I am going to SE Asia in December. Will it be too cold to go to Vang Vieng ? and What is the best way to get there? especially the quickest. I was thinking of flying into either Luang Prabeng or Vientiane . Which would be best? and is there any really cool things to see in either place? It seems like LP has more things with nature and would be better. is it further away (and how much further)? also can I get from LP or Vientiane to Vang Vieng via speed boat? and how long will transit take (i think I already asked that) Thanks for your help!
#1 chapeakee has been a member since 28/8/2012. Posts: 7
In December the river can be chilly, but daytimes are usually sunny and warm enough you won't die of hypothermia. Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng by bus takes around 5-6 hours over very hilly twisty roadway, while Vientiane is 3-4 hours with more level roads. Luang Prabang is definitely the bigger tourist draw with the UNESCO heritage area, caves, waterfalls, markets, culture shows, etc. Getting to Vang Vieng is by road only, no navigable river route, no connection with the Mekong.
I have limited time (only 3weeks in SEAsia) but I am a graduate student and it looks like fun. But I guess I am asking us it worth it this time of year as opposed to going elsewhere and seeing/doing other things
#4 chapeakee has been a member since 28/8/2012. Posts: 7
"if I went to Vang Vieng at that time of year would I be the only one there?"
No it's one of the busiest times of the year, and usually some of the best weather (cool nights, clear sunny days, not too hot). Just make sure where you stay has decent blankets. If you're going there just for the tubing scene though, note there has been a lot of talk about shutting it down or at least scaling it way back. Still plenty of other things to do like mountain biking, kayaking, caving, etc. and the local scenery is spectacular.
I was going to go to vang vieng just for the tubing. For the other stuff isn't it better in luang prabang or in Chiangmai, Thailand? Again if I had more time I would want to see all the villages, but with the time I have I can only see the highlights. Sad to here they may be scaling back or even possibly shutting it down. I may just skip Laos altogether and save money on visas and flights. If they do shut the tubing down, what would you say is the best place to go in Laos (especially things that you can't do elsewhere) if you love nature but only have a few days. I heard a major part of the lore of Laos is the slow pace and can only really be appreciated with an extended stay (which I just cant do )
Thanks for the help
#6 chapeakee has been a member since 28/8/2012. Posts: 7
I was in Laos last november/december, there were plenty of people there during that time (though a bit quieter in late december as a lot of the tubing/partying crowd seemed to head down to thailand) and the weather was very pleasant, not really hot but warm enough (and to be fair if you're down on the river chances are you'll be warmed up by the free lao-lao). I'd recommend luang prabang over Vientiane, a lot more tourists but also much more to do, a bunch of us went to spend a couple of days and stayed for a week quite happily. The south of laos is quite nice too but does take some time. Do keep in mind travelling by bus between Vientiane-VV-LP takes much longer than you'd expect given the distances, so if you're in a hurry flying into LP is probably your best bet. From experience I can recommend the train from bangkok to vientiane as an enjoyable non-stressful way to get into laos. If the tubing scene hasn't been shut down and you like a good party I wouldn't miss VV, there is great vscenery and some cool caves/lagoons a shortish bike ride out of town too so more than just drinking as well.
#7 tjm has been a member since 26/9/2011. Posts: 2