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Last week or so in Laos

  • emma066

    Joined Travelfish
    21st October, 2009
    Posts: 60

    Can anyone comment on the following?

    Advice on length of stay in places etc would be much appreciated..

    Vang Vien - 2 nights
    Vientianne - 1 night
    Travel from Vientianne > Pakse
    Pakse > 2 nights
    Champasak - 2 nights

    Then onto Cambodia, probably Kratie first.


    Does this seem like too much travelling to anyone? we are on a bit of time constraint so just trying to make it all work..

    thanks!

    #1 Posted: 11/1/2010 - 23:20

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  • Seba

    Joined Travelfish
    28th April, 2009
    Posts: 54

    I'd stay 4 nights in Pakse and skip a stayover in Champasak , but le me elaborate: during my recent 2-month trip to SE-Asia, one of the absolute highlights was a 3-day motorbike trip on the Bolaven plateau... we were coming with the night bus from Vientiane to Pakse, stayed there 1 night, and then went for a 3-day/2-night trip to the Bolaven plateau, very much recommended...and it still gives you a chance to go to Champasak by motorbike the last day and come back to Pakse, and the cath a minivan the next day to Kratie...

    #2 Posted: 12/1/2010 - 00:47

  • emma066

    Joined Travelfish
    21st October, 2009
    Posts: 60

    Thanks very much, will certainly look into... never been on a motorbike before though, thoughts on this?!

    #3 Posted: 12/1/2010 - 18:16

  • Seba

    Joined Travelfish
    28th April, 2009
    Posts: 54

    hey Emma,

    me and my gf had never driven a motorbike before either...but it's no problem, I highly recommend you get one in Pakse from the Lankham hotel, that one is really reliable (really friendly guy, lots of other tourists renting there,...)... he just took 5 minutes to watch us ride in a little alley behind the hotel to "check" whether we were able to dive a motorbike (since we didn't have any license nor had driven one before)... it is really easy though (even with a manual gear), so no need to be worried about any skils required

    #4 Posted: 12/1/2010 - 20:28

  • damo

    Joined Travelfish
    9th November, 2009
    Posts: 14

    sorry to hijack, but i also plan to do this (motorbike tour of the plateau) in a couple of weeks. got any tips on a route, stuff not to miss, places to stay, etc?

    #5 Posted: 13/1/2010 - 15:04

  • Seba

    Joined Travelfish
    28th April, 2009
    Posts: 54

    hey,

    if you rent a bike at the Lankham hotel they will also give you a little map and possible routes...all in all it is very very easy, and there are not thàt many options...in fact, Travelfish has a great feature story about this:
    http://www.travelfish.org/feature/83

    the routes mentioned in that article are exactly the same as the ones you'll hear from the guys in Pakse ...

    most go first to Tad Lo (which I did as well), defeintely stay a night over there. I satyed there for two nights because i got a flat tire on the way there, so only arrived there at night and wanted at least a full day to chill out... (also definitely go to the waterfall that's furthest away in Tad Lo, the kids hanging around there are lovely!)...
    3rd day we left Tad Lo then and went Tha Theng-Sekong-then closing the loop back to Pakse... the waterfalls on the way back to Pakse (especialy Tad Yang) are highly recommended, some great stuff there!

    All in all very high recommended for a 3-day trip, you could even go to Attapeu as well (didn't get there in the end because of that stupid flat tire the 1st day), I must say the local people on the Bolaven plateau are the friendliest people i have ever met in my life, you'll find out!

    #6 Posted: 13/1/2010 - 17:14

  • Rufus

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

    If you have never ridden a motorcycle before then you would be crazy to start in Laos. Also unless you have a mc licence you will not be covered by insurance.

    #7 Posted: 19/1/2010 - 13:00

  • emma066

    Joined Travelfish
    21st October, 2009
    Posts: 60

    Thanks, I don't think it's a good idea, I tried to ride a moped in Thailand and it wasn't a good experience!

    Does anyone have any comments on my last week in Laos itinerary?

    #8 Posted: 19/1/2010 - 14:59

  • Rufus

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

    "Does anyone have any comments on my last week in Laos itinerary?"

    I would spend at least 2 days in Vientiane.

