If money doesn't matter - then fly. If money matters, then "efficient" has a new defition.
#2 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Fly to LP and do a loop from there (by bus and boat I guess, I'm not sure how easy it is by bike but there a no doubt posts and stories on this website which cover that) or travel slowly overland through NW Vietnam, cross over at Dien Bien Phu and travel through Northern Laos from there. It really does depend upon what you mean by convenient and efficient and what you want to get out of your 10 days but I'd go for the latter option personally.
I wasn't suggesting getting the direct bus from Hanoi to Laos, as yes, it's horrible, - but when you said Northern Laos I assumed you meant north of LP, if so then there seemed little point in flying to Vientiane hence my two alternative suggestions. If you mean more north-middle of Laos then Rufus's suggestion makes sense of course.
As you've undoubtedly observed, I'm not much of a scenery kind of guy. Guess it has an appeal for some folks though.
#8 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Just wondering if you tested Rufus' way of flying to Vientiane and then the bus from Luang Prabang? If so...hoe did it work out and which airline carrier was best to use from Hanoi? Hoping to do this journey some time in the next 2 weeks!!
#9 darcon has been a member since 29/9/2010. Posts: 5