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Beginning itinerary for Laos

  • Nywoman

    Joined Travelfish
    28th July, 2008
    Posts: 39

    October 12 night train from BKK to Luang Namtha
    Oct 13 Luang Namtha
    Oct 14 Luang Namtha
    Oct 15 Luang Namtha
    Oct 16 fly to Vientiane 16.00
    Oct 17 Vientiane
    Oct 18 fly to Xine Khouang Plain of Jars 12.40
    Oct 21 Return to Vientiane 13.50

    My question there are only 3 weekly flights, Sun, Wed, Fri in and out of Xine Khouang. I have heard and read that you only need 1 night and 2 days for the Plain of Jars. I am probably fine with 1 day, but am not sure how to get out of there and is 1 1/2 day enough for Vientiane?

    Then I want to work my way up to Luang Prabang, and possibly further. I have to be back in Bangkok Oct 28.

    How should I plan the rest of the trip?

    I am what is known in the vernacular as a woman of a certain age, traveling solo. Am not a trekker, broke my kneecap a few years ago, and strenuous stairs and uphill climbing is difficult. I like food, people, nature and am happy traveling by public transport, flying is usually to save travel time.

    The advice on this board is amazing even if I don't quite get some of it, at times.

    #1 Posted: 14/7/2009 - 04:51

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  • somtam2000

    admin
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    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Indonesia
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    At least 113

    Hi Nywoman,
    Couple of pointers:
    Bangkok to Luang Nam Tha will take longer than one day. Assuming you're not flying, the quickest route would be:
    Overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
    Morning bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Khong
    Boat across the rover from Chiang Khong to Huay Xai in Laos
    Overnight in Huay Xai
    Land transport (bus/truck/songtheaw) from Huay Xai to Luang Nam Tha, arriving mid afternoon.

    Also, I'd look at travelling overland from Phonsavan (Plain of Jars) to Luang Prabang and then when you're done there, flying back to Vientiane.

    Hope that helps!

    #2 Posted: 14/7/2009 - 06:08

  • BruceMoon

    Click here to learn more about BruceMoon
    Joined Travelfish
    27th December, 2008
    Location Australia
    Posts: 1941
    Total reviews: 6

    Nywoman

    I did the route Somtam indicates a few months ago: definitely not a day trip.

    If you seek to save time, you can fly BKK - Vientiane , then Loas Air from Vientiane to Luang Nam Tha (to LNM - not every day).

    Alternately, you can fly BKK - Luang Prabang (Bangkok Air) and take the bus next am to LNM.

    Note that buses & planes terminate at old Nam Tha, and its a tuk-tuk to Luang Nam Tha.

    A note on where you are staying in LNM. If you have the Boat Landing GH in mind, the bright light running the place is no longer and (very sadly) it isn't a patch on what it was.

    Zuela GH is really good, right in front of the night market where good Lao food + conviviality abound.

    Cheers

    #3 Posted: 14/7/2009 - 06:32

  • Nywoman

    Joined Travelfish
    28th July, 2008
    Posts: 39

    At least I should get the names and facts straight........duh


    This is from Seat 61
    It's easy to travel from Bangkok to Vientiane (or vice versa) by train, using the daily overnight sleeper train direct from Bangkok to the new international rail terminal at Thanaleng in Laos, some 13km outside Vientiane. This train uses the new rail link over the Friendship Bridge across the Mekong river into Laos, opened on 5 March 2009

    #4 Posted: 14/7/2009 - 06:37

  • BruceMoon

    Click here to learn more about BruceMoon
    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Australia
    Posts: 1941
    Total reviews: 6

    Nywoman

    Seat 61 is good, but it is not always accurate.

    There was a bit of a discussion here on Travelfish some weeks ago on the subject of whether the BKK > train terminates at Nong Khia (still) or proceeds all the way to (near) Vientiane . No-one was actually sure. So, you may have to factor in that the arrival at Vientiane might be a bit later than you'd planned.

    So, do we assume you are flying Vientiane - LNM? If not, the bus takes a long long long time (2 at a huge push but with stopovers up to 3 days).

    Cheers

    #5 Posted: 14/7/2009 - 06:54

  • Nywoman

    Joined Travelfish
    28th July, 2008
    Posts: 39

    Thanks for the advice.

    Back to the drawing board. Yes I am flying if I go. The Boat Landing was very much a determining factor. Am really frustrated at this point, am having a really hard time doing the itinerary.

    #6 Posted: 14/7/2009 - 07:13

  • BruceMoon

    Click here to learn more about BruceMoon
    Joined Travelfish
    27th December, 2008
    Location Australia
    Posts: 1941
    Total reviews: 6

    Nywoman

    Yes, sadly, while the Boat landing still exists, it is very very run down now.

    However, i found Luang Nam Tha to be a great place.

    I hired a small motorbike and really explored the region (only started riding these a year before). I've got silver hair, so as a "woman of a certain age" if you're up for a bit of fun, you could start a new beginning in your 'autumn years'.

    Cheers

    #7 Posted: 14/7/2009 - 07:40

  • BruceMoon

    Click here to learn more about BruceMoon
    Joined Travelfish
    27th December, 2008
    Location Australia
    Posts: 1941
    Total reviews: 6

    Nywoman

    I can understand the impact when a key element 'comes unstuck'.

    An alternative option for you might be at:

    http://www.muangla.com/uk/discovery.html

    I've heard good reports about the place, but haven't been there (myself). You'd fly into OudomXay instead of L Nam Tha.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers

    #8 Posted: 14/7/2009 - 07:55

  • Nywoman

    Joined Travelfish
    28th July, 2008
    Posts: 39

    It looks lovely but a bit too rich for my tastes. I am not much of a resort person.

    Bruce you are probably prematurely gray. I am a non-natural blonde.
    Don't know if I would trust myself on a bike of any kind, after my fractured knee my whole perception of myself changed.

    I will revisit the trip later, when my mind is a bit clearer. Right now I am on overload.

    #9 Posted: 14/7/2009 - 08:29

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 950

    Didn't see that discussion. The train definitely does NOT go to Vientiane. It stops at the border where you do your formalities and then proceeds to Thanaleng about 10 km from Vte.

    #10 Posted: 14/7/2009 - 08:33

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