I wanted to get some feedback on this possible itinerary for Laos North to South. Time is looking quite tight so if you could comment then that would be great.
Day 1: fly into Chiang Mai from KL and spend 2 nights there
Day 3: Cross into Laos
Days 4-5: Do the Gibbons experience in Huai Xai
Days 6-7: Take the slowboat or bus to Luang Prabang
Days 8-10: 3 nights in Luang Prabang
Days 11-12: Vang Vieng
Day 13: leave Vang Vieng
From there we want to go to Southern laos and 4000 islands as well as see the ruins in Champasak
2 nights in Vang Vieng
#1 amarradia has been a member since 1/7/2009. Posts: 5
Day 13: leave Vang Vieng
From there we want to go to Southern laos and 4000 islands as well as see the ruins in Champasak and spend some time in 4000 islands doing some trekking.
How long is it likely to take to get to 4000 islands from Vang Vieng? From what we can see it looks like we would have to take a bus to Vietane, then another bus to Pakse , then another bus to 4000 islands via Champasak. As most of these buses don't run very often it would take a couple of nights at least. Another option would be to fly from Vietane to Pakse but it doesn't seem good value as its only 8-10 hours in VIP bus.
From there we want to cross the border into Cambodia. How long will this take - to get to either Siam Rep or Phnomh Penh?
If its looking like it will be too much travelling to go to Cambodia via southern Laos we might have to skip out 4000 islands etc and either fly from Vietane into Cambodia or go overland via Thailand. What would be the quickest way if we didn't want to fly?
#2 amarradia has been a member since 1/7/2009. Posts: 5
It's possible to get an overnight bus from Vientiane to Pakse , so you could leave Vang Vieng in the morning and be in Paks ethe following morning I believe.
From Pakse down to the islands it's a half day.
From the islands to Cambodia, see this story which covers it: http://www.travelfish.org/feature/84
I'm concerned at your proposed itinerary.
You'll note I'm for doing the slow trip. I find the time spent inside transport vehicles or waiting stations to be expensive, tedious, boring, and most of all mentally & physically taxing.
I am 'concerned' because you appear to be doing too much travelling, and not enough enjoying.
Unlike Europe or elsewhere, where there are a host of must sees, Laos is one of those countries where the appeal lies in just being there and having fun in a relaxed way.
So, I suggest you give yourselves 2 itineraries.
One, as above, where you rush everywhere to see ???, and
Two, an itinerary where you say to yourself OK, let's get ourselves to the Gibbon Experience, then either travel by bus or boat to Luang Prabang . If by boat, that's sort of fixed, but if by bus, we might like to stay more than a night at Luang Nam Tha, we might like to also go to Muang Sing. If we go by bus, when we get to Luang Prabang we might like to take the boat up the mekong River to the Nam River and up to Nong Khai and fossick around there. Then, when we've had enough, we'll go to Vang Vieng. Let's just sort of leave things open, and when we get to a certain day - wherever we are - we'll head for ***** and go to **** (which might be Vientiane to PP by air, or something else).
The reason I suggest the latter is that Laos is so laid back and enjoyable, after a couple of days, you'll also be wanting to be laid back. And, I venture that any 'fixed' plan will probably get ditched, or you'd like to ditch it if you could.
Hope this helps.
"Do the Gibbons..."
You're going to do the Gibbons? That doesn't sound good.
Sorry, I couldn't resist.
#5 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I have my moments.
You have to admit "Do the Gibbons Experience" has a certain ring to it. Most men come to SE Asia to do the women, not the Gibbons!!!
#7 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Hi and thanks for the replies.
I agree I feel we are going to be rushing around too much. The issue is we have around 3 weeks to see Laos and Cambodia. What would you advise as alternatives? Perhaps fly from vietane into Siam Rep or PP and only do northern Laos? Or cross into Thailand from Vietane and go down to Cambodia from there? The 4000 islands seem pretty appealing but it seems like perhaps too much travelling for too little time there.
#8 amarradia has been a member since 1/7/2009. Posts: 5
I think the issue relates to your focus.
Do you want to see... heaps, but not experience much?
Do you want to do (as in experience)... lots of enjoyable things, but see fewer places?
If you want to see, then it doesn't matter how you go, etc. All you are doing is travelling to see as much as possible. This focus means your journey is travelling.
However, if you want to experience what you do, then it really doesn't matter where you go as long as you go to places that will allow you to do (as in experience).
My view is that if you go to less places, and spend a bit more time in each of the places you go to, then you are going to do more (as in experience) and enjoy yourselves more.
- - - -
Day 1: fly into Chiang Mai from KL - 4 nights (ie. 3 full days)
Day 5: from Chiang Mai to Chiang Khong & Cross into Laos
Days 6-7: Do the Gibbons experience to/from Huai Xai
Days 8-9: Take the slowboat or bus to Luang Prabang
If bus, see note #1 below
Days 10-10: 5 nights in Luang Prabang (ie = 3 full days)
Day 15: Bus to Vang Vieng
Days 16 - 17: Vang Vieng (1 full day)
Day 18: leave Vang Vieng by bus to Vientiane
day 19-21: Vientiane (2 full days)
day: fly home
+ + +
If you want to take the bus from Huay Xai to LP (actually, from the Gibbon Experience, they drop you off at Nam Ta fa, and you get a bus that day to Luang Nam Tha . I suggest you spend a full day (at least) in Luang Nam Tha (ie 2 nights there).
Also, instead of bus from Luang Nam Tha to Luang Prabang via OudomXai, go to OudomXia and take another bus to Nong Khiaw, (you could take a 1 hour up river journey to Ngoi Neua spend 2 nights at Nong Khiaw/Ngoi Neua (do a one day trek), then take the boat from Nong Khiaw to Luang Prabang.
This way, you do and 'experience' more of Laos (and less of the inside of transport), but you see less.