I have read many posts on this website and they have been absolutely fasinating to say the least. What a great site.
Anyway my questions are related to travelling across Laos in late September/early October from Huay Xai and entering Veitnam by flying into Hanoi (the options by land appear to time consuming and I don't want to spend endless hours on the bus).
The itinerary for the 4 of us is currently shaping up like this;
1. Travel to Muang Sing stay o/n and following day head to Muang Khua.
2. Stay o/n at Muang Khua,then catch boat down to Nong Kiaow and Muang Ngoi. Stay 3 days.
3. Travel by River to LP and spend 2 days here.
4. Fly from LP to Hanoi.
I guess the first questions is the practicality of doing the trip in its current form (am I trying to cover to much area)?
Secondly, any recommendations for must see things around LP would be appreciated.
#1 brutus123 has been a member since 9/6/2009. Posts: 4
On the Vietnam Forum you asked about travelling overland from Muang Khua to DBP, and then Sapa.
Here, you are asking for different advice. Mmmm!!!
The trip from Muang Khua to Hanoi via DBP & SaPa is 2 days and 1 night.
The trip from Muang Khua to Luang Prabang via the Nam Ou is 2 days. You have to stay at (either) Nong Kiaow or Muang Ngoi overnight. Then, an overnight before taking the (expensive) flight to Hanoi. So, time is the same, but much more cost.
That is not to say don't do this. Rather, that there appears more research needed by you before you have a workable plan.
For example, there is no direct (in one day) connection between Muang Sing and Munag Kua. You'll have to stay overnight at Luang Nam Tha (from Muang Sing) before taking the early bus to OudomXai, and then the just after lunch bus (if I recall correctly) to Muang Khau.
Hope this helps.
Yes, your comments and advice are very much appreciated. This area of Asia is new to me and trying to work an itinerary for 4 is a bit of a challenge.
Anyway, it is still a work in progress and there is so much that I find interesting.
As you indicate, I am still working out an itinerary and seeking advice. Following your comments on Route 12 near DBP, I thought that as an alternative it might be good to spend more time in Laos (do the trip down the Nam Ou and exclude the Sapa component.
What would be the best route (most scenic and culturally interesting) to follow in your opinion?
#3 brutus123 has been a member since 9/6/2009. Posts: 4
Huay Xai - Muang Sing :
will need to depart on first (~9am) bus out of Huay Xai in order to reach Luang Namtha (3.5+h ride) in time to get a songthaew to Muang Sing (2h ride).
Muang Sing- Muang Khua :
1. morning songthaew (2h ride) to Luang Namtha in order to catch afternoon bus (~4h ride) to Oudomxay, next morning bus to Muang Khua (~3h ride)
or 2. catch later transport to Luang Namtha & overnight there, next morning first bus to Oudomxay, then afternoon bus to Muang Khua.
bear in mind that if you want to have a proper seat on transport in Laos, it's best to be at the bus station ~1h before actual departure time. also need to factor in time for getting a tuktuk to the bus station (some way out of town in Huay Xai & LNT).
so you're either going to enjoy sunset & sunrise & not much else in Muang Sing, & an afternoon in Muang Khua...or see more of Muang Sing but only sunset & sunrise & not much else in Muang Khua...
sights in LPB - what are your interests?
As I indicated on the Vietnam site...
The Huay Xai - Nam Tha road is good (built by the Chinese to cart consumption goods to Thailand) but the buses drop you about 10k from the Nam Tha township (and they DO have a lend of your wallet to get you to town). I stayed at Zuela GH in Nam Tha: opposite the night market where Lao food offering's were great [the cafe's serve Chinese food].
The Muang Sing road is very scenic. I hired a 100cc motorbike in Nam Tha and did it. I suggest you'll need a motorbike in Muang Sing anyway, so you might think of hiring for that trip. Adima GH near MS is worthy (and close to ethnic villages).
The road from Nam Tha to OudomXai is about 4 hours, but after Na Toei is very very slow. They have a VIP bus, but they aren't well aircon'd so I'd steer clear. There are many GH in OudomXai, but I just travelled thru to LP.
I didn't do the OudomXai to Muang Khua journey - choosing the boat along the Nam Ou from LP instead. In Muang Khua there's really only one GH worthy, its the Keophila Guesthouse. For me, the other's didn't cut it.
I wrote that to alert you to some aspects in Laos. Take note of the motorbike hire. I suggest that with 2 on a bike, you'd all have fun, be independent, and it would allow you to see parts that a hired vehicle wouldn't take you to (and would probably work out cheaper).
I did the bus from Nam Tha to LP. But, it's a long long day.
There is another route. You can take a bus from Nam Tha to OudomXai, then another to Nong Khiaw. You'd stay the night at Nong Khiaw (or go upriver on a boat - 1 hour - to Muang Ngoi Neua). You can then take a boat on the Nam Ou to Luang Prabang . The boat to LP leaves Nong Khiaw. So, if you stayed at Muang Ngoi you'd have to get the early boat back to Nong Khiaw (the boats between these two towns run about hourly). The ride down the Nam Ou from Nong Khiaw to Luang Prabang is scenic, and does the last 1 hour on the Mekong River.
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Changing the subject a bit. From Huay Xai, I went and did the Gibbon Experience. Go check out my comments (and the vids) at...
You might want to entertain for your trip - you will pass right by anyway.
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Hope this helps.