I am travelling from SaPa to Chiang Mai via Luang Prabang next month. I have about 9 days to make the journey (including spending 3-4 days in Luang Prabang) and am considering 2 different options and would like your thoughts on which of these would be best? Or if there is another route you would recommend?
Option 1 - Train from SaPa to Hanoi - fly to Luang Prabang - slow boat to Huay Xai - side trip to Nam Ha NP - bus to Chiang Mai
Option 2 - Bus from SaPa to Dien Bien Phu - bus to Muang Khua - boat to Nong Khiaw - boat to Luang Prabang - fly to Chiang Mai
Option 1 was my original plan but I will have already been to Hanoi before SaPa and am not keen on going back on myself so thought if I could overland from SaPa into Laos it would make a more interesting journey. If I travelled this way I would want to spend a couple of days in Nong Khiaw but would then have to miss out Nam Ha NP and the slow boat on the Mekong due to time. But is the boat trip down the Nam Ou and trekking around Nong Khiaw just as good? And are the buses and boats in my option 2 route reliable as it seems to be less travelled?
Also, I'll be leaving SaPa on 11th/12th Feb, just after the New Year. Will this affect my travel plans at all?
Thanks in advance for any advice!
#1 laydeesian has been a member since 28/1/2013. Posts: 2
I'd definitely recommend #2
The boat trip from Muang Khua to Nong Khiaw is great. You can also trek from Muang Khua, though low numbers and fairly "informal".
Some further reading:
Trekking from NK
Trekking from LNT (in Nam Ha, this is from a couple of years ago)
Wouldn't expect New Year to be an issue.