    #9 Posted: 19/1/2010 - 15:14

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
    12th February, 2006
    Location United States
    Posts: 2356
    Total reviews: 47
    Places visited:
    At least 98

    i'm in champasak right now and there is not a lot going on. really. not much at all. if you are looking for some chill out time, then this might be your place! but if not, you could easily take the morning boat (if there is one that day - it is a gorgeous trip) or bus down to champasak from pakse, see wat phu either in the afternoon or early the next morning, then blow out of here. but again, it depends on what experience you are seeking.

    as an alternative, you could also take a day trip out of pakse to wat phu, saving a bit of time and travel cost as well.

    if you do spend one less night in champasak, i'd spend it in vientiane too, as Rufus suggests. there is a lot to do there in vientiane.

    how are you getting to vang vieng by the way? also, did you plan on taking the overnight VIP bus from vientiane to pakse? cheers

    #10 Posted: 19/1/2010 - 18:26

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  • emma066

    Joined Travelfish
    21st October, 2009
    Posts: 60

    Thanks for your helpful reply!

    Getting to Vang Vieng by bus from Luang Prabang – assume this is the best way?
    Then another bus to Vietianne…

    Then, yes, overnight VIP bus. We wanted to fly but airport is closed. Feeling a bit dubious about this if I’m honest, especially as my boyfriend is 6ft 3”. Have you done it? Would you suggest an alternative if you know one? Or, good places to stop over? – problem is time of course!

    #11 Posted: 19/1/2010 - 18:34

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
    12th February, 2006
    Location United States
    Posts: 2356
    Total reviews: 47
    Places visited:
    At least 98

    luang prabang to vang vieng by bus or minivan is your best and only option, as far as i know. the nicer the bus (e.g. more expensive) the more comfortable you will be.

    i haven't done the VIP overnight from vientiane to pakse. the buses look pretty nice, but i think it will be a long and possibly cramped trip. but better to do the one big bus haul than break it up for sure.

    are you sure the pakse airport is closed? the travel agents in pakse were advertising flights to/from vientiane and elsewhere, but i didn't go out to the airport so i can't say for sure. maybe it would be worth asking a travel agent there in LP or stopping by the lao airways office.
    cheers.

    #12 Posted: 19/1/2010 - 18:43

  • emma066

    Joined Travelfish
    21st October, 2009
    Posts: 60

    Thanks.

    We'll not be there until May time and the airport is shutting in May from what I've seen.

    Booo!

    Any other tips on places to go in Laos?

    #13 Posted: 19/1/2010 - 18:53

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6220
    Total reviews: 10

    I have to say that I did learn to ride in Thailand. First smaller bikes, then larger ones. Now I did that in the sticks, not on the streets of Bangkok. And I will admit I am a risk taker by nature. But all in all I found riding itself to be very easy to learn. If you can ride a bicycle and a car with a standard transmission, then riding a motorcycle is an easy next step. At least that was my experience.

    Now, dealing with Thai traffic, that's another thing altogether. If you ride here long enough, it's probably inevitable you will have to put your bike down at some point. A lot of drivers don't know what right looks like, and have a careless disregard for safety - theirs and yours.

    #14 Posted: 20/1/2010 - 09:51

  • Gorey

    Joined Travelfish
    26th March, 2007
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 58
    Total reviews: 3

    Regarding buses, im 6'3 too, and generally a big guy and i found long distance trips to be surprisingly comfy on standard buses so i expect the VIP buses would be fine.

    Last i heard regarding Pakse airport was that it was meant to reopen early Jan but as of last week it was still closed, but this refurbishment work on the runway began in July and was meant to be completed in September. I hadn't seen anything about it closing in May. Might be worth emailing lao airlines pakse office if you havn't already.

    #15 Posted: 21/1/2010 - 09:13

  • damo

    Joined Travelfish
    9th November, 2009
    Posts: 14

    Well I'm embarking on my Bolaven motorbike adventure tomorrow morning. I'm a little under confident after my first spell on a semi-automatic ended in grazed knees and elbows back in Vang Vieng (some really bad roads west of town), but should hopefully be fine this time. I'll post about how it goes if I can.

    #16 Posted: 25/1/2010 - 12:31

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