Photo: Classic scenery surrounds Vang Vieng.

Laos forum

Luang Prabang to Plain of Jars

Posted by qualitywork1 on 7/11/2011 at 01:16

Hi Everyone, I shall be in Laos in about 3 weeks and want to travel to Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, Phonsovan and Vientiene. What is the best order to do this in ? I hate long bus journeys and read the journey from LP to VV is about 8 hours. Is there a quicker way of doing this? I shall then be heading south and exiting at Cambodia. thanks. Also any must see places on the way? My budget is $70/day

#1 qualitywork1 has been a member since 19/9/2011. Posts: 13

Posted by Captain_Bob on 7/11/2011 at 13:18

"I hate long bus journeys"
Boy did you pick the wrong country (wink wink)!
Luang Prabang to Phonsavan is about 260km, but it's a very twisty hilly route so it takes a long time (daily 830am bus scheduled to arrive at 5:30pm). Generally the older the bus the longer it takes to crawl up the hills but I've seen newer buses and even minivans which can go faster so maybe worth paying a bit more for a modern vehicle (around 160,000k for VIP as opposed to 90,000k for standard bus).

#2 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,818


Posted by caseyprich on 7/11/2011 at 20:47

Phonsovan is a bit out of the way if you hate long bus rides - and I'd agree with Captain Bob that Laos isn't the best choice either - rent a motorbike.

As he said, the ride to Phonsavan is even longer than VV to LP. No matter, if you go out to Phonsavan the only way to get back is to go the same way (well, other ways are in for very long bus rides so off the table). I'm not sure what way you are headed into Laos - so not sure what to say about the best way to go in. However, the most logical would be LP first then down to Vientine if you are eventually headed south to Cambodia. . . I'm imagining you're going ot fly.

#3 caseyprich has been a member since 3/3/2010. Location: China. Posts: 1,281
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Posted by wanderingcat on 7/11/2011 at 22:04

"I hate long bus journeys"
Boy did you pick the wrong country (wink wink)!

agree with #2 :P
if you really really want short bus journeys in Laos, you'll have to break up the long journeys & overnight in towns along the way = longer time.
not too sure about doing those mountain routes in tourist minivans...they take less time but with riskier driving e.g. attacking blind corners at top speed...not fun when there are many large trucks on HWY 13, people tend to drive in the middle of the road instead of keeping to their respective lanes, & there are few if any guardrails.

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Posted by Captain_Bob on 9/11/2011 at 08:28

I agree about the potential hazard of taking a faster minivan, but if you're in a hurry and can't fly... On motorbike trips including some to Phonsavan I am usually at pace with the older buses since I stop a lot for photos, but minivans always win the race. They are often driven by young guys who are showing off their command of a motorised vehicle - youthful pride of driving something most Laos people cannot afford to own. And they even speed up when passing through villages, sort of like "get outta the way here comes Mr. Awesome!" But a slower clunky old bus avergaing 30kph is more "Laos Style"

#5 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,818

Posted by qualitywork1 on 10/11/2011 at 01:07

Thanks for the replies everyone. I would love to hire a motorbike to get to Phonsavan. Where would i hire one from please and how much would i expect to pay? Is it possible to hire a bike in luang Prabang and drop it off in Vientiene?

#6 qualitywork1 has been a member since 19/9/2011. Posts: 13

Posted by Captain_Bob on 10/11/2011 at 02:55

http://www.bike-rental-laos.com
One-way rentals available

#7 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,818

Posted by qualitywork1 on 10/11/2011 at 23:33

Thanks captain. i have emailed Jules rentals and await their reply.

#8 qualitywork1 has been a member since 19/9/2011. Posts: 13

Posted by qualitywork1 on 27/12/2011 at 01:09

Well i have just returned from my trip. We hired 2 honda 250cc bikes from Jules Classic bikes. They delivered them to us in LP. I thoroughly recomend this company. My friends bike broke internally at Nam Nuan. We rang jules who arranged for another bike to be shipped to Phonsavan[our next stop] the following day. Very good service from them and the bikes are in good condition and well maintained. It definately was my best bike trip ever. Thanks for the recomendation Captain Bob and happy Christmas to you all.

