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Laos forum

Luang Prabang/Vieng Xai/Vientiane Route - advice pls

Posted by MariaGrazia on 28/10/2018 at 02:22

Hi all - we have travelled extensively through S-E Asia over many years but are total newbies at Laos travel. Hence starting my planning now for April 2019. We are flying in to Luang Prabang and out of Vientiane. Am interested in doing a loop from L.P. to Vieng Xai and then on to Vientiane. We are in the country for two weeks and happy to take it easy. Can folk recommend places to stop on this loop am thinking one or two nights in each place. All expertise welcome!

#1 MariaGrazia has been a member since 25/1/2016. Posts: 2

Posted by SoManyMiles on 28/10/2018 at 23:42 TF writer

Hi MariaGrazia,
To loop from Luang Prabang to Vieng Xai and Vientiane , the route would be: Luang Prabang - Nong Kiaow - Sam Neua - Vieng Xai - Phonsavan - Vientiane. It is in theory possible to do this in two weeks, however, the itinerary is intense. Assuming you will be relying on local transport, getting from Point A to Point B can take up the whole day so for the most part, day you are travelling are a write off.

Below is an idea of what the itinerary could look like. A few notes:
-To take it easy, you may want to drop one destination and/or spend as little as possible in Vientiane. Instead of a full day in Vientiane, allot it elsewhere. I like Vientiane but other parts on the itinerary are more special and scenic.
-If you are interested in nature, I recommend the Nam Nern night safari which breaks up the journey between Nong Kiaow and Sam Neua. April is a good time for wildlife spotting on the safari as the river is low and slow.
-Keep in mind that April 14-16 is Pi Mai, Lao new year. Not only is everything shut during the holiday, the party starts in the days leading up to it. Pi Mai is an exciting, fun, memorable time to be in Laos but not ideal for tightly packed itineraries. Plan accordingly.
-My update on Vieng Xai and the Nam Nern night safari will be published on Travelfish soon. Nong Kiaow, Sam Neua and Phonsavan research already on the site are also from this year.

Day 1: arrive Luang Prabang
Day 2: Luang Prabang
Day 3: Luang Prabang
Day 4: bus Luang Prabang to Nong Kiaow
Day 5: Nong Kiaow
Day 6: bus Nong Kiaow to Muang Hiam
Day 7: Nam Nern night safari
Day 8: Nam Nern night safari finishes, bus to Sam Neua
Day 9: Day trip to Vieng Xai cave
Day 10: bus to Phonsavan
Day 11: Plain of Jars
Day 12: Bus to Vientiane
Day 13: Vientiane
Day 14: fly out

Hope this helps!

#2 SoManyMiles has been a member since 7/2/2014. Posts: 147

Posted by MariaGrazia on 29/10/2018 at 04:45

Thank you for such a comprehensive response! Really helpful. Can I ask - is it possible to get private or semi- private transport between these locations?

#3 MariaGrazia has been a member since 25/1/2016. Posts: 2

Posted by SoManyMiles on 30/10/2018 at 22:12 TF writer

It's relatively easy to hire a private van and driver for Luang Prabang to Nong Kiaow. There's also flights from Phonsavan (Xieng Khouang) to Vientiane, which would save a day of bus travel.

In order to have private transport for the entire loop though, you'd likely have to join a public tour or have a private one organised for you, which will be quite pricey. The Nam Nern Night Safari website gives you an idea of some of the companies and offerings: http://www.namet.org/wp/getting-there/

#4 SoManyMiles has been a member since 7/2/2014. Posts: 147

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