I was wondering could you help me, I'm arriving in Vientiane on the 9th of Nov 2007 and I have to be back in Udon Thani in Thailand on the 19th of Nov, so basically I have 8 days really in Loas and I was wondering if anyone has any advice on what to do.
I've heard there is a good 3 day boat trip in Loas but not sure where that is from? I also heard that there is a trip that you float down a river in a tube and there are bars along the way that pull you in for a drink, again I don't know where these are? Any help on this would be great, and any other suggestions would also be appreciated.
Thanks in advance,
#1 liamjobrien has been a member since 1/11/2007. Posts: 5
Travelfish is such a fantastic resource - so much information available absolutely free - I'm sure if you take the time to explore the Laos section, or the trip reports from other travellers, you will find the answers to all your questions.
'Seek and ye will find'
#2 marianwarren has been a member since 12/3/2006. Posts: 270
marian is spot on about visiting the trip reports and laos sections on the website for all the info and suggestions you'll need. be sure to visit the features section as well for good articles about laos.
with the 8 or 9 days you have, i might choose to fly from vientiane to luang prabang, then spend the bulk of the time in LP. most folks i know think the place is kind of magic, and there is heaps to do in and around the city as well.
after that, i'd catch the VIP bus back down to vientiane, with at least an overnight stop in vang vieng to get a flavor or a real wild west boom town. i believe that is your river rafting/bar hopping venue.
after that, enjoy the last few days in vientiane, or, if you haven't yet, consider exploring nong khai and si chiang mai, on the thai side of the river, before heading back to udon.
in any case, the time you have is enough to do those places justice. have a great time.
Hi thanks for your comments guys, I've been doing a bit of research since I posted the last comment and I've figured out what I want to do and where they are, but I was wondering could you tell me if this is a realistic plan! Keeping in mind that I arrive in Vientiane in the afternoon on the 9th and have to be back in Vientiane on the 18th, because I have to go to Udon Thani for the 19th.
These are the things that I would REALLY like to see,
Pak Ou Caves and Tat Kuang Si waterfalls (1 day tour)
Tubing along the Nam Song river
I'd also like to get a slow boat from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang at least one way but if I can't then thats ok.
Do you think that I can do all this in the time frame? I don't mind paying the extra for flights.
#4 liamjobrien has been a member since 1/11/2007. Posts: 5
The gibbon X needs to be booked ahead so I would get onto that straight away.
#5 marianwarren has been a member since 12/3/2006. Posts: 270
Do yourself a favour and give Vang Vieng a miss unless you like seeing tourists eating crap food and watching re runs of friends, ("wild west boom town???" Hardly!) Go to Xieng Kuan, the Plain of Jars instead and see some real Laos. LP is fascinating as is Pakse.
Rufus obviously isn't a Vang Vieng fan, but I like it there and am going to stick to my "wild west" comment. Plus, if you want to go tubing on the river as you mentioned, this is the place.
However, Rufus made an excellent suggestion about the option of Xieng Kwang and the Plain of Jars as a serious alternative and a chance to see a bit of the real Laos. There is a feature article about the Plain of Jars on the website too that may be worth a look for you.
If you wanted to visit the Plain of Jars, you'd need to fly there directly from either Vientiane or Luang Prabang. You could fly LP to Xieng Kwang to VTE or alternatively VTE to Xieng Kwang to LP, then catch the bus heading south through Vang Vieng and back to Vientiane. The hard part is that this starts to look like too much to pack into the time you have available.
Flying from Vientiane to Luang Prabang is easy and not particularly expensive, but I'm not sure what your best option would be to get to Huai Xai from Luang Prabang. Once was there were Lao Airways flights, but I don't think the route is flown anymore, and once again, that starts to look like too much to pack into the time you have available.
Be sure to let us know what you do decide to do and how it works out. We'd love to see a write-up in the trip reports sections. Cheers.
I just returned from a week in Laos starting in Chiang Mai and taking a VIP van to the border to board the slow boat down the Mekong from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang. The scenery is gorgeous but the slow boat is quite uncomfortable...visualize 8inch wooden benches. The agents will tell you it is a five hour trip from Huay Xai to Pakbeng but it is at least 6 hours the first day. You stay overnight in Pakbeng, a small village that uses generators for electricity from 6-10pm so don't expect hot water but we did have yummy buffalo steaks at the Sivilay Restaurant. The second day is a 9 hour day from Pakbeng to Luang Prabang. Definitely purchase a cushion at the guesthouses. It is possible to do the slow boat in reverse but it will take a bit longer due to travel upstream.
Luang Prabang is fantastic with lots of guesthouses and french colonial buildings. I stayed at Villa Suan Maak which is a 10 min walk to the night market. The guesthouse does take reservations and the owner speaks english well. My bed was a bit uncomfortable (sagging) but it was very clean. There are new guesthouses springing up everywhere so it pays to look around.
Enjoy your travels in Laos!
