I am getting a twenty day break from work (Toronto) and I am looking to backpack through Laos. Thing is I have never visited the region before and I am doing this on my own. Iâ€™d love to do some trekking and jungle trails but they donâ€™t have to be multi-day affairs; I have done a number of those in India. I would like to be part of the backpacking scene too.
From the research I have done so far, I would like to spend about two weeks in Laos and a week in Thailand before heading back home. Laos would be the focal point of the trip. From what I have read so far here and on other forums, I find Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, Vientiane and Lunag Nam Tha to be interesting; although Luang Nam Tha seems to be a bit out of the way.
Ideally I would like to get to Laos from BKK ASAP
#1 loststranger has been a member since 7/9/2012. Posts: 2
You speak some sense and seem aware of the hazards of trying to cram in too much.
20 days => I would say 5 places max.
If you want to split it 1 week Thai and 2 weeks Laos, then a logical route could be to fly up to Chiang Mai, spend a few days in the city and then work your way up towards the Laos border, and eventually over to Luang Nam Tha. Then down to LP, and finally Vientiane. From there you could fly back to BKK and if you have time then spend a night or two there (I assume that is where you are flying out of).
Chiang Mai - 3 nights;
Working your way up and over Laos border - 4 nights (PS Captain Bob is your man for info here);
Luang Nam Tha - 3 nights;
Luang Prabang - 5 nights;
Vientiane - 3 nights;
And then a couple of days for travel (which is painfully slow here), staying somewhere longer and/or maybe a quick detour to Vang Vieng if you must.
#2 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740
Thank you Chinarocks! I think I will work around the itinerary you suggested although I am thinking of cutting down the days in Chiang Mai so that I could explore up north from Luang Prabang to Muang Ngoi and other places. Also I am rethinking Luang Nam Tha...
Any other 'must see/explore' places around there?
#3 loststranger has been a member since 7/9/2012. Posts: 2
If you want to spend time on a beach, you may want to consider skipping Chiangmai entirely and fly straight to LP. Give yourself a few days in Bangkok (one or two when you arrive and then get back there the day before you are supposed to leave) and 3 or 4 on a beach in Trat Province. These islands are much closer to Bangkok than any of the islands in the south, so you can probably maximize your time on Koh Mak, Koh Wai, Koh Chang, Koh Rang, or Koh Kut.
Coming from Toronto? Is your travel time included in your 20 days?
Don't spend three days in Vientiane, there's not much to do after day one. Maybe stay the night then get the overnight train to BK, that would be plenty of time to see the contemporary Laos. You mentioned trekking so I suspect you would enjoy Muang Ngoi and Nong Khiaw as interesting places to spend a few days. If you go to Muang Ngoi try getting a few people together for a boat trip up to the fresh water stream running down into the Nam Ou, swimming there was my highlight! The butterflies in Muang Ngoi were amazing also.
#5 enday has been a member since 12/9/2012. Posts: 30