flying in to vientiane on the evening of the 22nd-- after a LONG day (ny, TOkyo, hong kong, bangkok... ugh) thoughts thus far are to spend the 23rd in Vientiane transit to VV on the 24th ( i wanted to avoid traveling on christmas which is also my daughter, lucy's birthday..) stay there for two days and go to LP on the 27th-- i am wondering if we should just book a place in LP for the duration and do day trips from there (or an overnight or two further north?) we have to be back in BKK for a morning flight on the 5th--was wondering if we should fly back from LP or do the slow boat on the 2nd and go to chiang rai and fly (or train /bus) back from there?
was thinking of trip /overnight a fe nights to nong Kiaow (sp?--sorry my notes are not with me right now) -- wanted to do some trekking?--
should we add more time in Vientiane, should we just stay put in Laos and fly back to maximize our time(my thinking is yes, but so many say the slow boat is a really good trip) --
further advice REALLY appreciated!!!! tried to get thru to exoticissmo (again, sp?) to see if htey booked treking tours-- but never heard back.... does anyone know of other places to look?
thanks thanks THANKS!
#1 lucysmom has been a member since 10/10/2013. Posts: 8
Usually Luang Prabang has so many hotels at every price range that advance booking isn't needed, it's great to wander the leafy lanes looking for a place that fits your needs. But, at the xmas time, it would probably be good to have at least the first night booked before you arrive, especially since that's a weekend when you arrive.
There are lots of day trips to do within a few hours' radius of L.P. - some village trekking, elephant tours, waterfalls. Aside from the elephants, the choices are pretty much what can be found around SEAsia. At that time of year it'll be pretty busy, so it's easy to join-in on an existing day tour date with other customers to bring everyone's price down, but you have to look at the boards outside the tour companies' offices or contact them a few days early.
For the big picture, like all of us, it depends on what you want your trip to be. The 2day boat from L.P. (upstream) to Huay Xai / Chiang Rai is very pretty and peaceful, but it's 2 days of just sitting. It's ideal if you want to contemplative downtime to relax with a book and lots of talking to your companions. Timing will likely mean you'll need to overnight in Huay Xai and get to Chiang Rai the next day. Definitely need to book Thai train tickets a bit in advance at holiday times.
Nong Khiaw's setting is more dramatic and gorgeous than Luang Prabang, but there is lot fewer activities to do. Great for cocktail sipping and some trekking, but the town has less to offer falang compared to L.P. (gorgeous no matter who you are) or V.V. (better for younger travelers).
Your time might be tight, but if you want to see some wildlife (not easy in Laos) and get some contact with locals beyond the quick village visits that come with most trekking tours, there's something very cool called the Nam Nern Night Safari a few hours east of Nong Khiaw, it was one of the favorite memories of our trip. It's more isolated, but worth getting to. On the way is the small town of Viengthong (Muang Hiam) which had a few nice things to do. The Nam Nern tour is in Nam Et Phou Louey national park and you get to see wildlife from river boats and spend the night in a little lodge in the forest. We saw some animals going up the river in the afternoon, but after a campfire dinner the boats go back downriver without the motors running, and it was a lot of fun seeing animals in our spotlights. http://www.namet.org/namnern.html Their website says they work with the Wildlife Conservation Society, so it seems like a really good project, and we really enjoyed it.
Just one opinion, but overall, try not to rush or pack too much into your itinerary. Laos is great for going slow, and for savoring the moments you find yourself in, and many visitors often try to pack too much in. I've heard Exo is a pretty good company, you can also try Green Discovery. They can put together a quote for a custom itinerary if you want to make your own trip.
Have a great trip, and looking forward to seeing others' advice [img]smileys/smile.gif[/img]
#2 LaoLover has been a member since 7/10/2013. Posts: 5
You have probably firmed up on your itinerary by now but my thought is you mention your daughter - how old is she? I would not consider Laos to be particularly child friendly (long bus journeys, basic accommodation, little child oriented entertainment etc)
thanks for your reply and your concern-- i am actually traveling with two kids-- but both are teens-- my daughter will turn 17 on the trip and my son is 14-- They are pretty decent travelers (and have been carted about a fair bit) so i consider myself lucky-- one thing i did decide to do is to avoid a bus from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang-- both kids get a bit greenish on long bumpy bus/car rides-- so we will hire a car so we can stop if we need to!
#4 lucysmom has been a member since 10/10/2013. Posts: 8