#8 andreahkg has been a member since 5/11/2007. Posts: 8
For your easy trip, I would like to recommend you stay in Vientiane for 2 nights make a trip aroudn the city. After that trip to Vang Vieng spend the time there for 1 or 2 night(s). Then forward to Luang Prabang for 2-3 nights. From Luang Prabang, you can take a boat trip to Huay Sai by slow boat take 2 days 1 night. The overnight is at Pak-beng. As the other mention about the seat but if you are lucky you will get the boat with comfortable seat as the bus in Bangkok. Then you can cross the border to Chiang Khong (the small city in Chiang Rai province, Thailand). From there you can take van to Chiang Mai over there. There are a bus company will take you from Chiang Mai to Udon-Thani. Edited: No private email solicitations please.
#9 aquar has been a member since 24/6/2006. Posts: 4
I'm sitting writing this in Vang Vieng; it's true that it isn't for everyone, but don't let the travel snobs put you off the place. It is not culturally Laos, but it is a great place to relax and enjoy scenery, beer, activities and meeting people. The tubing is a great experience. Holidays are about having fun as well as getting cultural; enjoy yourself.
#10 pauljaymes has been a member since 10/7/2006. Posts: 75
Paul, I hope you are enjoying the interminable re runs of "Friends", and the awful food, designed solely for falang. Oh well, each to his own. By the way, what is the opposite of "travel snob"? Travel bum?
Just reading your comments about Vang Vieng - the Plain of Jars and Pakse are probably more interesting than Vang Vieng (I especially loved Plain of Jars as Phonsavan is such an odd little town - very wild westish - i could almost imagine the tumbleweed blowing through the street), but I don't think you should right Vang Vieng off - yeah its full of annoying bars playing re-runs of Friends all day, but its easy to avoid this by hiring a bike for the day or even just walking for about 15 minutes!! Surely you can see the beauty of the place - it really is stunning!!
When I last went there I just stayed a bit out of town and hired a bike for a couple of days and saw some amazing scenery and some really friendly locals! It was one of my favourite destinations. My advice is go to Vang Vieng, but if Friends bars and hanging out in a town with mostly farangs isnt your thing, just hire a bike or do some trekking and get out to see the surrounding scenery!!
and whats this with the travel snobs and travel bums - surely we're all in this for the same reason - to see the world, have fun, learn about local cultures etc. Surely we shouldn't be judging each other in such a harsh way. There is no right or wrong way of travelling - each to their own I say!!!!
#12 rocketgirl has been a member since 1/10/2007. Posts: 22
Rocketgirl, I think you forgot that I live here. I have been to VV a number of times and "yes" the karst landscapes are interesting. I don't like the atmosphere or the spaced out tourists at all though and this harms the country I have now chsen to call my own. However I do object to being called a travel snob. Living in Laos you can hardly be a snob of anything, lol.
2. a person who believes himself or herself an expert or connoisseur in a given field and is condescending toward or disdainful of those who hold other opinions or have different tastes regarding this field...
Flame away Rufus, but it seems pretty clear cut to me. Why not live and let live? The local folk in Vang Vieng do very well out of the falang scene... I don't think they'd agree with your definition of 'harm'. What right have you to dictate to them, and the rest of us, how we should live or spend our free time?
Hopefully the friends thing will die soon anyway; I noticed last night that the friends bars are far from being the most popular in town....
#14 pauljaymes has been a member since 10/7/2006. Posts: 75
Only looking for 1 nite in VV, any accommodation suggestions for 3 40yo's that want to go tubing & jumping from bars, have a few quiet drinks & not watch 'Friends'? We're young at heart but will need to rest our oldish bones @ nite! And have Rufus & Pauljaymes stopped bitch slapping each other?!!
#15 shelld has been a member since 23/12/2007. Posts: 16
One thing no one could argue with is that Vang Vien probably has the best value in accommmodation in Laos. There are supposed to be around 90 places to stay by now, don't know how you'd count them, like trying to hit a moving target. I stayed in VV twice last time in Laos and both times I just walked into the first place I came to and thought it was great. Hot water, clean, quiet, cheap. I got dropped off at the other end of town the other night I stayed there, same deal. I'd say just go.
There is good Lao food there too. Where the two main roads form a T there's a place called (I think) Viengchampa that has a mostly Lao clientel. OK rich Lao on vacation from Vientiane but Lao. They play The Simsons very loud so sit outside. Good view of the street and good food.
At one time to eat in Vang Vien you had to go to the market and bring the food back to your guest house to cook it up. Some change is good. Have to admit the town isn't exactly my cup of tea, but then I avoid Luang Prabang for the same reasons.I'm old as sin but if I had my choice of tourists I'd be hard pressed to choose between Vang Veiners, and Luang Prabangers, I often find the kids less pretentious.
Down the street to the south there is also good street food in the evening. Tables set up and all the usual stuff, kao neeow, laap, various jeaos, grilled meats, best moke gai I've ever had in my life.
Carefull with that drinkin and swimmin stuff.
Many thanks for your reply. Do you think one nite will be enough? I've read loads of blogs & most people stay for a few days.
#17 shelld has been a member since 23/12/2007. Posts: 16