Ok excuse my ignorance... I have my Laos Lonely Planet on order and have done a bit of reading but want to now get some opinions... Having done 6 weeks in Thailand and Cambodia in Dec/Jan its time to head back...
I am going to do 4 weeks... approx 10 days in Laos and the rest in Thailand (didnt get enough!!).... I am just trying to work out the best route!!
I really want to do the Gibbon Experience up at Huay Xai, I am going to Chiang Mai and I really want to do the tubing for a day at Vang Vieng.... but I need a plan!! Still trying to get my head around where the border crossing are and distances/times etc....
I am thinking of the following - can someone help!!
Bangkok to Udon Thani (overnight train)... Udon Thani to Vientiane (how many days do I need in V? distance between 2?)... Vientiane - Vang Vieng (distance? One day/ 2 nights enough in VV?).... VV - Luang Prabeng (how far? how long needed in LP?).... Luang Prabeng - Huay Xui (distance again?)... HX - Chiang Mai (distance?)....
Should I skip any of these? Should I go to Plain of Jars instead or as well??
Sorry for longwinded post!!!
Hi Emjay Reet,
Here are my recommendations for Laos:
I would spend at least 3-4 days in Luang Prabang. It's the best place in Laos.
LP was designated a World Heritage Site and is small enough to walk or bicycle. A bicycle costs $1 US a day. The town is one of nicest towns I have been to so you could easily spend a few more days than planned. The town is located on the Mekong River and has traditional an French colonial influenced buildings, including approximately 50 elaborately decorated temples. The most notable is Wat Xieng Thong. Others temples you should check out is Phu Si and Wat Vixoun.
The Royal Palace Museum is worth checking out in addition to the photo exhibition at the back of the museum.
If you don't mind getting up early you should see the long line of orange robed monks walk the town for offerings every morning at 6 am.
Luang Prabang has a number of places to visit outside of town including the the Pak Ou caves and Tat Kuang Si waterfalls.
The Pak Ou Caves, on the Nam Ou River contain many images of the Buddha. At the neighbouring village a local industy is the sale of laolao (a potent rice whiskey) in bottles also containing snakes, scorpions or centipedes. They would make interesting souvenirs though I suspect you might have some difficulty getting them through customs in some countries. The caves are about 25km from Luang Prabang and can be visited on a half day trip. You can get there by boat or to a neighbouring village by road and ferried across. Travel agencies and guesthouses in Luang Prabang can arrange transport . I booked a full day tour including the Pak Ou Caves and Tat Kuang Si waterfalls for $6 US through one of the travel agents located on Thanon Khem Khong (along the Mekong River). Admission to Pak Ou Caves is 20,000 Kip (9,600 Laos KIP = $1 US)
You would be hard pressed to find a more spectacular waterfall than Tat Kuang Si. It's a great place to go for a swim in the pools at the base of the waterfalls. When you get dropped off by tuk-tuk/minivan a number of local vendors have food and refreshments for sale. After walking the trail for 100 metres there are two different compounds containing a tiger and bears which were confiscated from poachers while they were still a cub.
Tat Kuang Si is about 32km from Luang Prabang. A number of travel agencies and guesthouses in Luang Prabang can arrange transport to the Pak Ou cave in the morning and waterfall in the afternoon for around $6-8 US roundtrip. I manged to pay $6 for both. Another option is to organize a group of 6 people and share a tuk-tuk for around $2 US to the waterfall. I did this the second time I went to the waterfalls. Admission to Tat Kuang Si waterfalls is 20,000 Kip.
Philaylack Villa in Bin Wat That area (a single room fan and ensuite bathroom is $10 per night; clean guesthouse and friendly staff; very close to Joma's Bakery)
Tel: (856-71) 253-025
Joma's Bakery (best place for coffee and brekkie - ham egg bagel sandwich and Scandenavian Bakery (great sandwich's)
Tamarine (Lao food), Vegetarian Buffet near the Night Market (5,000 kip for all you can eat veggie food and 8,000 kip for a big bottle of Lao beer)
Things to do:
Spend the day at Tat Kuang waterfall
Check out the Night Market
Rent a bicycle for the day
L'Etranger (nice place to chill and read a book)
Hive Bar (nice place for a drink)
1 day of trekking and/or 1 day of mountain biking/kayaking (there is 3 comapnes located on the main strip including Green Discovery)
I would skip Phonsovan (Plain of Jars) as you will waist 2 days for travelling by bus/mini van. Also, their is much to do in Phonsovan.
It will take about 8-9 hours to get to VV.
If you want to get to the Vientiane (capital city of Laos) you will pass through VV. The one thing I did with a group of people I was travelling with was tubing along the Nam Song river. Along the way they have bars, zip lines and swings out to the river. It was a lot of fun. Spend a day or to in VV.
Vientiane is a fairly small capital city. They have a number of temples that I would recommend including Pha That Luang (one of the most important national monument in Laos),Wat Si Sisket and Haw Pha Kaew. It's abou 5,000 kip to enter each temple. Around Vientiane is a place called "Buddha Park" which is neat to see. It's a $8-10 tuk-tuk ride to get there so it's best to share one if you can. I would recommend no more than 3 days in Vientiane.
Mali Namphu Guesthouse (www.malinamphu.com)
Rooms range in price from $15-21 per night (all rooms have AC, cable TV and breakfast is included
Nice courtyard area
One of the best guesthouses I stayed at
Joma's Bakery and Scandinavian Bakery (they are very close to the guesthouse I recommended)
Nazim Indian Restaurant and Mophet Restaurant (run by the same Cambodian NGO organization that runs Friends in PP). Mophet is next to Sabidee Guesthouse.
Things to do:
Check out the 3 temples and Buddha Park
Enjoy your time in Laos!
#2 ernieh has been a member since 21/3/2007. Posts: 49
Welcome back Emjay...
Take a look at this trip planner for Laos -- it covers all your planned Laos stops and has the trip times etc towards the end of it -- you will have to read it backwards though ;-)
#4 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,798
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Thanks!! I keep meaning to jump on here and post some reviews.. did a couple the other day but its a bit slack considering I have been home 6 months....
Thanks for the tip... have been reading all the Laos stuff on here, but getting frustrated cause I dont want to spend my whole time travelling but there just seems alot to cover!!
PS The site is looking great.. had an update since last here! xx
We just visited Luang Prabang. I would spend 5 days there. Two is just not enough, and you would only be cheating yourself. We spent 7 and enjoyed every minute.
#7 redmatt has been a member since 30/6/2007. Posts: 2
Chiang Khong city after 7 hrs. from Chiang Mai by bus.Just walking from the bus stop 400 metre at ESSO to the way to sobsom temple (Wat Sobsom) in Chiang Khong. You will find guest house near this temple 3 G.H. along Mekong river and then take a rest before you will continue your trip in Laos, China, Vientnam, Cambodia
1. to Luang Prabang by boat
2. to Lung Namtha by road
3. to China by road
4. to vietnam by road
5. to combodia by road and then by airplane at Luang Prabang
Chiang Khong is a city of gateway to indochina(Lao,china,vietnam, Combodia)
We have update information for you here at Baanrimtaling at Chiang Khong, in French and English
#8 maleewan_th has been a member since 13/5/2007. Posts: 7