Hi all. We're currently on the road in Thailand, heading North towards Chiang Mai. We plan to do Laos from Nov 14th when our Visa runs out, and head around Laos until our Vietnam visas commence on 10 December.
The question is - which direction should we take around Laos, and where should we enter Vietnam? We've not seen a single beach yet in SE Asia, and would love to correct that around Christmas time.
With 3.5 weeks you will be able to see a fair bit of Laos. It makes sense to enter via Huay Xai if coming from Chiang Mai.
Then can go north to Luang Namtha, Udomxai, Nong Khiaw, Muang Ngoi then down to Luang Prabang(by boat if you would like). From there can go to Phonsavan if you want, Vang Vieng, Vientiane, Konglor, Thakek, Savannakhet, Pakse , 4000 islands. From there can head back to Pakse and then cross over to Kon Tum which provides access to either Danang/Hoi An, Nha Trang or Buon Ma Thuot/Dalat.
If you want to spend most time in northern Laos and enter northern Vietnam then could do Luang Namtha, Udomxai, Luang Prabang, Phonsavan, Sam Nuea, Nong Khiaw, Muang Ngoi, Muang Khua and then enter via Dien Bien Phu and head to Sapa then Hanoi.
Thanks so much for a detailed and link-filled response.
I'll be looking into those in a little more detail later, with a particular view to choosing routes where we won't be repeating ourselves. I guess key is going to be finding the right spots for Christmas and New Year, are there any existing write-ups on those for Vietnam?
Christmas will be pretty much non existent, you are going to a Buddhist country not a Christian one. The new year will have a small celebration pretty much anywhere, the bigger the center/more tourists likely the bigger the celebrations.
Yeah, this suits us to be honest. We're not Christians, so just looking to pitch up someplace nice, warm and relaxing and enjoy an alternative to the booze-filled, frenetic festive weeks we normally undertake at home. Sounds like we're heading in the right direction?