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Where to go in Southern Laos

Posted by Handy on 4/5/2010 at 01:42

Hey all,

My girlfriend and I are arriving in Luang Prabang on August 8th, planning to bus it to Siem Reap where we are catching a flight to HCMC on August 29th. We'll spend a couple of days in each of LP, Vang Vieng and Vientiane , leaving Vientiane southbound around the 15th or 16th. We are planning to spend 2 or 3 nights at Si Phan Don, and to leave there for Cambodia around the 23rd.

I'd appreciate some advice on an itinerary between Vientiane and Si Phan Don, which will be 4-5 days. Where, and in how many places should we break the bus ride? What are the attractions in this/these place/s? We are just looking to visit nice towns, take in some countryside (gently, not arduous trekking), whatever really. I have looked at the info on this site and also in the Lonely Planet 'Mekong' guidebook, but is a little sparse. The 'exploring Savannahket' thread indicates that there is plenty more information to be had...

It would be nice to go to Kong Lo cave but the information concerning getting there is really confusing. Are day trips possible from Tha Khaek? It seems like there probably isn't time to fit it in.

#1 Handy has been a member since 4/5/2010. Posts: 2

Posted by exacto on 4/5/2010 at 04:46


consider taking the VIP bus from Vientiane all the way to Pakse (676 km) and then base out of there for several days. Pakse itself is delightful and varied, and is a good starting point for motorscooter or other tours around the Bolevans Plateau. you could also do either a day or overnight trip to Champasak and Wat Phu from there. you'll also meet many other travellers in Pakse and can pick up details and suggestions from there. it's an easy trip from Pakse to Si Phan Don too. good fun.

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Posted by Rufus on 4/5/2010 at 16:33

"consider taking the VIP bus from Vientiane all the way to Pakse (676 km)"

Sorry, I couldn't stand this anymore even though it is a sleeper bus. Why not drive? You can spend a day in Tha Khaek and visit the Konglor caves as you suggest. There is a great hotel in Tha Khaek as well. I would spend a couple of days in Savannakhet and then head for Pakse.

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Posted by travellingsarah on 4/5/2010 at 19:24 TF writer

Posted from within Vietnam.

The bus from Vientiene to Pakse was one of the worst transport experiences I've had ... that said, it's soon forgotten and, given you only have 4-5 days I'd still reckon going straight to Pakse makes more sense. We spent a great couple of days driving around the Bolaven Plateau. But then I didn't go to Tha Khaek or Savannakhet.

I'm interested though Rufus in your suggestion to drive. Do you mean a one-way car hire or motorbike? We hope to head back to Laos sometime so be good to know if there's a one-way option.

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Posted by Rufus on 5/5/2010 at 07:11

I was thinking more of a motorbike. When I drove this route earlier this year, (my own car), I saw quite a few bikers on the road.
Both Tha Khaek and Savannakhet are worth a stop.

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Posted by Handy on 5/5/2010 at 16:28

Thanks for the replies. I hadn't thought of taking the sleeper bus to Pakse, but we probably will suck it up and take it, otherwise we'll have to travel almost every day. Travel sickness pills with bad drowsiness as a side-effect have worked well for this type of thing in the past...

I've also realised that I booked the flight on the wrong day, so we have even less time than I thought (..duh..).

Rufus - is it then possible to rent a motorbike in Vientiane and drop it off in Pakse?? If not, you'd need a driver right, and that would be really expensive?

#6 Handy has been a member since 4/5/2010. Posts: 2

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