My friends and I are travelling to Laos middle of November time from Thailand. I am wondering what the highlights are to do, taking into consideration travel time?? And not sure whether to enter through thailand from west or east side?
#1 danni87 has been a member since 7/11/2010. Posts: 7
Laos is east of Thailand. Are you planning to go back to Thailand? If so, your best option would probably be to fly into Luang Prabang , spend a few nights there and then head down to Vientiane for a couple nights before crossing the border and catching a plane or flight back to BKK. If you want to break up the journey from Luang Prabang then stop for a night in the scenery of Vang Vieng.
5 days in Laos is not long at all, given the long travel time between destinations. Casey gives the best advice possible given that timeframe. Just realise that you will be spending one of those 5 days sitting on a bus all day as you travel from LP to VTE. Splitting the trip up in VV is a good idea (and allows you to squeeze in another stop) - but you're still going to be on the move quite a bit. I'd suggest allowing an extra day or two if at all possible. Otherwise, stick to Casey's plan.
Check this out for a map and overview: http://www.travelfish.org/trip_planner/laos-one-week-holiday. Nong Khai, just across the border from Vientiane is in Thailand. This is where you will cross over. Follow the links on that page to see what there is to do in LP and VTE.
An alternative to the good suggestion above might be to visit southern Laos instead. Pakse, Champasak, and the Bolevans Plateau are relatively close together compared to destinations in the north. You could visit one or two or maybe even all three of those destinations in the five days you have to spend.
To get to Pakse, travel to Ubon, Thailand via bus or train or plane and then take the international bus from the Ubon bus station to Pakse. Laos. Check current departure times for that bus, because it may go only once or twice a day, and you don't want to burn one of your five days in Laos waiting for a bus in Ubon.
With five days to spend, you might also consider visiting just Luang Prabang or just Vientiane too. Luang Prabang is probably the more interesting or romantic of the two options, but it is difficult to reach quickly and easily unless you fly. Vientiane is an often overlooked and remarkably charming city with plenty of shopping, culture, and history to keep you busy. That Luang is magic and Patuxai is a great place to mingle with nice Lao folks. Vientiane is easy to reach from Nong Khai , Thailand, which is a charming place itself. You can get to Nong Khai by overnight sleeper train from BKK.
Wherever you go in Laos, there will be Beer Lao, so you are covered there. Let us know what you decide and tell us how it went. Cheers.