Photo: Classic scenery surrounds Vang Vieng.

Laos forum

New backpackers, 2 week intinerary

Posted by paulchangman on 17/6/2009 at 14:43

Hi there,

This is just my third post, but forum is incredible! So much great info on here!

Anyway, my girlfriend and I have two weeks to spend and I just drew up a rough itinerary using information from various posts on Travelfish and the Laos section of the site (as well as Lonely Planet).


The places of most interest look like Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Plain of Jars. We are also interested in doing some trekking, perhaps for 2 days or so. Where would be a good place to fit it in?

Here is what I was thinking:

July 12th - Arrive in Vientiane

July 13th-16th Explore Vientiane

July 17th - Fly to Luang Prabang

July 18th-19th Explore Luang Prabang

July 20th-Boat to Plain of Jars (is this feasable in July, with the rainy season?). Otherwise bus.

July 21st - explore Plain of Jars (stay the night)

July 22-23 This might be a good time to do a two day hike - any suggestions of where would be good to do this, around PJ?

July 24th - Bus back to VT

July 25th - fly out of VT



Alternatively, we could arrive in Luang Prabang, go to PJ, then VT and back up to LP.

Does this look doable? Are we spending too long/too little in any one place? Will we be too rushed? Should we be including other places to visit?

Thanks a lot!

#1 paulchangman has been a member since 17/6/2009. Posts: 9

Posted by BruceMoon on 17/6/2009 at 15:33

Paul

I'd suggest an alternative idea.

PoJ is interesting, and if you have time, worth the visit. However, it takes much time to get there and there's not really a lot along the way (when you are pushed for time). And, I've never heard of any tourist getting to Phonsovan by boat.

I'd keep the current itinerary, but instead take the boat trip up the Mekong & Ou rivers to Nong Khiaw &/or Muang Ngoi Neua. That area is pretty, you can go trekking, and the boat trip is scenic.

The boat goes from LP to Nong Khiaw (7 hours about), and its a further 1 hour to MNN.

Look for trekking at Muang Ngoi Neua here on Travelfish. But, also the trekking office at MNN appears OK too.

If you want, you can get a bus from Nong Khiaw to LP.

In LP, some do the elephant 'ride'.

I think this would be more relaxed.

Cheers

#2 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941


Posted by paulchangman on 17/6/2009 at 15:55

Thanks Bruce, that route looks a lot less stressful. Would you then recommend taking a bus all the way back to VT?

#3 paulchangman has been a member since 17/6/2009. Posts: 9

Posted by BruceMoon on 18/6/2009 at 07:56

Paul

Given that its a long long drive, it depends on whether you like the idea of being cooped up all day merely to see scenery.

A long long drive is part of being in Laos, and there are often great outcomes (ie. engaging with locals on the bus - +/or sometimes other western tourists).

On the other hand, flying is quick and easy.

Why don't you give yourself the option of choosing whether you'd like to take the bus by allowing that extra day at the end. If after wandering around LP area, you decide, nope, we'd rather miss the bus, we'll fly then sobeit. Alternatively, you say gee, we love the slow slow way of Lao life, lets 'adventure' on the bus then also sobeit.

Cheers

#4 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

Posted by paulchangman on 18/6/2009 at 12:57

Ok so I've made a revised itinerary.

Is it safe to assume that we'll be able to catch boats and buses whenever we want? I've read a couple accounts of people being stranded because boats don't leave if there aren't enough people. Should we be factoring in "buffer" time periods to safeguard for that? It's really important that we make it back in time to catch our flight home from VT.

Revised Itinerary

July 12th - Arrive in Vientiane

July 13th-15th Explore Vientiane

July 16th - Fly to Luang Prabang

July 17th-18th Explore Luang Prabang

July 19th - Bus ride to Nong Kiaow (2 to 4 hours).

July 20th - Boat up Nam Ou River to Muang Ngoi (1 hour).

July 21st - Go trekking/ Caving/ Chill

July 22 - Go trekking/ Caving/ Chill

July 23rd - Boat back to Nong Kiaow (1 hour). Bus back to Luang Prabang (2-4 hours)

July 24th - Fly back to Vientiane/ Bus back to Vientiane (10 hours)

July 25th - Vientiane back home

Note: The time spent in Nong Kiaow and Muang Ngoi is flexible. We can decide to go straight to Muang Ngoi (i.e. not spend a night in Nong Kiaow) or not go to Muang Ngoi at all (i.e. spend the whole time in Nong Kiaow)

Thanks again!

#5 paulchangman has been a member since 17/6/2009. Posts: 9

Posted by MADMAC on 18/6/2009 at 13:50

The only thing I would do different is head to Luang Prabang on the front end of the trip (the 13th) and explore Vientiane on the back end. That way you're not feeling pressed or worried about a bus breakdown and your final journey home won't feel quite so long.

Have a good time. Keep us posted on how it goes.

#6 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
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Posted by paulchangman on 18/6/2009 at 14:17

Ahh yeah, cause then we cut out one unnecessary leg of the journey (from VT to LP). As it stands now:

Revised Itinerary 2

July 12 - Arrive in Luang Prabang

July 13th-14th Explore Luang Prabang

July 15th - Bus ride to Nong Kiaow (2 to 4 hours). Spend day and night in Nong Kiaow.

July 16th - Boat up Nam Ou River to Muang Ngoi (1 hour).

July 17th-19th - Go trekking/ Caving/ Chill in Muang Ngoi

July 20th - Boat back to Nong Kiaow (1 hour). Bus back to Luang Prabang (2-4 hours)

July 21st - Bus to Vientiane (10 hours)

July 22nd-25th Explore Vientiane. Return home.

Note: The time spent in Nong Kiaow and Muang Ngoi is flexible. We can decide to go straight to Muang Ngoi (i.e. not spend a night in Nong Kiaow) or not go to Muang Ngoi at all (i.e. spend the whole time in Nong Kiaow)

Thanks for that, you've both been extremely helpful.

#7 paulchangman has been a member since 17/6/2009. Posts: 9


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