Photo: Classic scenery surrounds Vang Vieng.

Laos forum

If you had 30 days in Laos ..... (North and/or South)

Posted by dclayw on 17/9/2009 at 12:16

would you do both the north and the south? We are entering/exiting Laos via return flight KL-Vientiane so a bit of backtracking will be involved if we do both north and south.

I know the above sounds like a bit of a no-brainer question but if we miss the south are we really missing much of Laos? With all of our previous travels we have been on the move quite a lot and this time we thought we might do something different, like spending 2+ weeks in LP.

We are interested in scenery and the people (not treking as we have done that a few times in other places like Vietnam). We like to get on a bike and just ride around, will do the river trip up to Nong Kiaow/Muang Ngoi. Will spend some time in VV and I'm sure our 2 teens will enjoy that for a number of reasons. We are temple nuts but are we missing much in bypassing Champasak?

We won't be venturing much past LP either way, so places like Luang Nam Tha etc are out. Too difficult to ge to some of these places, even LP-Phonsavan is like 10 hours on a bus. So this leaves only a few places to visit for 30 days in the north.

The south seems nice and right up our alley but is it that different to the north; and considered a must see (Pakse/Bolaven Plateau/Champasak/4000 islands), especially when one has 30 days visiting the country.

Yeah I know, only I can decide, but I'd be interested in what you guys have to say anyway. By the way, one reason we are thinking of just doing the north is we are getting a bit of resistance from our 2 teens about being on the road too much.

#1 dclayw has been a member since 20/10/2008. Posts: 22

Posted by wanderingcat on 17/9/2009 at 21:39

depending on when you'll be in Laos, Pakse airport might (not) be reopened. was scheduled to reopen in early Sept, & then end Sept, & then end Oct...
if it is open by the time you're in Laos, & Lao Airlines resumes flights from Pakse to Vientiane & Luang Prabang, then this could do away with long bus journeys to get to/from Champasak.
if it isn't open yet, could consider flying between Vientiane & Savannakhet, then ~3.5-4h bus to Pakse.
check domestic schedule on, & also confirm with the airline.

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Posted by christay2009 on 21/9/2009 at 07:56

i asked a similar question a while ago, its still on the first Laos thread page. I am arriving by land from China but there might still be useful information in there.

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Posted by somtam2000 on 21/9/2009 at 08:33 admin

Here's the post mentioned by christay2000

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Posted by dclayw on 21/9/2009 at 09:17

Yes I did see the christay2000 thread and it did help somewhat.

If we go to the south we'll be flying at least one direction so that adds to the expense. Our trip will be late Dec early Jan at the busy time so I expect Pakse airport will be open by then, but who knows.

At Don Khon we were also planning on staying at Sala Phae on the floating raft bungalows. Many good views on that but very expensive compared to the rest of the accommodation in the area. Last year it was US$50/night (for 4 people), it is now $70 night. Nothing ever stays the same does it.

#5 dclayw has been a member since 20/10/2008. Posts: 22

Posted by Saphir on 10/10/2009 at 14:20

You mention that you enjoy temples, so you may like Wat Phu Champasak. I liked Champasak, Pakse and Savannakhet in particular. There are some interesting colonial-era buildings in the south, but of course you can see suchlike elsewhere. Oh, and Savannakhet has a Dinosaur Museum. Could do with a bit of funding, though.

It depends on what you want to see and do. I'm quite content to sit at a cafe and drink coffee.

Also glad I went to Phonsavan...............

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Posted by MADMAC on 10/10/2009 at 14:38

I can't say that Savankhet represents the rest of the south, but the entire place is moving in slow motion. I found it to be largely dusty, atrophying and boring. Apparantly LP, Vientiane and VV are places where things are moving a little faster. So if it were me, I'd be sticking up north. But I caution that's only based on what others such as Somsai and Rufus have said here.

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Posted by Saphir on 11/10/2009 at 04:50

I find that there is something to interest me in any place I go.

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Posted by MADMAC on 11/10/2009 at 18:12

I suspect my interests are narrower.

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Posted by exacto on 12/10/2009 at 10:00

it sounds like dclayw has already made a good case for spending that 30 days in the north. i think it will go a loooong way, by the way, but it could be pretty great to just settle in and really relax in a place like luang prabang or vientiane.

i've done two "north only" trips through laos now, so i'm pretty keen to get to southern laos this time. after a quick stopover in mukdahan to compare notes with MADMAC, i'll be off to pakse and champassak to see wat phu. then again, what i'm seeking is exactly that peace and quiet, sitting along the river drinking a beer, relaxing bicycle ride through the fields type of experience for that week or so.

i will confirm what others have said that there is quite a bit going on in places like luang prabang and vientiane and vang vieng. but even so i'd be surprised if you don't add at least one or two additional spots to your plans.

anyway, keep us posted. i'll be hitting southern laos exactly about the time you would be going, if you decide to head that way. cheers.

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Posted by fuzzy321 on 12/10/2009 at 22:27

I would recommend stayin longer in VV and LP.Loved VV loads. tubing was awesome.. 4000 islands cud be an awesome place to unwind and relax. But do bare in mind bout d 4 hr electricity per day^^

#11 fuzzy321 has been a member since 10/4/2008. Posts: 1

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