Has anyone done this trip?
We will be spending quite a bit of time on the bus between Vang Vieng and Pakse, and would like to make this leg via boat.
Green Discovery Laos quoted me $190 dollars for a 12 person boat, but we don't need anything nearly that size (traveling with 2-3 people). They said the journey takes 5-6 hours, which is fine, but we don't want to pay nearly that much.
If I just show up at the Champasak peir and organize one myself will I be riding on some semi floating monstrosity that takes 12 hours? Will I only be able to find similarly priced rides?
Any information on this leg of our journey would be very appreciated.
#1 angfonz has been a member since 7/7/2009. Posts: 36
At Christmastime I was informed that there was no longer any boat service (public boat) to either Champasak or Don Dhet. The only way to get there by boat is to charter one, and the price was, as mentioned, about $200. That is for the boat, not per person, and in some cases only if there was a fare to bring back so the boat is not making an empty return journey.
You can charter one yourself and avoid the middleman, or you could have someone else arrange it. Probably easier to have someone at Tourist Information, or a hotel owner sort things out for you.
We are taking the night sleeper bus from Vientiane to Pakse, so its basically costing nothing if you consider we'd have had to sleep somewhere else. 100+ dollars for a 35 minute flight is too rich for my blood, and we are already getting slammed with non-budget airline prices into Luang Prabang.
200 bucks seems outrageous though. I could buy a boat for that much money.
#4 angfonz has been a member since 7/7/2009. Posts: 36
With the improved roads, and the cost of fuel, the boats are dying off and are only available now for people who are willing to pay for them. They've become a tourist attraction.
If you can get 8-10 people, it would be worth it. The trip is gorgeous and much more interesting than going in a over-crowded mini-van or songthaew.
Mind, some of the boats that get used are far from structurally or mechanically sound. Most are long-tailed boats with ratty tarp awnings and uncomfortable seats. Still, compared to some of the pick-ups that go between Pakse and Don Dhet ...
Maybe you SHOULD buy a boat and get the route happening again. I'm sure it would pay for itself in no time.