Basically my friend and I are going to Laos for about 10 days. It would seem the places to see are Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang and Plain of Jars. Of course, if there are any other suggestions, that'd be great. Pakxe (sp)? I've heard of that.
I don't think my friend or I will do tubing as to put it simply, I'm not a fan of beer and I don't think my friend wants to anyway.
We arrive in Vientiane. I see it would be easy, kinda, to go up north via VV and finally LP..but what about PoJ?!
We would consider flying I think, but on the Lao Airlines site, I choose the destinations (domestic) but when I click: "Book Now", nothing happens, so I cannot look up prices, let alone book.
I think maybe in that case, it would be best to omit VV? Go straight up to LP, then somehow get to PoJ.
Hmm, okay basically, this is what I would like help with if possible:
How to travel/how long travelling is
Where to go
How long to spend in each place.
We have 10 days or so; we have 3 wks in Laos and Cambodia but we can be flexible by a day or two. Thanks a lot.
#1 franegt has been a member since 30/5/2009. Posts: 2
Okay can't see how to edit but I said about tubing as I was wondering if we weren't to do it, maybe we could miss out VV.
#2 franegt has been a member since 30/5/2009. Posts: 2
If you are arriving in Vientiane , I'd suggest spending a day or two there. Then I'd fly to Luang Prabang (the road trip is long and arduous).
You can pre-book the trip with a travel agent, or buy when in Vientiane.
Luang Prabang (LP) is easily worth 3 days. LP has an elephant trekking option that people find great. From LP, you could take a river boat to Nong Khiaw (or further) and do some trekking, or just marvel at the scenery etc.
From Nong Khiaw, you can take a bus to Phonsavan (actually its 2 buses, you change at Nam Noen) for the PoJ. From there, you'll have to return to Vientiane by bus.
An alternative is to travel from Nong Khiaw to Luang Nam Tha (via Oudomxai) by bus, explore the Luang Nam Tha area and return to Vientiane by air.
One important thing, though, in Laos don't try and rush your holiday. The Lao are laid back, and life just goes at a nice cruisy pace.
Hope this helps
Another possibility for first section of your trip:
fly VTE-Xieng Khouang (Phonsavan) to visit PoJ
bus Phonsavan-Phou Khoun-LPB (super windy but very scenic)
Lao Airlines site - think works best in IE (were you using Firefox?)
also possible to fit VV in between VTE & PoJ, have heard of minivans willing to do the VV-Phou Khoun-Phonsavan route (but depends on demand). will mean doing the Phou Khoun-Phonsavan road twice though, & also a lot more time spent on the bus rather than enjoying a place.
Nong Khiaw-Nam Noen-Phonsavan...buses/songthaews not that frequent for the NK-Nam Noen leg (one daily VTE-LPB-Sam Neua bus that can be quite full when it passes through NK at night, & maybe an Oudomxay-Sam Neua bus that doesn't run daily), so connections more tricky. & you have only 10 days...
can look here for bus info: http://laomeow.blogspot.com/2008/07/bussongthaew-schedulesdetails.html
Gday, i went to Laos last year, was a really awesome experience. Personally i would give Vientiane a miss, it was not too interesting for me. however if you arrive there it might be worth a night. I enjoyed Vang Vieng, there are a heap of backpackers that are there to party it up and go tubing (which is well worth it even if you dont want to stop for a beer or rope swing, the scenery is spectacular), which gives it a bit of a weird, surreal vibe. The surrounding countryside is amazing also if you go for a walk/cycle/scooter around. and it is a good break for the trip between Vientiane and LP if your going by Bus. At the very least it will make you appreciate the laidback, peacefulness of the rest of Laos a bit more
Luang Prabang would be a definite highlight and i would recommend getting a bus here as again the scenery is really amazing (even when hung over from tubing in VV) and if you are deciding between a local bus and the VIP bus, go for the local. they are generally less packed and a lot more fun, in my experience.
Nong Khiaw was great for a night or two, much better than Muang Sing. if you have the time get up to Luang Nam Tha (this was my favourite experience in Laos), its a days bus ride to/from Luang Prabang.
For me, the best parts of Laos was when i got out of the urban areas and into the country side either through hiring a scooter, walking, organised trek, floating in a boat or looking out of the window of one of the really slow moving buses (expect breakdowns). It was absolutely spectacular, and the people were really friendly and interesting.
Im thinking ten days is probably enough time to squeeze in all of that (maybe have to give Luang Nam Tha a miss, its really only worth it to you if you wanna do a trek in the national park there), i cant comment on Phonsavan or pakse as i didnt go there.
#5 shunter has been a member since 12/1/2008. Posts: 7
You'll also pick up some information (if you haven't already) to help you at:
Not sure what you want to do - just kick around and see what there is to see? I've never been to Northern Laos, so the guys who have commented here seem to have a lot of good suggestions.
#7 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Well contrary to shunter, I would suggest you spend at least 2 days in Vientiane . I am alsways amused, (bemused), when posters say give it a miss. I wonder what they actually saw or perhaps didn't see.
From Vientaine i agree that I would fly to the Plain of Jars. I would give Vang Vieng a miss. Yes the scenery is spectacular, but the backpacker crowd is gross. I was there two weeks ago and thought the behaviour of the drunken backpackers was disrespectful to Laos culture. You do not have to return to Vientiane by bus from Phonsavan as Laos Airlines flies this route. As you have only a short time, I would suggest flying. Phonsavan, (POJ), can easily be done in 2 days. This itinerary is doable with your time frame.
"Yes the scenery is spectacular, but the backpacker crowd is gross. I was there two weeks ago and thought the behaviour of the drunken backpackers was disrespectful to Laos culture."
What does this mean? Laos get drunk and act obnoxious too. VV is appealing to a certain segment of the market. If the people there didn't want this type of toursist, they wouldn't do the things they do to draw it.
You have to remember that for a lot of people coming here, they are on vacation and want to cut lose from the pressures back home. Yes, some are drunk and vulgar, just they the kids get at Daytona beach. But the locals have created an evnironment for that to be contained. If they didn't like it, they would put the hammer down. VV is like a low key version of Pattaya. It's just servicing a market need.
I do agree if people don't like that environment, they should, as you say, give it a miss. But it doesn't mean we have to be judgemental about it. It suffices to recommend to others if you're not into drunken rowdiness, it might not be your place.
#9 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
"Most Laos I know, (including my rellies), don't get obnoxious when they are drunk."
Funny, right across the border here they do. I'm not a big drinker, but if I go to a club, all the drunk Thais and Laotians are hanging on me, singing with the bang (when they can't sing)... they're having fun and that's all well and good - but they're plenty obnoxious. And if something by chance gets them mad, then someone gets shot - Thailand has one of the highest per capita homicide rates in the world (firearm violence was rated third per capita last year). Savankhet was the same for me... maybe I just hang out with different Laotians.
"Sorry Madmac. to say that they wouldn't draw the crowd there is naive. The average laos wage is about $600.00 pa"
The place has worked (like Pattaya has) to develop the reputation as Maos party town. There's no getting around that. The hard partiers tend to be bigger spenders. Obviously the incentive is monetary, but if the town and it's authorities wanted to crack down that would be EASY. And you know this. The place is still a police state remember. They don't, because they want the drunk kids coming, getting drunk and blowing their money.
#11 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957