#9 qualitywork1 has been a member since 19/9/2011. Posts: 13

Posted by PeterJW on 2/4/2012 at 11:45

Hello. I did Luang Probang to Phonsavan in 6 hours by minivan. Don't take the bus - they have to turn the air con to get power to go uphills. I met a lot of unhappy people at a stop over - I think I can quote them as saying it was "****". Charge your ipod too because you won't be reading. Its also 6 hours from Phonsavan to Vang Viene. Exciting ride though with great views and maybe a near ditch experience or two. Personally that was the funniest bit for me but some people on the minivan were seriously shitting themselves and unhappy. I still don't know why I laughed. Its 4 hours from from Vang Viene to Vientiene instead of the 10 or 12 from Phonsavan. Watch out for coppers in the happy bars in vang Viene if thats your thing. I swear I saw a guy with well cropped hair, quite muscly, wearing a tubing t-shirt smoking something that smelled of nothing. I even pretended to go for a piss just so I could walk past him to check. I put mine in the ashtray and left...

#10 PeterJW has been a member since 30/8/2011. Posts: 19

Posted by MADMAC on 3/4/2012 at 00:28

"Oh, word of advice though, Vientiene is pretty horrible, i wouldn't plan on spending too much time there!"

Rufus, who lives there, says it's a great town. I'm inclined to believe him.

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

Posted by caseyprich on 3/4/2012 at 01:08

I've been to Laos twice now, 3 weeks each time, and still haven't made it to Vientiane - something I have to remedy. If you are coming in from BKK to the south it is out of the way, and if you're coming in and out from China, it is a little bit of a stretch to get down there. Last time I was in the north I chose to do a Phonsovan loop around to Sam Nuea and over to Nong Kiaow rather than go down to VV and Vientiane. There isn't anything there specifically to draw me in, but I'd actually be very interested now in seeing how the Laos people set up a national capital.

#12 caseyprich has been a member since 3/3/2010. Location: China. Posts: 1,281
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Posted by Rufus on 3/4/2012 at 21:35

"There isn't anything there specifically to draw me in"
Food, wine, colonial architecture, museums, shopping.
Not interested in any of those, Casey?

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

Posted by MADMAC on 3/4/2012 at 23:09

No Karakoe? What the hell is wrong with the place?

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

Posted by busylizzy on 3/4/2012 at 23:55

I really liked Vientiane - would have liked to explore a bit longer than the 2 days that I had. It was nice to walk along the river at sunrise, to enjoy dinners on the street in the evening, and just explore the outbacks of the city during the day.

No karaoke? Thank goodness!

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Posted by MADMAC on 4/4/2012 at 12:16

"It was nice to walk along the river at sunrise"

You mean sunset right? Sunrise is when we sleep.

"No karaoke? Thank goodness!"

I was only ragging on Rufus for ommitting it - and inside joke. I am sure Vientianne has Karaoke. It's a SEA staple.

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

Posted by busylizzy on 4/4/2012 at 14:49

Nah... sunrise, MM!! Maybe I was still suffering jetlag at that point, but I did happen to enjoy some nice sunrise walks in VTE. I really enjoyed the peacefulness of walking along the waterfront with the the locals who out getting their morning exercise while all the tourists were still tucked up in bed (possibly nursing hangovers from the karaoke the night before). Everyone seems so much friendlier at that time of morning. :-)

Yeah, I'm sure there is karaoke there somewhere. I enjoy watching the local community getting into it and having their fun - but geesh, it (generally) sounds awful!

#17 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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Posted by Rufus on 4/4/2012 at 20:19

Definitely Karaoke, though I wouldn't really know, Mac - nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

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


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