Photo: Classic scenery surrounds Vang Vieng.

Laos forum

Huay Xai to Luang Prabang (or Vientiane) May 2010

Posted by jessia on 17/3/2010 at 18:32

Hi everyone, this is my first post and first I'd like to say thanks for all contributing to a wonderful resource which has already been invaluable for my SEA trip planning!

I have done a lot of reading and researching (can't help it- born planner) and am planning Thailand-Laos-Vietnam for 6 weeks May to June this year. The help I'm looking for at the moment is from Gibbon experience out of Huay Xai , down to Luang Prabang- Vang Vieng- Vientiane then fly to Vietnam.

Or from Huay Xai to Vientiane- VV- LP.

So far I believe my options are: (and please correct me if I'm wrong)
slow boat via Pakbeng
bus (any updates on overnight busses Huay Xai- LP in start of rainy season?)

fly Air Lao from Huay Xai to Vientiane (about $107 US 3 days a week)
and then bus up to Vang Vieng, then Luang Prabang, then fly from LP to Hanoi.

Basically I'm thinking of avoiding slow boat because of time constraints, and unwilling to risk safety on speedboat at start of rainy season :)

So any opinions as to which route would work better? Whether the flight from Huay Xai is worth the extra money, or what the bus trip/ road conditions would be like in May?

I really tried to read the forum widely so I wouldn't repeat questions- sorry if this has been discussed elsewhere!

Thanks in advance...
Jessia 21 F from Australia :)

#1 jessia has been a member since 17/3/2010. Posts: 6

Posted by alijwilson on 18/3/2010 at 04:17

hi jessica,
i'm considering the same thing (planning to do huay xai to vientiane at end of april), and here is my thinking, aloud and subjective:
- up until now have been set on the slow boat. this is because i think it is the most relaxed option and will provide a rest to just stare at the scenery and meet some people. more of a journey in my opinion.
but at the moment it's not running, so if you haven't already seen these posts then check them out -, and this -

- i'm not really considering the speedboat because of what i hear about the safety (a mere personal preference, enough info on here for you to decide yourself). also it doesn't match my above reasons for the slowboat.

-the bus is my backup. i know i'll be sick of buses sooner or later, so might as well avoid one and get a different experience while i can. if the slowboat isn't running i'll bus it.

dont know if that tells you anythng new, but it's my view on things for the moment. if you get any further info post it on here! happy travels!

#2 alijwilson has been a member since 16/3/2010. Posts: 3

Posted by Captain_Bob on 18/3/2010 at 13:31

Jessia the flight from Huay Xai to Vientiane would just mean backtracking all the way to LP, not worth it IMO. We need a crystal ball to tell us how high the Mekong will be in a month or two but generally by end of April there would be plenty of water to enable slowboating on the usual route. But hey it's an el nino year and global warmin, Al Gore, etc. Speed boat is still an option that I'm comfortable with but understandably it's not everyone's cup of tea (fear factor).

Instead of thinking Huay Xai - Luang Prabang as A to B why not slow down and do some stops along the way? Go up to Luang Namtha (daily bus from HX 9am, four hours great road) and Muang Sing or Vieng Phoukha for some trekking. Take a bus to Oudomxai and do a side-trip to Nong Khiaw and Muang Ngoi then get a boat down the Nam Ou to Luang Prabang. Huay Xai bus schedule on

#3 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,911

Posted by jessia on 22/3/2010 at 05:56

Great- thanks for your replies!

#4 jessia has been a member since 17/3/2010. Posts: 6

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