Hi, just wondering if anyone can give me some advice on where we should stay and what we can do. We're flying in and out of Vientiane in February. I'm planning on flying rather than catching the bus as I've heard the bus trips are long and dangerous.
#1 FionaMelbourne has been a member since 28/6/2009. Posts: 2
Don't despair. If you've got yourself booked onto a flight from hot hot Melbourne to hot hot Vientiane in February, either you're following his passion, or you have life in your palm.
If the former, ask him what HE is going to be doing to placate a toddler and a bub while YOU enjoy yourself on the journey.
If you have life in your palm, first go read:
It is true that the bus trips can be long and tedious. But, they are really no more dangerous than crossing a busy road in Melbourne. For many, as they are not in control of the bus, they have nightmares about such journeys. My personal experience has been that the bus trips are long and tedious because the bus driver goes slowly and the distance is long.
There are many short distance routes that you will have to take in some form of wheeled option even if you fly. ps. taxi's in rural Lao are not sedan cars.
Laos is a really family oriented society. If you are willing to allow your children to interact with locals, I doubt they'll be on your lap for too long (whether on a bus, or in a park, or etc).
Flying around Laos can be expensive - if you are thinking of at least three flights in Laos, go look at the Discovery pass (type in Discovery Pass in the 'search Travelfish' box above).
As I've indicated elsewhere on Travelfish, the accommodation descriptions of Lao GH here (and nearly everywhere) are targeted towards singles and doubles. But, I've stayed in rooms that are family rooms. So, start by mapping out a rough itinerary, and then email the accommodation providers listed here on Travelfish and ask them whether they have family rooms (ie, specify type & number of beds in the room).
In some respects, Laos is not a place that one has to go see certain 'must see' icons. Rather, while there is much to see and do, Laos is a place where just being is the greatest enjoyment: talking with locals, have a meal with or without locals at a market or other non-western venue, riding bikes along local streets. The list can go on forever.
When you have a rough itinerary, revisit and describe same for more comments.
Hope this helps
Thanks for the info to the previous link. I've already travelled through Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand a few times. Last December I travelled with my eldest, who was 11 months at the time, in Thailand. I totally agree that you need to slow things down and not move around as much (we learnt the hard way). However, I disagree with people not wanting to bring a pram. We found our travel pram really useful and I think we would have been more restricted if we had only bought our baby backpack, as it can get very sweaty in hot weather. This time though, we might bring both as I imagine we'd need carriers if we go on short treks and visit temples.
At this stage, I think we'll fly up to Luang Pruang and spend most of our time there. We are hoping to be able to sponsor a book party with Big Brother Mouse and perhaps help some of the locals practice their English skills. I'm hoping we might be able to find a clean guesthouse with a room for around 15-20US a night (we only need one bed, as we're bringing 2 lightweight travel cots). Is this price realistic in Laos? Any suggestions would be great. Also, do many of the guest houses/hotels have swimming pools?
Thanks for the info about the Discovery Pass. It's making me consider flying down to Southern Laos, then up to LP and back to Vientiane - looks like three flights are same price as two.
#3 FionaMelbourne has been a member since 28/6/2009. Posts: 2
"In some respects, Laos is not a place that one has to go see certain 'must see' icons. Rather, while there is much to see and do, Laos is a place where just being is the greatest enjoyment: talking with locals, have a meal with or without locals at a market or other non-western venue, riding bikes along local streets. The list can go on forever."
Bruce, I respect your judgement on the subject. You've travelled extensively, give good advice... but you and I really do lead VERY different lives and see things very differently. Sitting around, talking with some "locals" in Laos, eating at a market, riding bikes along local streets... I'd be bored to tears. But, as they say, different strokes for different folks. I'm sure your view is closer to most travelfishers than mine.
#4 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I can't speak from experience as I have no kids, but I met a Dutch couple in Laos last time I was there who were cycling around the country with their toddler in a riding chair on the handlbars of one of the bikes. When they got into a town the first thing they'd do is go to the market and find a place selling cheap kids toys, like little bikes and stuff like that. That way the little guy had stuff to entertain himself with while they looked for a place to stay, bickered of room prices, or whatever.
Then, either the night before they would leave, or the morning of, they would return the toys to the place where they bought them so they wouldn't have to carry anything with them. They said it worked perfectly and people were always happy to get the stuff back, and often returned their money.
Secondhand advice, but I have to say that they seemed to have things sorted out very well.
I don't know what star level you are seeking. But, I'm sure you'll have heaps of options.
For example, we stayed at Rattana GH during Pii Mai Laos (top of the top season) and paid US$20. For lower season take US$5 off. It was very central, and the two hosts were really warm, friendly and welcoming (was more flashpacker than backpacker). I'm not 'plugging' Rattana over others: rather providing info and feedback.
For more options, go to:
select some, email them and go from there.
Bruce has given some pretty good advice. Travelling in Laos with a bub is really no problem as the Lao love kids. I walk through thee market with my 7 month old and get assailed by females wanting to hold her. We use a pusher rather than a pram.
In LP very few places have swimming pools - certainly nothing in the price range you are looking at. I live Villa riverside on the Nam Khan. It is about $45.00 though.
In Vientiane i would saty at the Villa Manoly. This is a restored French mansion with a small pool and a lovely garden. It is about $30.00 pn.
Added two new words to my vocabulary here: Bub and Pram.
#10 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
bub = baby
pram = perambulator
pusher = stroller
dummy = pacifier
nappy = diapir
bunnyrug = small soft blanket or similar that becomes the toddler's attachment item
tyke = toddler
toddler = newly walking - about 3yo
Yes, we Australians live in a remote corner of the world, and our language must show it.
I am hopinh globalization destroys these linguistic differences - but it hasn't happened so far.
#15 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Well Bruce, I don't care which anglo culture dominates, I just want one to. English has now established itself as the global llingua franca, and having multiple, not always mutually comprehensible versions running around makes it difficult on people like Thais trying to learn it. Hell, I can't even understand half of the Scotts.
Beyond that, ethnic identifiers usually end up creating ethnic conflict, so I'm for a homogonized world! The sooner we all look the same, talk the same, eat the same and have the same religion, the better off we'll be!
#17 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957