I'll be doing a backpacking trip for about 36 days, spending 2 weeks in vietnam and 2 weeks in Laos. Will be heading to Sapa and going back to Hanoi for my last stop in vietnam. Few questions considering Laos.
1) Is there a direct bus from Hanoi to Luarang Prabang? Know there is one to Vientiane but then I need to move up from Vientiane to Lurang Prabang and back to Vientiane to catch my flight out to KL(alrdy book the tix)
2) What do you think I can do in 2 weeks in Laos? Anything substantial?
3) How much money in USD you think I would need to change for Laos for 2 weeks?
#1 Shane10 has been a member since 18/5/2010. Posts: 2
1) I'm not sure about that bus to luang prabang, cause the border crossing is closer to Vientianne then LP. (to vientianne : 13h, vientianne to LP : 10h) so it's a lot of time you spend on the bus, why not fly from Hanoi to Vientianne and go bus up and down to LP and in the middle make a stopover at Vang Vieng .
2)what to do, Vientianne, Vang Vieng and LP should do it for 2 weeks and maybe some jungle hiking.
3) Everybody is always thinking about how much money they need to bring to change, I never take any money with me, just my creditcard and get some money from the ATM. I always took off about 700000 Lao-kip ($90) and I managed about 4 days with that kind of money (partying everyday included)
You can cross at Sam Neua (Na Maew / Nam Xoi)
That way you can cross into the rustic Northeast of the country and take a few days getting to Luang Prabang via Nong Kiaow (a nice little bridge village) and the surrounding area. Rather than a direct bus it's nice to break up the long journey from Hanoi - Sam Neua, Sam Neua to Nong Kiaow, Nong Kiaow to Luang Prabang. I think you could do that and still have a few days for Vang Vieng and/or Vientiane if you like - just short stops to rest in Sam Neua and Nong Kiaow.
So, for two weeks you'd be able to see a few little villages/towns in the north and ride through some pretty jungle roads.
The travel agencies in Luang Prabang will advertise a "Luang Prabang -- Hanoi " bus, but it actually stops in Vientiane .
The Vientiane -- Hanoi bus is known as the "bus from hell" and takes ~25 hours. I'd strongly suggest you break up the trip with a day or 2 in Vientiane or check flight prices.
2) Nong Kiau is a beautiful place and there are different kayaking and hiking options there through Green Discovery that are really good. The boat from Luang Prabang to Nong Kiau was a beautiful ride - but be prepared for wooden seat and only 1 toilet stop! I did a three day river kayak trip to go back and that was great. About 40 min. from Vientiene there is a place on the river (River Time) that is great for hanging out, swimming, doing nothing if that is what you seek at any time.
I had a wonderful trip and no problems. As with every company, for every negative experience someone has there is always a positive experience to contradict it. I was not thrilled with the staff in one of the Luang Prabang offices, but was very pleased with the staff in Nong Kiau. I think when planning a trip it is about talking with the people and seeing how you feel about it - you know, what kind of "vibe" you get. Just my opinion.
Each to her own. However when they totally misrepresent a hike, and this has nothing to do with the language, as my wife speaks Lao, they lose me. Also after a brief flurry of activity from the new manager, we heard nothing, no apology, nothing. Others have had the same experience.