunnan for a future trip to China itself - there is so much here that you could easily spend a month in Yunnan and Sichuan alone.

    #4 Posted: 15/5/2011 - 09:32

  • pajero

    Joined Travelfish
    6th September, 2009
    Posts: 15

    We are not backpackers as stated in my original post.

    We did spend 10 days in Northern Thailand some years ago and have already done Angor Wat and Halong Bay.

    Nevertheless, many thanks for the very helpful comments.

    We do have some flights within Laos and from Laos to Kunming and to Burma.

    Our main concern is seeing new and different places as opposed to "been there done that"!

    #5 Posted: 15/5/2011 - 10:41

  • pajero

    Joined Travelfish
    6th September, 2009
    Posts: 15

    Why Don Khon over Don Khong ?

    #6 Posted: 15/5/2011 - 10:41

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location New Zealand
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    Pajero - I think our comments are relevant regardless of 'class' or even age of travel. But I agree with Casey - your timetable would be exhausting.

    Your plans are probably doable - but just maybe not as enjoyable as it could be. If you consider you will lose 1/2 - 1 day each time you are in transit between destinations, that's a lot of time of your 30 days spent at airports, on buses, waiting, etc.

    "Our main concern is seeing new and different places as opposed to "been there done that"!"

    But that's exactly what it seems like - a marathon journey to see as many places as possible without taking the time to enjoy them. However, each to their own. I do understand that time is often limited when you are on holiday - but slowing it down is a lesson that I have learned over the years. Quality over quantity, etc.

    #7 Posted: 15/5/2011 - 11:14

  • caseyprich

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location China
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    Total reviews: 53
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    Don Khon has a lot more activites on hand, a nice waterfall to visit and is a smaller island to try and take in with the limited time. The town and area by the bridge are also very nice. The bridge also offers a direct connect to Don Dhet for a change of scenery on a day bike riding or walking. I've heard that Don Khong is doesn't have as much going on for it.

    Day 21 and 22 made it look like you planned an overland into Burma, that is why I made reference to the need to return to Kunming, a trip that would probably take an entire day from Ruli.

    You'll really get a chance to see new and different places if you stay in a location for a longer period of time, otherwise you'll find yourself taking the same minivan trips with other groups and staying in the tourist centers of well traveled destinations.

    I might suggest spending two nights in Champasake to soak up a smaller town feel in Southern Laos and adding more time to explore the area around Luang Prabang , with maybe a boat trip up to Nong Kiaow for the same reason. This would add significantly to your time in Laos and would again cut away from the China part of your trip.

    However, Tengchong is certainly not on most people's travel itinerary and there are plenty of places to get away from the crowds of tourists if you are willing to explore areas outside of Lijiang (omitting Dali). As well, south of Kunming you'll find some small and towns on the way to yuanyang rice terraces which are very pretty. In fact, the cities between Luang Prabang and Kunming when done overland are often not visited by many tourists, though Xishuanbanna is getting more notice these days.

    #8 Posted: 15/5/2011 - 12:45

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 953

    I think your itinerary is absurd. It is far too busy to get a feel for the countries you are visiting. You should spend at least 3-4 days in Luang Prabang and 2 in Vientiane. I also agree with spending some time in Champassak and maybe even Savannakhet. If this was propsed to you by a travel agent, I would argue that the person is incompetent. There is no flight between Luang Prabang and Kunming anymore, so you are looking at a 2 day bus journey , and it is not a comfortable one.

    #9 Posted: 15/5/2011 - 13:51

  • caseyprich

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd March, 2010
    Location China
    Posts: 1234
    Total reviews: 53
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    At least 48

    Good heads up on the LP to Kunming flight Rufus - glad to know that.

    #10 Posted: 15/5/2011 - 21:03

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  • SBE

    Click here to learn more about SBE
    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Global Village
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    I replied to this post on the Burma branch. Seems it is possible to do the land crossing from China into Myanmar too... if you like paperwork hassle and traveling in the company of a govt stooge while in Burma.

    #11 Posted: 15/5/2011 - 22:01

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6338
    Total reviews: 10

    Please tell me that this was a wind up. That itinerary is insane.

    #12 Posted: 15/5/2011 - 22:11

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 953

    I don't think it is a wind up, Mac. The same query was posted on three separate sites.

    #13 Posted: 16/5/2011 - 09:38

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location New Zealand
    Posts: 2088
    Total reviews: 20
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    Pajero - I hope you don't think we are being harsh. That is not the intention. But you did ask for advice, and the people who have responded have a fair bit of travel experience in the SEA area. I also notice that you have received similar responses in another forum, so it's not just us making these recommendations!

    I hope you have found the replies useful. We really DO want you to have an enjoyable trip.

    #14 Posted: 16/5/2011 - 10:43

  • pajero

    Joined Travelfish
    6th September, 2009
    Posts: 15

    None of the comments have been taken personally.

    I posted the question with the hope of getting feedback, which was forthcoming.

    The feedback that dealt with specific locations was most helpful.

    Thank you.

    #15 Posted: 16/5/2011 - 11:02

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6338
    Total reviews: 10

    Hombre, you will be spending almost all of your time in transit with this itinerary. I hope you like buses, airplanes, taxis, trains, airports, bus terminals... because most of your daylight hours will be spent there.

    #16 Posted: 17/5/2011 - 01:02

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