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Southeast Asia forum

Laos, Cambodia or somewhere in northern Thailand?

Posted by hallf_brick on 16/6/2009 at 14:26

We're going to be in Thailand in the beginning of July and have a week that we're trying to decide what to do with.

Initially we planned on catching the overnight train up to Laos, having a few chilled out nights in Vientiane and a couple of crazy nights tubing in Viang Veng.

Now we're thinking about Cambodia, because we've heard good things. But aren't sure of the logistics of it, or where to best go.

We're basically looking for somewhere we can get to by overnight train, that will be beautiful/relaxing and a nice contrast to the rest of the time we are in Thailand when we are staying in Krabi.

Has anyone been to both Vientiane/Viang Veng and Cambodia. Or does anyone have any other good recommendations for a good place to fill a week without having to travel around tooo much?

#1 hallf_brick has been a member since 16/6/2009. Posts: 13

Posted by BruceMoon on 16/6/2009 at 18:57

hallf_brick

You really should have posted this on SE Asia.

You can't rail it from Thailand to either Laos or Cambodia. There is a rail link to the Thai border near Vientiane.

You sound like party animals. I'm assuming you'd be seeking Siem Reap in Cambodia, if so, I doubt you'd get to party too hard: the place is for those doing temples.

Vientiane to VV needs a full day. In any event, if by rail/bus you'd be travelling for 3 straight days to get there.

If partying IS your scene, why not consider Chiang Mai, and go rafting and elephant riding in Pai.

Cheers

#2 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941


Posted by hallf_brick on 17/6/2009 at 04:12

Sorry about posting in the wrong spot.

I thought you can get an overnight train from Bangkok up to Nhong Kai, pop across the bridge to Vientiane, and then the bus to Vang Vieng? So potentially a night and a day of travel?

We're not really going for alot of partying, we just thought the tubing sounded like fun, and alot of people have recommended it.

For a bit of context, we're flying into BKK at 17:00 after a week in the islands, so catching an overnight train somewhere the same day would be ideal, that's part of the appeal of Laos.

#3 hallf_brick has been a member since 16/6/2009. Posts: 13

Posted by BruceMoon on 17/6/2009 at 06:30

hallf_brick

Sorry about the assumption details.

For train details, go to:

http://www.seat61.com/Laos.htm#Bangkok%20to%20 Vientiane

Here you'll see that the website advises a train to near Vientiane. Elsewhere on Travelfish, contributors are saying that the link between Nong Khai is not yet operational. On that I don't personally know.

Anyway, it's the same train (#69) that goes through as goes to Nong Khai. So if you can't get a ticket to Thanaleng (Laos), at least you can get to Nong Khai.

The #69 departs at 20:00 (I don't know if the train number is symbolic).

Whichever, you'll arrive in Vientiane in the middle of the day.

As you see on Travelfish (if you look) I really like Laos. The people are 'relaxed', its not too overwhelming with touts, etc., etc.. Nevertheless, I'm wondering why people would spend so much effort to go just tubing. There's many vids of people rafting in VV on the web. Have a look and see if that is really sufficient fun to warrant so much time in travel for an hour or so of 'fun'. Personally, because bus travel in Laos is so tedious, and because the hour or so of tubing is such fun, the contrast probably heightens the 'experience'.

Just double check that the river will be OK for rafting. This is the wet season, so the river may be declared too high for such activities. I'm just suggesting you check that out as a safety measure - I don't know.

Anyway, it's your call.

ps. the train to Cambodia leaves at 5am.

Cheers

#4 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

Posted by hallf_brick on 17/6/2009 at 08:08

Cheers for the advice BruceMoon.

One of the reasons we're starting to hesitate about heading to Laos was (as you say) it kinda felt like we might be going all that way just for a day of floating down a river.

But I've been reading up on Vientiane with it's laid back vibe, beautiful sunsets, Beer Lao, cruising round on rented bikes and french food and it all sounds pretty good.

From what you've said Laos sounds really nice, and it seems to fit our itinerary pretty well. So if you think we won't be disappointed with a couple of days in Vientiane and a couple in Vang Vieng, we'll probably just stick to the rough plan of heading up there. But we're not tied down to anything really at the moment, so we can always change our mind once we get over there. Best way to be!

I've just got that pre-trip excitement/killing time while at work thing going on. Over-researching everything to the max, cos I'm so goddamn excited :)

#5 hallf_brick has been a member since 16/6/2009. Posts: 13

Posted by BruceMoon on 17/6/2009 at 09:43

hallf_brick

The road trip from VV to Luang Prabang is great. Not as good from Vientiane to VV. But, the scenery at VV will be sufficient.

If you've got a week, from BKK, then day 1 to Vientiane, day 2 to VV (I'm told the first bus leaves about 5am, then about 7am). That would allow a half day (on arrival) and 2 whole days in VV, then return to Vientiane to cruise till back to BKK.

Also, if you are departing the international terminal of BKK, you could investigate taking a flight from Vientiane (or even Luang Prabang) to BKK and be there some hours before the big outwards one.

Cheers

#6 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

Posted by hallf_brick on 17/6/2009 at 09:53

Sounds like a pretty good plan!

Cheers for your help BruceMoon. Can't wait for some sticky rice and beer Lao!

#7 hallf_brick has been a member since 16/6/2009. Posts: 13

Posted by BruceMoon on 17/6/2009 at 10:14

Oh,

Remember to take a passport pic of yourself and money for the cross border visa.

Cheers

#8 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

Posted by MADMAC on 17/6/2009 at 18:38

Nong Khai has a decent nightlife as well, as does Udon Thani.

Have a good time, and keep us posted how it goes.

#9 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
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