Looking for some advice on my itinerary for Laos, I will be heading to Luang Prabang from Hanoi on the 31st Jan 2011 and have a rough plan that is open to change and very flexible and i would like some advice from fellow travelers on the sites / places i have chosen to spend my 30 days in Laos.
Luang Prabang - 3/4 days
Phonsovan - 1 day
Vang Vieng 2/3 days
Savannakhet - 2 days
Pakse 4 days - 1 day trip to Champasak ( What Phu Ruins) and 1 day trip Bolaven Plateau
Si Phan Don Islands - Don Dhet - 3/4 days
will be entering Cambodia at Stung Treng after this itinerary finishes
Thats around 20/25 days with a further 5/8 days of travel in between each place.
What advice would you give? anywhere i missed that is a MUST SEE. not enough time ect ect? Any advice appreciated
wow. nearly a full month to stretch out and really experience laos sounds nice.
i agree with Rufus that vientiane is definitely worth seeing. the city is more and more sophisticated each time i visit, and there is a good range of cultural, historic, and just plain fun stuff to do there.
you'll find that transportation in laos moves at a relaxed pace, so it is smart to leave extra time in your itinerary for travel. for example, you've listed one day for phonsovan, which is probably enough to check out the city and visit a few sites on the plain of jars, but unless you are flying, just getting there will take the better part of a day and getting from there to your next stop likely the same.
inbetween vientiane and savannakhet, you may consider stopping over in thakhaek just to break up the long bus ride, unless you are prepared for a 10 hour+ trip.
i very much enjoyed pakse, but there isn't all that much to do there. most folks were just resting up and relaxing while using the city as a staging area for trips to champassak and wat phu or the bolevans plateau. you might be better off scheduling two days for the bolevans circuit. that way you won't be rushed and can work in an overnight enroute. champassak and wat phu can be visited via day trip like you have planned, but they are very charming and could also be turned into an overnight stop on your way to siphandon.
anyway, great that you have some extra days built into your itinerary so you can spend an extra day here or there as you fancy. sounds like a great trip. have fun.
Maybe they aren't mutually exclusive, since the OP (Chris Jenko) mentioned having a few extra days built in to do additional stuff, particularly if he works in a domestic flight on Lao Airlines for one of the travel legs.
I haven't been to Nong Kiaow. Chris Taylor, what is it that makes it so special for you?
I have been to Phonsavan, and it was something quite special for me. Just as Rufus mentioned, I liked the history and the culture as well as the really different feel of the place.
"I definitely would NOT skip the Plain of Jars. If you are remotely interested in history and culture then I suggest that you will love the area."
Anyone doing tours of battlesites on the plain of Jars now? The conflict between the Hmong and the Pathet Laos was fierce in that area.