Photo: Classic scenery surrounds Vang Vieng.

Laos forum

MANDALAY TO HA NOI. A GREAT ALTERNATIVE

Posted by MelbourneMuzza on 20/3/2016 at 07:44

Before you go and dive into the two day boat ride into Luang Prabang and beyond, consider this, a more interesting route

You can go from Mandalay to Pyin oo lwin by ute, a day of so there,

then onto Hsipaw, a day or so there.

Catch the train into Lashio and the next day or so Fly to Tachileik.

This is a flight as there is a dust up going under you. The flight is Sat and Mon by Golden Myanmar (An airline that thankfully, the planes operate better than their web site 1% useful, dont believe anything thats printed, worst in the world, anyhow) You must fly, you cannot go overland, the alternative is bus to Chang Mai then to Chang Rai cutting out POL and Hsipaw

The Taxi mafia are very bad here, walk outside the airport and get the 2nd or 3rd or 78th tuk tuk in line, never the first, which will take you around town dropping people off, 1000 kyet ea to the border that shuts at 20.00 Good money changers at the border, do the border stuff

tay for one night over the border in Thailand, find the "Little Bear" hotel, good value

A five minute Red tuk tuk will get you to the bus station in the morning

Bus it to Chang Rai

Next day do the tourist thing , White pagoda etc then

No later than the 0830 bus to the border, they will drop you off at the road to the "Friendship Bridge" where you can walk to the border, the sign says 5kms but its half that

the border you stamp out of thailand and a $1 busride over the bridge into Laos

The border there is ODD, pay your $35USD and other penalties and wait an hour where bedlam erupts when they may pass out 20 passports from behind the glass

Change your mind about the 2 day boat ride, that comes later from Luang Prabang

The tuk tuk will take you to the friendly bus station where at 12.30,

the bus leaves for Luang Namtha, The bus arrives at a bad bus station, 11 kms outside of town

A night or two there and on the road again,

Go to the bus station and go by public bus to Luang prabang. The mini bus arrives the same time and that is stuffed most of the time and not good value. The scenery here is superb.

You arrive Luang Prabang in time to go to the Vietnamese embassy for your visa.

The Tuk tuk to tourist office in town costs 10,000 max each. Do not hand over the money first

Spend a good time in Luang Prabang go south if you want to go to Vientiane etc, however

As the river OU has been dammed, the boats cannot leave from LP

Catch the bus to Nong Khiaw, 4 hours. Tuk Tuk to the bridge to the cheap accommodation, they may drive you into the Accom place that gives them a kick back so go out and find your own

After a night or two get the boat up river to Muang Ngoy, 2 hours, great scenery

Stay at Muang Ngoy and have a good walkabout, you might want to stay three or so nights here

When its time, get on a boat to Muang Khua, 6 hours away for the best scenery on the best boat ride. Sometimes if the river is too low they will have to have less people in the boats so they don't bottom out, this may cost you a surcharge, but it is rare

In Muang Khua, you will meet Bounma, a fantastic, humble individual that runs the local tourist office. He will point you into the real Lao villages, absolutely authentic, My only recommendation in this whole trip. 58021794. Tel. He is the best

When you finally leave, you get put on a bus that will take you to a friendly border of Lao and Vietnam,

As you descend into Diem Biem Phu, these are the hills that Gen Vo Giap carried cannons up to defeat the french, the hills are spectacular

As you go into town, you are at where the French actually were defending (Grimly)

The bus station here is opposite some good cheap accommodation, its the nosiest place on earth but is good value and good local food. Use the back rooms , never the front ones

When its time to go on, the bus station over road will take you onto Lai Chau

Watch how you spend and watch your change and watch the cost of items if you choose to stay here, its a grubby little place but breaks up the Journey. A taxi is $5 or $6 to the only place half cheap, Go outside, ignore the taxi and get a bike at 2/3 the price The taxi will rip into you as will the hotel (110,000 dong)

Buy your green tea and get on the bus to Sapa, you will arrive at 3 or 4

After Sapa, get the overnight sleeping bus, the one that drops you in town, not the bus station. You will arrive at 0430 where you will meet very healthy taxi drivers, you are only a 15 minute walk into the old town from here so walk, Watch out for this mob

#1 MelbourneMuzza has been a member since 19/3/2016. Posts: 8


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