Photo: Classic scenery surrounds Vang Vieng.

Laos forum

Walking from Vientiane to Luang Prabang

Posted by rossville69 on 29/10/2008 at 14:39

Hi, I'd just like a little feedback on a plan I have: I really like to walk, and I was thinking p erhaps of walking from Vientiane to Luang Prabang or, as that may take too long, at least from Vientiane to Vang Vieng (I'll only be in Laos for 11 days).

However, I really don't know if it's a good idea.

As far as I can imagine, the problems with this idea can be:
* Security: walking alone may expose me to theft/being waylaid, harassment from bribe-seeking police, or just common-place violence/harassment from whatever local version of yobs there are in Laos (assuming there are).
* Practicality: from what I see, there is a main road from Vientiane to Vang Vieng, but it may not be suitable to walk on - or just annoying to walk all day watching out for dangerous traffic, etc. Ideally, there would be some smaller roads I could walk on. For this, I would need a good detailed map (i.e. this type of quality: http://www.mekongexpress.com/laos/general/maps/map_vangviang.htm)
* Accommodation: would I be able to find accommodation along the way?

What I have in my favour is:
* I have been living in Malaysia for 6 years, so I am pretty much acclimatised to the weather, food, etc. Though of course I don't usually walk outside all day long. The way I would plan on doing it is to walk from 7-11am, then from 2-7pm. I would hope to do 40-50km a day like that.
* I've also travelled a fair bit, so am not too bothered by unfamiliar situations.
* I have done something like this before, walking five days across Bali, but that was ten years ago and I was younger, etc. :)

I would be really grateful for any opinions out there.

Thanks,

Julian

#1 rossville69 has been a member since 8/11/2007. Posts: 15

Posted by Tilapia on 30/10/2008 at 00:05

Doubt you'll have any more trouble than anyone on a bicycle, and I haven't heard of any cyclists having problems.

I would definitely stick to the main road, which would be fine to walk along. There's traffic, but not THAT much traffic.

Vientiane to VV sounds great. I'd be surprised if you made it to LP, though. It's quite a trip, and not exactly flat all the way, either. Some cool markets along the road, though. You'll get some fantastic photo opportunities.

#2 Tilapia has been a member since 21/4/2006. Location: Canada. Posts: 1,490
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Posted by exacto on 30/10/2008 at 06:31

Hi Julian,

If you are keen to do this, I might suggest just doing the shorter Vientiane to Vang Vieng leg of the journey. I think it is really a matter of logistics, as I don't recall too many places for you to stay or find food or water on the VV to LP section of the trip, even walking 40 to 50 km per day. Plus, as Tilapia says, it isn't exactly flat all the way either.

This sounds really interesting, and I'd love to hear how it turns out for you afterwards. But keeping in mind that you'll only have 11 days in Laos, I'd think you'd want to have at least a day or two in Vientiane at the start and several more in Luang Prabang at the end. Why work so hard to get to LP just to have no time left to enjoy it. Regards.

#3 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,626
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Posted by rossville69 on 30/10/2008 at 09:13

Tilapia and exacto - thanks for the feedback. I agree that I don't want to be doing nothing but walking, and I'm definitely wanting to spend some time taking it easy and relaxing.

I guess I'll see how it goes to VV, and then probably bus most or all the way to LP. Maybe do a hill trek up in the north for 3 days or something.

I'll be posting stuff on my blog if you're interested: www.julianhopkins.net

#4 rossville69 has been a member since 8/11/2007. Posts: 15

Posted by wanderingcat on 30/10/2008 at 11:16

another option is to bus VTE-LPB, but stop over in Kasi, Phou Khoun, etc (e.g. Vang Vieng, Bor Nam Oon, Kiukacham) & spend a day walking in & around each stop. all abovementioned stops have accommodation. walking along the highway ~5++KM southwards from Phou Khoun leads to great views on a clear day (did that recently but on a not-so-clear day :|). personally prefer the scenery of the Kasi-LPB section, has far less traffic too, but is harder to walk than the much flatter VTE-VV section.

#5 wanderingcat has been a member since 21/10/2006. Posts: 730
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Posted by rossville69 on 30/10/2008 at 22:22

Hi wandering cat, I actually prefer walking from one place to the next, but for the VV-LPB route I'll definitely consider a stop off.

Thanks!

#6 rossville69 has been a member since 8/11/2007. Posts: 15

Posted by Rufus on 31/10/2008 at 20:25

It can be done. Some friends recently walked from Vang Vieng to Vientiane as a money raising venture for charity. They did have a back up vehicle though.

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

Posted by rossville69 on 31/10/2008 at 21:32

Thanks Rufus, it's good to know. I guess that if I get sick of it, my back up vehicle would be any random vehicle that goes by and can be convinced to give me a lift :)

Do you know how long they took? Any website or blog or something where they wrote about it?

#8 rossville69 has been a member since 8/11/2007. Posts: 15

Posted by Rufus on 1/11/2008 at 07:56

They took 2 days and they were pretty knackered when they finished. No blog of course, this was for charity not self promotion. It was to raise money for a burn victim to go to the US for treatment.

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

Posted by rossville69 on 1/11/2008 at 13:50

Two days! Were they walking non-stop or something?

#10 rossville69 has been a member since 8/11/2007. Posts: 15

Posted by Rufus on 1/11/2008 at 18:07

They are pretty fit and they trained for it.

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

Posted by rossville69 on 3/11/2008 at 17:17

I bet they were! Thanks for the info :)

#12 rossville69 has been a member since 8/11/2007. Posts: 15

Posted by MADMAC on 11/6/2009 at 18:42

Probably get there walking almost as fast as the lousy bus service!!!

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


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