So I'm planning on entering Laos from Hoi An to Pakse (1-2 days), then plan on heading to Don Det (X days), and leaving to Siem Reap/Cambodia.
-Am I depriving myself by spending so little time there? (ie Is it worth the trip or should I save it for its own trip and spend more time in Vietnam/Cambodia?)
-Are there any recommended destinations along the way?
-Is there a boat down to Cambodia from near Don Det? If so, how is it? (quality, duration, fun/chill factor, etc)
#1 alljokingaside has been a member since 20/12/2011. Posts: 18
Why not enter Cambodia directly from Vietnam? Sounds like you are paying an extra visa fee for little return.
#2 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
As for travelling from Hoi An to Pakse , please check my reply in LP forum that i posted recently---#3 & #6 as "jp_geckozy"
(a fellow traveller's question--"Getting from Hoi An in Vietnam to Pakse in Laos via Bo Y border crossing?")
#4 tf_geckozy has been a member since 2/9/2008. Posts: 82
Add to my reply #4
If possible, please spend a day for "One day Bolaven tour" after arriving Pakse as below.
(Bolaven Plateau in southern Laos is one of the most favorite destinations(=areas) in Laos for me and i travelled several times there with various styles including recent "mini travel" as above)
PS-1) if you take a route in #4, you can fully enjoy very good scenry all the way from Da Nang to Pakse at both sides VN and Laos -- mountains, forests, villages, many coffee farm houses and peoples life in villages (of course, all sceneries from the windows of your bus)
And one more very good thing exists in this route--- all buses that you will take in this route are run in daytime at both sides VN and Laos with no stresses so if you take this route, i think you will surely have a very good experience=unforgettable, maybe!
PS-2) waterfalls in above URL
PS-3) waterfalls around Paksong
(Tad Fane=38km from Pakse/Adress of a village having this waterfall is "Lak 38"="km 38" !!! and Pakse is "Km 0", Paksong is "Km 50" )
#5 tf_geckozy has been a member since 2/9/2008. Posts: 82
To be honest, I don't know that I would be bothered making the long trip from Hoi An to Pakse just for a few days in the Don Det. I didn't make it to the islands thanks to crappy weather so I can't comment about them specifically, but Pakse itself is just another town. I mean it's OK as a place to stop over, but it's not a destination.
I would do as MadMac suggested... carry on down Vietnam and enter Cambodia via the Mekong Delta, and forget about Laos this time around. Spend the extra time that you gain in the Kampot area of Cambodia, instead.
Just my humble opinion...
Anyone who has been on this site since last February knows I love S. Laos, but I have to agree with the above. If you're simply taking a long bus ride through the Bolaven and then skipping down to Si Phon Don I think you'd find just as much relaxation on the Cambodia beaches.
Your previous post made it sound like you were in SE Asia last year as well, so I'd save a trip for Southern Laos for the future. You should give the region enough time for a few days motorbiking around the Bolaven Plateau, two nights in Champasak, and then a stay in Si Phon Don. Your original plan was to travel into HCMC then up to Hoi'an, so if you really want to do central Vietnam have you considered flying into Hanoi a couple nights there, then Hoi'an, HCMC and up the Delta as mentioned before. I've heard that delta way into Cambodia is very nice.
Oh - as for recommended destinations;
Tad Lo - Great quiet spot to relax, really nice if you have a motorbike to go around the area for a day or two and visit villages and waterfalls.
Paksong - at least one night, waterfalls on the way back into Pakse if you are not taking public transportation - ie, get a motorbike from Pakse to do this short loop.
Champasak - Wat Phu, as mentioned above, 2 nights I recommend - also, best if you come down from Pakse with a motorbike for your own transportation.
These spots would add up to Tad Lo (2 nights - many stretch it to 3), Paksong (1 night - 2 wouldn't be bad), Champasak (2 nights - stay on a place with restaurant overlooking the river).
I don't think it works as well to stop at places on the way in from Vietnam taking public transport. It'd be better to skip ahead to Pakse and then backtrack with a rented bike.
Thanks for all the advice! I've been to Vientienne and Vang Viene (Luang Prabong was a no-go, sadly) so I suppose skipping out on Lao isn't the biggest deal to me (though it'd be nice)
So, the flight's been booked for Hanoi on the 8th, arriving at 11pm! As suggested, the idea right now is
-Hoi An (With maybe a stop or 2 on the way)
- Mekong Delta to Cambodia (I assume that there is a visa on arrival //Is Ho Chi Minh worth the extra time, time I can be spending vigilant-fighting villainous monkeys? From my readings, Hanoi seems to be the better spot to spend time.)
-Siem Reap to meet a friend from the 27th-31st of Jan
- Bangkok and fly out on the 3rd or 4th
Again, y'all've been a huge help
#9 alljokingaside has been a member since 20/12/2011. Posts: 18
I'm planning a stop in Hue on the way to Hoi'an myself - hear its well worth it and have had a 50/50 feedback on which is better Hue/Hoi'an so I imagine both are worth checking out. Also, if you take the train from Hanoi to Hue you can then rent a bike or a car one way to Da Nang/Hoi'an to go through a nice stretch between the two.
I think two nights in HCMC would be worthwhile if you're into history and want to check out some of the sites around the city. Recommend going into the Delta via Can Tho for a night as the 2 nights we stayed in Can Tho were really delightful. Maybe plan for more time making your way up the delta than bar-hopping in HCMC.