I don't personally have any experience of Laos, but following research from the Rough Guide and Lonely Planet I have come up with the following itinerary, for end of January time:
Day 1: Enter Laos at Houayxai
Day 2-3: Slow-boat to Louang Prabang
Day 3-5: Louang Prabang, incl. day trips to Wat Chom Phet/Kouang Si
Day 6-8: Vang Viang: tubing/caves
Day 8-9: Vientianne
Night of 9th travel to Paxke via VIP bus)
Day 10: Paxke to Champasak by boat along Mekong, and see Wat Phou ruins
Day 11-14: Si Phan Don
Day 15: Minibus on to Stung Treng, Cambodia
Hopefully some of you can offer me your valuable experience to tweak this itinerary if it needs it...
#1 gandhiji has been a member since 25/8/2009. Posts: 3
Personally I think you are trying to do too much things in just 2 weeks. A few years ago we did more or less the same trip as you but we had 4 weeks. Depends of what kind of person you are and if you really like to travel all the time, the buses between those places are quite time consuming. I think it's better to se fewer places and have time to do it properly and even have some time to relax.
#2 krisim has been a member since 20/7/2006. Posts: 36
Easy enough to cross to Huay Xai and leave on the slow boat the same morning. Not much to see there anyway. Mornings can be busy at the border though, especially with people lined up for Laos visas. Slow boats usually depart about 11am so you still have plenty of time.
You have day-3 as both a slowboat and a Luang Prabang day. You won't get into LP until about 5pm so you really have just 2 full days there. Too rushed IMO. From LP to Vang Vieng can take up to 6 hours so maybe count that as most of a day. Vang Vieng to Vientiane can take a few hours plus the usual tuk tuk into town and looking for guesthouse etc, and you're planning on a nite bus the end of day-2. You won't see much of Vientiane this way but maybe it's just a transit point for you.
Might miss a morning boat from Pakse to Champasak if you're arriving same morning with that overnight bus. Connection too rushed. Take a feeler day in Pakse if possible.
The rest looks fine. You just need a few more days overall to make it a comfortable fit. Laos transport can be slow and prone to delays. A single broken down bus could really mess up your schedule.
Definitely take an extra day in Paxse. Good grief, that's a long bus ride overnight, VIP or no. Cut a day of Si Phan Don.
#4 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957