Photo: Classic scenery surrounds Vang Vieng.

Laos forum

Clueless about budget travel in Laos

Posted by csawala on 20/6/2011 at 21:22

I will be in Cambodia until early-mid September, and would like to go up to Laos then onward through SE Asia.

Time is not an issue, but money is. I need to spread my moneys out in order to see everything from Thailand down to Bali if I can (including Philippines, and a whole lot of scuba diving along the way).

The question is whether to go straight from Cambodia, or get into Thailand first and go up from there. What are the easiest and/or cheapest ways to get there and back?
Also, what are some of the recommendations for Laos?

#1 csawala has been a member since 21/4/2011. Posts: 13

Posted by MADMAC on 20/6/2011 at 23:18

As far as transportation goes, bus is it. Air is expensive in Laos.

#2 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957


Posted by christay2009 on 21/6/2011 at 02:39

Laos is as cheap as you need it to be

What / where are you interested in seeing / going?

#3 christay2009 has been a member since 8/2/2009. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 414

Posted by Thomas922 on 21/6/2011 at 05:48

You are not getting better replies because you aren't giving us any help. Where in Cambodia will you be? That helps people determine how to go about it as in what routes. What do you want to see or do in Laos? Then people an give you ideas. Don't say everything. There is know such thing as see everything. That just means see all the famous stuff people talk about. Others will only give you the non famous stuff. Research Laos in the places link at the top of this page and get back to us!

#4 Thomas922 has been a member since 1/7/2007. Location: United States. Posts: 352
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Posted by JoeWilde on 21/6/2011 at 09:09

Laos is extremely cheap compared to most places, it really depends on what kind of experience you want to have when you're down there. If you're going for Touristy then I would recommend Vang Vieng as a party area full of teenagers along the river and going tubing. However if you would prefer a more relaxing family-ish time than Vietiane is your place and if you want a kind of possibility of going for hiking etc... but still in a nice area then Luang Prabang is your best bet. But some more information is kind of necessary to answer this well

#5 JoeWilde has been a member since 21/6/2011. Posts: 1

Posted by christay2009 on 21/6/2011 at 23:34

I would probably say that all three of those were fairly touristy.

Also, if OP is crossing from Cambodia he will be in Southern Laos (right?) so I would probably have a look at the TF section on this and see if anywhere interests you. I really want to go to the Konglor Cave (just a suggestion). You should also probably read this about the border crossing: http://www.travelfish.org/feature/84

If you decide Southern Laos does not look worth it for you then that would suggest heading into Thailand first then going into Northern Laos from there.

#6 christay2009 has been a member since 8/2/2009. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 414

Posted by csawala on 22/6/2011 at 14:13

Sorry about the lack of info, allow me to elaborate a bit.

I will be coming from southern Cambodia, so I will probably be departing for Laos (direct or via Thailand) from Siem Reap.

I am an extremely easy-going guy, so I could do a bit of anything really. I love beautiful nature, water, meeting people and just enjoying the experience, so anything along those lines should be great. And if I can bring my DSLR along with me for any of this, all the better!

Luang Prabang sounds pretty nice, with its' "sleepy nature", but also Vang Vieng sounds good for a little more excitement and western food (I have spent nearly the last 2 years in Japan... even if it is Westernized, a proper pizza would go a LONG way to make me happy!)
The Gibbon experience in Huay Xai also sounds pretty fun... I always did enjoy being in trees.

But like I said, very easy going, hence asking the veterans for recommendations. I am mostly concerned with how to go about getting in and around.

#7 csawala has been a member since 21/4/2011. Posts: 13

Posted by christay2009 on 22/6/2011 at 20:31

If you are crossing from Cambodia into Laos by land, as above, you will be pretty far from Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng and Huay Xai.

If you are more interested in the North, might be quicker to cut into Thailand and go up through Nong Kai into Vientane then work you way up and across toward Huay Xai.

#8 christay2009 has been a member since 8/2/2009. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 414

Posted by caseyprich on 22/6/2011 at 20:39

If you're in Cambodia you may as well go into Southern Laos and check out Si Phon Don (4,000 Islands), stop in Pakse and if you have the time go into the Bolaven "awesome scooter ride" Plateau (http://www.travelfish.org/feature/83 or http://www.travelfish.org/feature/10) before heading up to the north to hit all the spots mentioned above. To save time and money just take the overnight bus from Pakse to Vientiane. From there you can go up to VV and LP . . . . possibly going through Luang Nam Tha for some hiking on your way to the Thai border at Huay Xai, and this will give you a chance to go through Chiang Mai on the way to Bangkok and see some of Northern Thailand. However, you'll be entering Thailand via land and will only get a two week visa, so if you want to take your time in Thailand you may consider the cost of a flight from Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai.

#9 caseyprich has been a member since 3/3/2010. Location: China. Posts: 1,281
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Posted by christay2009 on 22/6/2011 at 22:48

Seconded!

#10 christay2009 has been a member since 8/2/2009. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 414

Posted by Rufus on 23/6/2011 at 14:36

"also Vang Vieng sounds good for a little more excitement and western food"

Food in VV is generally rubbish. The best western food by far in Lao can be found in Vientiane. Luang Prabang also has some good western restaurants.

#11 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 973

Posted by MADMAC on 23/6/2011 at 17:41

Bangkok. You want western food, go to Bangkok. The German restaraunt in Sukhimvite on Soi 11 is better than in Germany! Larry's dive has great burgers. There is excellent western food all over that area. Laos... I don't even think they have a McDonalds in Laos - Rufus, McD's arrive in Vientiane yet?

#12 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by caseyprich on 24/6/2011 at 07:47

Mook doesn't have a Mickey D's does it?

#13 caseyprich has been a member since 3/3/2010. Location: China. Posts: 1,281
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Posted by MADMAC on 24/6/2011 at 10:21

Hell no Casey. When it comes to food, we're in the stone age here.

#14 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957


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