Just need some advice on whether it is possible to travel straight from vang vieng to the 4000 islands, or is it advised to get a bus to ventienne and go from there? Thanks!!
#1 kbabin has been a member since 9/4/2013. Posts: 10
And such a fun journey it would be too. Nice bus ride, travelling like a "local". Beautiful scenery...
#3 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Thanks yeah we thought of that as our first option but we have seen around town a combo of a sleeper bus, normal bus and then boat to get straight to 4000 islands- prices between 250,000 and 270,000. Has anyone done this or could recommend which option is better?
#4 kbabin has been a member since 9/4/2013. Posts: 10
I would be skeptical of something advertised as "straight to 4000 islands" from V V. Many accounts of people getting dropped off nowhere or having to pay again for these oh so convenient "combined" tickets. Try it and hope it works but personally I'm more inclined to do as the locals for transport (or just drive myself).
The leg is too long if you are not flying. You have to break it up or it will suck more than I can describe.
#6 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
The one thing that would probably be handy though is that Vientiane has multiple bus stations and the bus from Vang Vieng probably doesn't drop you off where you can get on a bus to Pakse.
The problem with doing this all in one go is that it is going to be like 15 or 16 hours bus time plus likely waiting time in Vientiane and Pakse.
If you are in somewhat of a hurry I would advise taking a morning bus to Vientiane, just rest around a bit and then take a night bus to Pakse. That way it is broken up a bit and you can make sure you get a decent vip night bus instead of getting stuck on some crappy one. Otherwise fly or else like Madmad says it is going to be a horrible ride that you wont enjoy.
"If you are in somewhat of a hurry..." Seriously, if you are in somewhat of a hurry, you are in the wrong country. The transportation infrastructure isn't built for getting around in a hurry. If you can't take your time getting down there, and don't have the cash to fly (Laos Air not being the cheapest airline in the SEA) then bag it and don't go. Don't do it to yourself. It's not worth it.
#8 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Thanks for the replies everyone! Definitely will break it up by getting a morning bus to the capital and then a night bus to Pakse. Definitely makes more sense and a break will be needed for sure! Thanks again!
#9 kbabin has been a member since 9/4/2013. Posts: 10
I'd stop for a day in Tha Khek and another in Savanakhet as well. Take a full day exploring the caves in Tha khek and another full day chilling out in Savanakhet. Take four days to get to Paxse and it won't be too rushed (still long bus rides, don't get me wrong).
#10 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I personally wouldn't bother with either Thakek or Savanakhet, nothing really at either place and there are many much nicer places to just hang around in. Konglor cave is kind of interesting but adds significant travel time. Best way to get there is bus directly from Vientiane but it only leaves in morning so that means an overnight in Vientiane. You can then take the same bus back to the highway and make a connection to head south after but like I say I wouldn't really bother stopping anywhere along the way to Pakse except to break the trip up(was the big reason I did it but ended up being more of a waste of time then anything imo).
Overall I wasn't really a fan of southern Laos. I found it boring with crappy food and mediocre scenery. 4000 islands is ok but if doing it again I would skip it and save the time for a decent island(unless the hippy marijuana theme is your thing then you will probably love it there).
It ends up coming down to how much time you have. If you have time to burn then yeah Konglor is probably worth a stop as it is one of the better things to see in southern Laos(although the experience probably depends on fellow travellers, I ran into some good guys there otherwise it could be rather lonely and boring as there isn't much there). If you don't have that much time stick to the bus ride to Vientiane and night bus to Pakse, you really aren't missing that much in between.
The reason you and I see this differently is I am not into nature and I am not into sights. I like meeting people, and in cities and urban areas there are people. I threw in Tha Khek because of Konglor cave of course. I wouldn't go to Paxse or 4,000 Islands at all - but that was the basis of the OPs original question.
#12 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
And you met interesting people in those places? I felt like nobody cared about my existence when I was in Laos in general and even more so in southern Laos. Really made me miss Thailand and then really enjoy Cambodia's hospitality afterwards.
The people is what made Cambodia great for me as they don't really have the best scenery/sights(have a couple good ones but on average not that much around). I took a fair bit longer getting through Laos then I planned because I wanted to give it a fair shake but it just ended up being a bit of a disappointment for me.
I'm not a huge fan either. But I find the Laos people to be just fine. Reasonably friendly and pleasant. Yes, I met a few interesting people and had some nice conversations. Different strokes for different folks.
I liked the vibe in Cambodia, but the indigenous food sucked a lot. That was a big negative. I much prefer Thai cuisine.
#14 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957