I am planning a one month travel in Laos in February and I'm hesitating between two itineraries from Nong Kiaow to Tha Khaek: one stopping by Vang Vieng and the other going to Vieng Xai and Phonsavan.
So I am wondering if someone could help me make a choice.
What are the differences between Vieng Xai and Vang Vieng? I feel that Vieng Xai is less touristic but also smaller and less beautiful. Am I right? Has anyone been to Vieng Xai and Vang Vieng and could help me make a choice?
#1 coralidiote has been a member since 6/12/2013. Posts: 3
It depends what you are looking for but if you want to see somewhere more 'off the beaten-track' then go for Vieng Xai. There is similar scenery there apparently (I haven't been there), and you are also going to Tha Khek (and Kong Lor Cave I presume?) so you will be seeing lots of beautiful karst formations, caves etc. down there as well.
Also, Phonsavan and Vieng Xai are very interesting due to the history - I'm talking not only about the Plain of Jars but the 'Secret War', and bombing campaign conducted by the US. Check out these links for more info on CIA activities, the opium trade, bombing etc., very shocking and little known history:
Vang Vieng has calmed down a lot compared to what it used to be like, but personally I prefer to visit places that aren't filled with restaurants/bars serving hungover teenagers sandwiches while they watch Friends and Family Guy all day long. If that floats your boat then by all means join in, or if you do decide to go there but want to avoid the 'scene', you can easily minimise your exposure to it by getting out of town and exploring the surrounding area where there is plenty to see and do!
#2 JaiYen88 has been a member since 25/4/2012. Posts: 110
Thank you very much for your answer! I think I'll take the 'off- the beaten-track'. I will have a look at your links, it seems interesting.
#3 coralidiote has been a member since 6/12/2013. Posts: 3