quick query I am hoping you may be able to help with.
I am travelling to South East Asia late October and I'm trying to fit in as much as possible.
Travel fish have a fantastic guide for a week in Laos, for the main (touristy) places I want to visit but no links to where I can find details on transport.
My plan is Vientiane -> Vang Vieng -> Luang Parabang, in 5-6 days! The bus would be ideal but I'm hearing bas things namely on the comfort/ speed/ safety of these journeys. Has anyone experienced these first hand? Opinions?
In addition I will be arriving to Vien from Hanoi and leaving LP to Chiang Mai, does anyone have details on ways in and out of Laos via these routes? At the moment I'm thinking plane both ways due to time constraints but overnight buses (or trains?) would be preferred by my bank balance and I believe the scenery on the routes are amazing.
Please help, I'd like to have an idea before I set off. Thanks so much!
#1 globalgypsy88 has been a member since 25/8/2011. Posts: 9
Honestly GG88, it may not be what you want to hear and I've said the same to a few other travellers contemplating something similar, 5/6 days for 3 places in a country with as unreliable a transport system and such a chilled vibe as Laos is, in my opinion, pure and utter madness!!!!!!
You're looking at probably averaging only 36 hours per destination!!
On the other hand 5 days would be perfect to see most of LP and relax, it is such a tranquil place you may regret it if you were rushing round it. I am pretty sure you can fly Hanoi-LP and also LP-Chiang Mai, which may be best given your time constraints.
However, if you do insist on going to all 3 destinations, bear in mind that should you travel by bus, some of your journeys (VV-LP and LP-Thai border) would be overnight trips, hence negating your point about the magical scenery.
LP-Chang Mai takes close to 24 hours if you go overland (bus-boat-bus).
Best of luck with whatever choice you make!!!!
#2 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740
Got to agree with China here with one caveat - VV is on the way to LP - so stopping there breaks up your ride and doesn't eat extra time if you were going by bus anyway.
You preferaced with this statement, so I am assuming you are planning a Japanese Tourist approach on your trip:
"I am travelling to South East Asia late October and I'm trying to fit in as much as possible."
If "fit it" can be defined as going to as many places and possible, and getting as many happy snaps of different things as possible, then yes, your plan works. For most people (I am postulating here, as I have no antrhopologic evidence to support this claim) part of the joy of this place is the slower pace of life. Obviously you are planning on throwing that out the window on this one, but if you do that with your eyes open, well, nothing wrong with that.
#3 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Hi both, thank you for such a quick response.
My dates have some levels of flexibility. I am new to this so I am at the stage of trying to piece together what is and isn't feasible.
China, thank you for this information, do you have a link to any transport sites with more details? When in Laos I mostly wanted to take the trip to VV of all three destinations so if I can only do either LP or Vien in addition which would you recommend?
MM thank you for your input
#4 globalgypsy88 has been a member since 25/8/2011. Posts: 9
GG88, you're welcome.
If you are definitely going to Vang Vieng, then I would most definitely couple it with Vientiane . The two are closer together, you can travel between them in daylight and enjoy the scenery (which was one of your preferences) and if you were going to LP you would definitely need more than 2/3 days IMO. Whereas Vientiane can be reasonably well enjoyed and "done" in that timeframe.
If you are starting in Hanoi and ending in CM, it's probably best to fly both legs - Hanoi-Vientiane, return bus trip from Vientiane to VV, and then fly Vientiane-CM.
#5 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740
You might also want to contact Rufus. He lives out that way, and knows the area well.
#6 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Thanks both for your help!
#7 globalgypsy88 has been a member since 25/8/2011. Posts: 9