Photo: Classic scenery surrounds Vang Vieng.

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3 weeks in laos - which route to take?

Posted by grishgori on 4/5/2013 at 06:04

So i'm landing in luang prabang in mid-september and staying in Northern Laos till almost mid october for 3 weeks
I've got a route planned out and an alternative and I would like to be advised which would suit better

Original Route :
1 day ride to Luang Namtha
5 days for NPA and Muang Sing villages
1 day ride back to Luang Prabang
4 days in Luang Prabang
4 days in Nong Khiaw\Muang Ngoi
1 day ride to Vang Vieng
3-4 days in Vang Vieng
Final day in Vientiane

Alternative :
Same thing exactly , only the week I gave to LN and the rides to and out of it will be divided by LP\NK\MN for more time to explore villages and caves around them

Which would be better?

#1 grishgori has been a member since 4/5/2013. Posts: 9

Posted by Geer1 on 4/5/2013 at 09:58

If I am understanding this correctly you are asking if Luang Namtha is worth going to.

I personally did not go but talked to people that did. Most thought it was ok but nothing great. One thing to know about Luang Namtha as well as Nong Khiaw and pretty much Laos in general is that if you plan on going on trekking tours etc you are going to have to pay a pretty penny for them(probably worst value for tours in south east asia) and prices have sky rocketed making most of what you see online for info obsolete. It is also somewhat difficult to explore some places on your own so if you are cheap might end up not doing/seeing a whole lot. 5 days in Luang Namtha might be stretching it a bit as I believe most people only spend 2-3. I would go if there is something in particular you want to see otherwise I don't think you would miss it that much and you could see say Phonsavan instead.

If you are starting in Luang Prabang then to me it doesn't make that much sense to be going back and forth to Luang Namtha and Nong Khiaw. If anything I would go to Luang Namtha then take an afternoon bus to Oudomxay check it out in the evening and then head over to Nong Khiaw from there the next morning. At least you aren't back tracking like crazy this way. 4 days in Nong Khiaw/ Muang Ngoi is decent I would think.

Then you can head down to Luang Prabang and check it out when finished at Muang Ngoi, this makes more sense because you can't get from Muang Ngoi to Vang Vieng in one day. The boat ride from Muang Ngoi to Luang Prabang I think would have great scenery(it does from Muang Ngoi to Nong Khiaw) so might want to consider it even though it costs more.

Another option which I was going to do before I got sick(ended up being Dengue fever...). If you decide to see Phonsavan instead of Luang Namtha and want to check out a little more of the route less travelled then from Nong Khiaw you could head east then down to Phonsavan instead of backtracking through Luang Prabang, if you google Nong Khiaw to Phonsavan can find some info on this. Or instead could go all the way to Sam Neua, check out Viengxay caves then head down to Phonsavan from there.

#2 Geer1 has been a member since 14/9/2012. Posts: 540
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Posted by grishgori on 4/5/2013 at 11:09

Actually what I meant was that I do want to see Luang Namtha but since I have a limited amount of time(which sadly can not be extended) would it better to drop it which would clear 5 days + 2 days full of bus rides to fill - Luang Prabang + Nong Khiaw + Muang Ngoi for a more relaxed extended stay

#3 grishgori has been a member since 4/5/2013. Posts: 9

Posted by Geer1 on 4/5/2013 at 11:33

Yeah so in that case I would just shorten Luang Namtha to 3 maybe 4 days, then scoot over to Oudomxay then Nong Khiaw. Up the river to Muang Ngoi and then down to Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng etc. Travel makes more sense this way as you aren't back tracking near as much.

#4 Geer1 has been a member since 14/9/2012. Posts: 540
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Posted by grishgori on 5/5/2013 at 13:52

I guess that's exactly what i'll do , thanks for the help !

#5 grishgori has been a member since 4/5/2013. Posts: 9

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