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Southeast Asia

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Route through Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia

Posted by Kmcgregor1 on 22/4/2017 at 02:56

Hi guys

I will be heading to Laos from Chiang Rai next week and staying for 1 month.

I'm just abit stuck on how best to plan my route.

I like traveling quite slow so I was thinking to spend my time in North Laos and head over to Vietnam overland. Then head down Vietnam into Cambodia. I'll then head back to Thailand to meet my friends at the end of July.

I also had the idea to maybe go from north Laos down south and into Cambodia overland then head to Vietnam overland, make my way up north and then fly to Bangkok from Hanoi .

Has anyone had recent experience of going overland from north Laos to Vietnam and how long it takes (I'll be getting my visa in advance of course)? A friend did Hanoi to Luang Prabang and it was over 24 hours, not sure if that appeals to me. Would prefer to stop over somewhere to break up the journey. Or perhaps just fly from LP to Hanoi.

Is there plenty to do in the north to keep me busy for 1 month (I like nature , walking, relaxing. Not really into partying) and maybe plan a trip to the south another time?

With the second option, does that seem like a logical route to take?

Appreciate any input you guys can give :)

#1 Kmcgregor1 has been a member since 30/1/2017. Posts: 12

Posted by somtam2000 on 22/4/2017 at 22:23 admin


Both those routes are popular, but they are time consuming and you'll be fitting a lot in to do either in a month.

Overland say Luang Prabang to Hanoi takes (best case) around 24 hours, in practise, often longer. If you have the budget, given your time constraints, flying that leg could be smart. If you want to break it up going overland, Phonsavan is the logical option.

With a month you could spend two weeks in northern Laos, perhaps finishing in Vientiane and then fly from there to Hanoi, spend two weeks in the north, perhaps Hanoi, Mai Chai, Sapa, Catba, Ha Long Bay and then fly back to Bangkok to meet up with your friends.

The longer trip you mention (south through Laos, then Cambodia then back up through Vietnam) is popular, but not feasible in a month in my opinion.

Hope that helps.

#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,089

Posted by Kmcgregor1 on 23/4/2017 at 00:14

Hi there

Thanks for your advice. Sorry I should have made it clearer, I've got one month in Laos and after I continue to either Vietnam or Cambodia. I'm travelling long term :)

I was wondering whether to either to spend the whole month exploring the north of Laos and heading overland to Vietnam. Or, to see both north and south of Laos then head over to Cambodia etc.

#3 Kmcgregor1 has been a member since 30/1/2017. Posts: 12

Posted by amnicoll on 23/4/2017 at 03:16

I would say enjoy a month in the north of Laos and do some research about where best to cross the border that would drop you somewhere interesting from where you can explore the north of Vietnam before Hanoi - Sop Hun/Tay Trang

#4 amnicoll has been a member since 10/1/2005. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 976

Posted by Kmcgregor1 on 23/4/2017 at 09:54

Thanks so much, I'll look into this border crossing.

It doesn't help that I'm finding some awesome things to see in the south lol!! I think it's best to keep my options open :)

#5 Kmcgregor1 has been a member since 30/1/2017. Posts: 12

Posted by MelbourneMuzza on 24/4/2017 at 08:27

you can have the best trip of your life if you have the time.
I will just put what I did and you can probably do the rest, it enables you to sit at the table of "hard travellers"
Chang Rai, leave early to get over the bridge to get to the bus station to get to Luang Namtha
I stayed two nights (you arrive late)
On to Muang Xai, 1 night
on to Luang Prabang , get you Vietnam visa here, a good reliable embassy. Now the really good stuff
Onto Nong Khaiw ( 1 night)then boat to Muang Ngoy (2 nights)
Boat to Muang Khua, This is better than the two days on the Mekong, very rewarding, go to the government run tourist office, here you will get directed into remotest Lao,
I cannot even start to say how good that place is.
Bus onto Diem Biem Phu, Two nights at least, this place. This place is a must.
Bus onto Lai Chua, one night, I got ripped into 3 times here???? Hotel, Taxi and soap (4$)
Bus onto Sapa , another place to stay and breathe!
Bus to Hanoi , after this , go onto Ha Long Bay, I chose to stay on Catba Island
From CatBa you have a choice of busses,One to Ninh Binh or back to Ha Noi, Go past Ninh Binh onto Tam Coc and a while here, Two or three nights
Then onto Hanoi then the rest of your plan
This journey is a bit more interesting than most. All bus and boat
The bus Luang Prabang to Ha noi I have heard is a bastard!!

#6 MelbourneMuzza has been a member since 19/3/2016. Posts: 8

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