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Laos Itinerary Ideas - November / December

  • lithium

    Joined Travelfish
    27th August, 2011
    Posts: 10

    I have 10-15 days to spend in Laos some time between November 19th and December 26th. I will either be coming from Bangkok and heading to Vietnam or vice versa.

    My main interests are: trekking, scenery, boat trips, cuisine and some history. Not big on museums and temples. Would be nice to meet up with other travellers but I'm not into partying and drinking.

    I've heard that Vientiane and Vang Vieng are nothing to write home about so I'm wondering if it's possible to spend all my time in Luang Prabang and surrounding areas. I definitely want to go to 4000 islands or Nong Khiaw.

    How feasible is it to go from Luang Prabang to 4000 islands and then go overland to Thailand or fly to Vietnam from there given that I have 10-15 days? Should I just stick to the north?

    I should add that I'm not keen on taking bus trips of more than 6 hrs.

    To summarise, I'm looking for tips on an itinerary that includes Luang Prabang and 4000 islands or Nong Khiaw.

    #1 Posted: 30/8/2011 - 06:37

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  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
    31st December, 2007
    Location New Zealand
    Posts: 2090
    Total reviews: 20
    Places visited:
    At least 107

    The suggestion below is based on my research for my upcoming Laos trip, and more or less reflects part of my plans.

    Start in LP, go upriver to Nong Khiaw by bus, then by boat back to LP. (From Nong Khiaw, consider going upriver to Muong Ngoi for another few days).

    From LP you can fly down to Pakse, then spend some time in the Plateau (Tad Lo, Paksong, etc - or do a bigger loop) and back to Pakse. From there bus to Champasak (maybe.. for the temples, which might not be of interest!) and down to the 4000 islands.

    From 4000 islands area, you can bus back to Pakse, then:
    - Fly to Bkk from Pakse
    - Overland across the border then fly to BKK on Air Asia (cheaper than flight from Pakse)
    - Overland back into Thailand (bus across border, then bus ortrain to BKK)
    - Fly to Vietnam (maybe?.. check Lao Airlines to see if they fly that route).

    #2 Posted: 30/8/2011 - 07:02

  • lithium

    Joined Travelfish
    27th August, 2011
    Posts: 10

    I decided to stick to the north and took some tips from the suggested itinerary on this site. Here's what I came up with:

    Monday 12-Dec Arrive in Vientiane @ 6:30pm
    Tuesday 13-Dec Vientiane
    Wednesday 14-Dec Vientiane
    Thursday 15-Dec Bus to Vang Vieng
    Friday 16-Dec Vang Vieng
    Saturday 17-Dec Bus to Luang Prabang
    Sunday 18-Dec Luang Prabang
    Monday 19-Dec Luang Prabang
    Tuesday 20-Dec Songthaew or bus from LP's North Bus Station, to reach Nong Khiaw (3-4hrs) then boat up to Muang Ngoi Neua (1hr)
    Wednesday 21-Dec Muang Ngoi Neua
    Thursday 22-Dec Boat to Nong Khiaw (1hr) and bus to Oudomxay (5hrs)
    Friday 23-Dec Oudomxay
    Saturday 24-Dec Bus to Luang Namtha (4hrs)
    Sunday 25-Dec Luang Namtha and bus to Huayxai (3.5 hrs)
    Monday 26-Dec Boat to Chiang Khong, tuk tuk to CK bus station and bus to Chiang Rai. Tuk tuk to CR airport & Fly to Bangkok @ 9:30pm

    Questions:

    1. Any idea what time the last bus headed to Huayxai leaves from Luang Namtha? I don't fancy being on a bus at lunchtime on Christmas day and would much rather leave Luang Namtha at 4pmish

    2. Is the plan for December 26th achievable?

    3. Is it possible to shorten the trip from Luang Prabang to Huayxai in any way?

    #3 Posted: 6/9/2011 - 07:00

  • kiwigirlnz

    Joined Travelfish
    17th August, 2011
    Posts: 15

    You can shorten the trip from Luang Prabang to Huayxai by taking the slow boat as then it is only 2 days, 1 night for the whole trip. Or you could take the overnight bus which leaves around 7-8pm and arrives around 7am. I found it ok, although you would have to be prepared to not sleep much. Flying is another option?
    We also went to Vang Vieng relunctantly but were so glad we did. We hired a scooter and went out 10km or so to some caves and pools where we swam with local children and watched them herd buffalo. The scenery around there is amazing and views from Mountain Riverview Guesthouse are spectacular! Have fun!

    #4 Posted: 27/9/2011 - 15:37

  • kiwigirlnz

    Joined Travelfish
    17th August, 2011
    Posts: 15

    To answer your second question; the boat from Huayxai takes 5minutes, the tuk tuk ride another 5 mins and the bus to Chiang Rai on the local bus took 2hrs 15 min even though it stopped about ten times to let people on and off. There are other air con flash buses that go there too though or direct to Chiang Mai (about 4hrs from Chiang Kong). So your plan is definitely achievable!

    #5 Posted: 27/9/2011 - 15:51

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 962

    "I've heard that Vientiane and Vang Vieng are nothing to write home about"

    This is another ignorant comment. From whom did you hear this? Vientiane has a lot to offer, particularly if, as you state, you like cuisine and history. (As an aside, how can you have an interest in History and not like museums or temples?) Anyway both Vienatiane and Vang Vieng have a lot to offer. The scenery around VV is worth seeing; there are caves to explore and treks to do.
    Those who make comments like this about Vientiane generally do not know the city at all.

    #6 Posted: 28/9/2011 - 16:34

  • lithium

    Joined Travelfish
    27th August, 2011
    Posts: 10

    @kiwigirlnz - thanks for your feedback however I decided not to go all the way up to Thailand as it would involve too much travel (see revised itinerary below).

    @Rufus - take a deep breath mate, you seem to need it :) I've revised my itinerary (see below) and have now included Vang Vieng and Vientiane .

    Monday 12-Dec Arrive in Vientiane @ 6:30pm
    Tuesday 13-Dec Vientiane
    Wednesday 14-Dec Vientiane
    Thursday 15-Dec Bus to Vang Vieng
    Friday 16-Dec Vang Vieng
    Saturday 17-Dec Bus to Luang Prabang
    Sunday 18-Dec Luang Prabang
    Monday 19-Dec Luang Prabang
    Tuesday 20-Dec Songthaew or bus from LP's North Bus Station, to reach Nong Khiaw (3-4hrs)
    Wednesday 21-Dec Nong Khiaw
    Thursday 22-Dec boat up to Muang Ngoi Neua (1hr)
    Friday 23-Dec Muang Ngoi Neua
    Saturday 24-Dec Boat to Nong Khiaw & bus/van to Luang Prabang
    Sunday 25-Dec Luang Prabang
    Monday 26-Dec Fly back to Bangkok from Luang Prabang

    #7 Posted: 10/10/2011 - 05:10

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