I'm a old newie, wanting a bit of advice. I have spent too much time browsing this site- but it is fantastic and I'm very impressed by all the effort Somtam puts into it.
Am joing a cycle tour Luang Prabang-Hanoi from Jan 12, (which includes a day or 2 in LPQ and a visit to Kuang Si) and have 5 days prior to play around with. (was going to spend a day in Ayutthaya, and then train to Nong Khai but it started to look like a lots of travel for a little sightseeing. Maybe foolish to not work that out earlier, but have now cancelled that and am now flying direct to Vientiane)
Is allowing for 4 days there, and a similar amount of time in LPQ a reasonable balance?
I think i'm a slow traveller, happy to walk, cycle, eat, and so on. Vang Vieng doesn't appeal to me.
Any particular suggestions for activities?
#1 madford65 has been a member since 5/1/2013. Posts: 5
4 days in Vientiane might be a bit too much. 2-3 is fine. Why does VV not appeal to you. The landscape is impressive and there is heaps to do. If you are worried about the party town atmosphere, don't be. That is gone and the place is much quieter. I just drove back on friday after spending 2 days there.
4 day in LP is OK, but you can easily spend more time there. It is a nice place to relax and take a breath in the usually very busy asia.
Don't expect too much of the Kung Si waterfals and all others. Imho this is something more focused to asian tourists. But you can do alot of nice hiking tours or boat tours on the Mekong. One of the most impressive sights for me was the boatride from Chiang Khong to LP.
So you will need one day for the temples, another day for the other sights and you have one or two days for doing some hiking. I spent 7 days there and never felt bored. I had some nice conversations on the food market with locals, got to know alot of friendly travellers, trained some french and had some delicious food especially in elephant restaurant.
Since you will start with a long bike tour, I guess you want to take it easy, what you can easily do and the riverside.
I would not cut out VV, since you have to pass it anyway if going by bus. Cut out some time in Vientaine and therefore spend 1 or 2 days in VV on your way to LP.
go to hobomaps.com & look at all the VTE, VV & LPB maps, especially the ones covering the surrounding areas away from the town centre & the bicycle symbols - will give you some ideas for exploring these places leisurely by bicycle. slow is the best speed to see & enjoy Laos :)
Horses for courses. I like Vientiane, 4 days certainly wouldn't bore me. There's always plenty to do and see in a capital city - especially if you're into everyday life rather than the highlights package. LP was fine, beautiful but very twee.
thanks for all those ideas-I ended up doing a lot of bike riding around VTE. and then flew to LPQ- can see why some say twee- the locals seem a but tired, But it is lovely. Did the Tamnak cooking course- learned a few things, but don't need to eat for a while.
#8 madford65 has been a member since 5/1/2013. Posts: 5
If you are afraid about the affair boondocks atmosphere, don't be. That is gone and the abode is abundant quieter. I just collection aback on Friday afterwards spending 2 canicule there.
#9 mariajames has been a member since 29/9/2012. Posts: 57
Vientiane is a 2 nighter, yes you can explore via a moped, but on a bike would be tad hot and hectic IMO, besides the antique areas and beer gardens, its just a nice city with a few gems, but nothing endearing, thats is for sure.
#10 SoloHobo has been a member since 12/1/2013. Posts: 10
I'd encourage you to spend one night in vv, just because the bus trip is one of the most beautiful I've ever been on, and it would be a shame if it were cloudy on your travel day. Breaking the trip into 2 days allows you to enjoy it, and vv really is in a beautiful location.
Other than that, I would also weight the rest of your you're in favor of lp.
#11 ocohen has been a member since 19/8/2010. Posts: 7
Yes, ask most of the people who criticise it what they have seen and the say, "well, the Morning Market", or "I walked around town a bit", or they say nothing at all like the poster a few posts above. They don't know the place at all. Perhaps the are the remnants of the Vang Vieng backpacking crowd who just come to Lao to get wasted.
You are right Rufus. One thing which is very fascinating there, elements of French culture are still alive, primarily in the form of language and food to some extent. I do not think French could make much dent on the existing religious composition of Laos, which stays primarily Buddhist. Correct me If I am wrong.
#15 expatInsurance has been a member since 10/1/2013. Posts: 10
Vang Vieng is still worth a stay of 2 - 3 days at least, despite (or because of) the death of those crazy river party scenes. you still can do the river tubing which is now a lot quieter, and the focus is really on the river and the mountain scenery. also, activities like caving, hiking, rock climbing etc. are never on the short here. unless you are really pressed for time, do not bypass VV.