Thanks for the forum, its great at helped us a lot on our journey!
At the moment we are in Ho Chi Minh and are moving up to Hanoi , and seeing the coast of Vietnam.
In Laos we want to see the Kong Lo Cave, then go tubing and seeing some more caves in Vang Vieng and end up in Luang Prabang where we will take the bus to Kunming, China and then go to Guangzhou by train.
But how do we go from Hanoi to Kong Lo Cave? Or as close as posible?
Thanks in advance
#1 Noes has been a member since 25/5/2014. Posts: 4
Yeah, massive trip that one. Many many options. The best one will be to do as much in Vietnam as possible and then cut across and come in through Lak Xao on the road which leads to Kong Lor.
The plan was to do it all in one trip. How long do you think it will take? When we are going to Laos we are completely done in Vietnam and only have tubing and luang prabang left after the Cave.
We just want to avoid going to Luang Prabang first, but if there is no other option then thats how it is, then we will probably go to Luang Prabang, Viang Vieng and the the Cave. And then go to Luang Prabang to take the bus to China?
What would you do, how much do you think it would cost us?
#4 Noes has been a member since 25/5/2014. Posts: 4
There are three overland entry points from Vietnam to Laos which would be possible for you to take. As Mooball said, I would think through Lak Xao would be the most sensible if you wanted to head straight to Kong Lo, but even then you would need to head back down to that crossing from Hanoi . Just to get from Hanoi to Laos I would say regardless of the boarder you take you'd be looking at at least 15-20 hours on the bus. Then transport from the boarder town to Kong Lo.
If you can spare the time, I would suggest actually getting into Laos first, through whatever border you choose. Spending the night or two in the border town and then making your way to Kong Lo.
#5 Donman1990 has been a member since 7/4/2012. Posts: 34
So what you suggest is:
Bus to Lak Xao (Lak Sao on google) - spend one night - bus to Kong Lo
- how much time does it take in total?
We dont mind a long trip, we have had trips taking 31 hours so far, and when we go from Luang Prabang to China it will take us 48 hours.
And thank you so much for the help, it is greatly apreciated :)
#6 Noes has been a member since 25/5/2014. Posts: 4
From Hanoi To Vinh, is roughly 4 hours on the train. From Vinh to Lak Xao is roughly 12 hours (I believe). I'm not sure how long it will then take you to get from Lak Xao to Kong Lo.
I've only ever personally entered Laos via Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam, into Muang Khua in Laos. I would imagine that it's not technically possible to get from Hanoi to Kong Lo in one long journey, and I would further imagine that you would have to be very lucky with your transfers to manage to do it without having to do at least one or two overnight stays in smaller towns. Personally though, I feel some of the smaller towns in Laos are beautiful and well worth spending some time in. I would always say cut some time out of perhaps Vang Vieng, and spend some more time getting to Kong Lo, and exploring the smaller towns on the way. That's mostly just my opinion though.
Hope that is somewhat helpful! I personally spent nearly a week getting from Hanoi to Luang Prabang, but loved the few nights I spent in both Dien Bien Phu and Muang Khua.
#7 Donman1990 has been a member since 7/4/2012. Posts: 34
Thanks for the input! Sounds good about the smaller cities. You people make it sound hard getting into Laos? Or am i wrong here? I thought you just went to the border, paid at an office (US$ 20, maybe) and then you were moving on?
And is Lak Xao and Lak Sao the same? Because Lak Sao is hard to see as a border city because it is so far into the country :)
#8 Noes has been a member since 25/5/2014. Posts: 4
Getting into Laos isn't hard, it's just sometimes slow actually reaching the border. Once you get to the boarder it's as simple as you suggest. In my experience at least. I believe they are the same, Lak Sao is actually pretty close to the border. Border towns though aren't usually 'on' the border as such, it's just the closest town to reach from the crossing.
This might help you out a bit more https://www.travelfish.org/border_crossings/laos
#9 Donman1990 has been a member since 7/4/2012. Posts: 34
Getting into Laos through a border open to International travellers isn't hard. But once inside Laos, overland and public transportation in less travelled areas can be difficult, especially in low season and rainy season (which has just started). Local buses go only when there is enough demand (when the bus fills) which could take days (this is not so much a problem for the well beaten path of Luang Prabang - Vang Vieng - Vientiane ). So if you are determined to do this itinerary and all overland, you need to account for extra time and pack some patience.
Yes, as mentioned above Lak Xao is the probably most sensible to get to Kong Lor. I would suggest trying to find a cheap flight to Vientiane ( Hanoi - Vientiane or I've scored very cheap flights from Hanoi to Bangkok, many carriers servicing this routeâ€¦then you can take the cheap, comfortable overnight train from Bangkok to Vientiane). From Vientiane you can get to Kong Lor, then work your way back up (Vientiane - Vang Vieng - Luang Prabang - China).
#10 SoManyMiles has been a member since 7/2/2014. Posts: 104
Are you going to see Paradise Cave near Dong Hoi in Vietnam?
If not do yourself a favour and go there, if it means skipping Konglor then it is worth it as Paradise Cave is 10 times more impressive and the scenery around there is much nicer as well. Paradise Cave is the best sight in Vietnam and one of the best sights I saw in SEA, right up there with Angkor Wat and Khao Sok Lake tour.
As for getting to Konglor. You would have to back track to Vinh and take bus and then come in through the Lak Xao(Cau Treo) border crossing heading towards Vientiane and get off at Ban Na Hin. Depending on time of day you may be able to catch a bus down to Konglor.
Seriously though Konglor was just so so, Paradise cave was easily the most magnificent and beautiful cave I have ever seen. Definitely swap the two if you only have time to do one.