Photo: Classic scenery surrounds Vang Vieng.

Laos forum

2-3 weeks in Laos - Northern or Southern?

Posted by jennakuz on 13/12/2011 at 12:47

I am going to be in Laos for 2-3 weeks in March/April of 2012. I see there are two 2 week trip outlines for Laos on travelfish, one of the north and one of the south. I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions of pros/cons of either part of the country? I am a lone 20 year old female Canadian traveller if that helps - looking to do more than just tube down the river and drink! I want to see the true beauty of Laos!
Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!


#1 jennakuz has been a member since 23/9/2011. Posts: 14

Posted by exacto on 13/12/2011 at 16:08

I don't think you'll go wrong either way. Both the north and the south are pretty great.

It might depend on where else you plan to visit on this trip as to which option is best for you. For example, if you plan to visit Angkor Wat and then spend some time on the beaches of Cambodia and eastern Thailand, then southern Laos is the best choice. But if you planned on visiting northern Thailand for the Songkhran/Thai New Year Water Festival in mid-April, then Luang Prabang and surrounds makes better sense, at least in terms of logistics.

What types of things do you like to do when on holiday?

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Posted by jennakuz on 13/12/2011 at 17:53

I am definitely going to visit Angor Wat. I am looking to visit some villages, go on cycling trips... not planning any overnight treks but I would be very interested in day treks. But I am always ready for a beach day. I should probably have mentioned that I am planning to enter Laos coming from Chiang Mai.

#3 jennakuz has been a member since 23/9/2011. Posts: 14

Posted by exacto on 13/12/2011 at 18:26

Okay. Well if you are already planning to enter Laos in the north, why not use the two to three weeks to just run the full length of the country. You might want to save some time and road fatigue by taking an internal flight from Luang Prabang to Vientiane or Vientiane to Pakse . Once you are done with Laos, you can work your way into Cambodia and Angkor Wat.

The north has lots of places to go where you'll find those villages you mention. In the south, a trip through the Bolevans Plateau could be cool, as well as a few days in Champasak and a visit to Wat Phu. It will be a great warm up to Angkor. Go early in the morning. Just before you cross into Cambodia, you can spend some time in the 4,000 Islands area for some beach time, Mekong style.

Three weeks would be best if possible for that route, but you could still do it in two, particularly with an internal flight or the Vientiane to Pakse overnight bus trip. Cheers.

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Posted by caseyprich on 13/12/2011 at 20:43

Agree with exacto that with three weeks you can see a bit of both. I'm guessing that if you are coming in from Chiang Mai that you'll be taking the slow boat directly to Luang Prabang ? If not - you could go to Lang Nam Tha for a couple of days to cycle around that area. Then go down to Luang Prabang and environs for a few days and work your way to Vientiane , you'd still probably only take a week and a half to get to Vientiane if you plan on just those two stops. That would give you the time to go down to Pakse (Bolaven Plateau) for a few days, Champasak (2 nights) and then Si Phon Don before entering Cambodia overland like exacto said. I don't think you need to do the internal flight as the Vientiane to Pakse bus is overnight.

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Posted by jennakuz on 13/12/2011 at 22:48

thanks so much exacto and caseyprich... Laos outline is basically complete now!

#6 jennakuz has been a member since 23/9/2011. Posts: 14

Posted by 666Biggi on 14/1/2012 at 07:09

North and South are both very beautiful in their own ways.
Most of the big tourist sites are in the North, and as a result everything is clearly aimed more for the tourist and can come a bit 'pre packaged', but in saying that, it also means that it makes travelling through there or communicating and general life easier (not that it is hard to travel through the south).
The south is very beautiful, but in some of the smaller towns there isn't the variety in budget of accommodation and food that the north offers (if your more use to travelling in style).
But in the end it's what you want to get out of it.
I have just done the entire length of Laos and am very grateful that i decided to do the whole lot, I wouldn't choose one part over the other, take exacto's advice, do the lot!

And just putting it out there, tubing clearly isn't for everyone, but dont write Vang Vien off, it and it's surroundings are incredibly beatiful, with so much to do and see that doesn't involve getting drunk.

#7 666Biggi has been a member since 14/1/2012. Location: Australia. Posts: 7
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