Hi everyone. I'll be arriving in Vientiane on 7 November with my wife and brother (all early 50s). Our plan is to stay in Vientiane for about 3 nights, and then catch the the bus to Viang Vieng. We'll stay there for 3 nights and then continue on to Luang Prabang for a while. Our nightly budget for accommodation is up to a maximum of $25 a night for a single or double.
I'd be very grateful for the following info:
Are the ThongBay G/H in Vientiane and Luang Prabang the best VFM places to stay? Any there any good alternatives?
Any recommendation for accom in Viang Vieng away from the strip, but not too far away.
Is the slow boat ride to Huay Xai worth the discomfort? And where is the best place to stay in Pak Beng, with any tips to making sure we can get into that accommodation? Our option is to fly out.
Any must-sees as side trips bearing in mind we'll be on 15 day visas.
Looking forward to hearing from anyone.
#1 LancasterLad has been a member since 13/9/2006. Posts: 62
Welcome to Travelfish!
In Luang Prabang, another good option is Villa Sokxai.
We're doing a complete re-research trip through Vientiane in a couple of weeks so I'll hold my breath on new recommendations for there.
In my opinion, the slow boat ride, while uncomfortable, is worth doing at least once. The scenery really is breathtaking.
If you're planning on staying just 15 days because of the visa, 30 days visa on arrival visas are handed out at all International crossings now... so that should give you a bit more time.
Thanks for the welcome and info somtam2000. Now I've had the chance to see what this website has to offer I could have answered my own questions I suppose.
We're really looking forward to our travels. If anything out of the ordinary happens to us I'll let you know.
#3 LancasterLad has been a member since 13/9/2006. Posts: 62
Hello everyone. I am an independant traveller, and will be arriving in Northern Laos via Boten/Mengla from Jinghong in early November 2006.
After some sight-seeing and trekking tours from Luang Namtha I will make my way to Luang Prabang and then Vientiane.
I have a choice of two methods of getting from Luang Namtha to Vientiane:
(1) Take a slow ferry or barge to Luang Prabang, then o/land to Vientiane.
(2) Overland from Luang Namtha to Luang Prabang, and then a slow ferry to Vientiane.
I have allowed approx 10 days for this leg.
Which is the better way to go for scenery, cultural diversity and interest?
#4 rayc101 has been a member since 19/2/2006. Posts: 50
It's my understanding that regular passenger ferries no longer run from Luang Prabang to Vientiane -- however I did read a report a few weeks ago from a traveller on the LP Thorntree suggesting they had caught such a boat -- so perhaps they have restarted. If they have, it is a good trip, though the scenery north of Luang Prabang is more spectatcular -- so if you've already come downriver from LNT, then perhaps overland it to Vientiane -- that way you can take in Vang Vieng as well.
The Luang Nam Tha to LP boat is a stunning trip, but it is very "rough and ready" and I've heard many complaints about sleeping conditions being very poor to nonexistant (the trip takes two days one night), however if you're willing to rough it a little, it is a stunning trip -- bear in mind it is not by freighter, rather a glorified sampan, so its certainly not luxurious!
If it was me, I'd take the boat from LNT to LP then overland to Vientiane.
Hope that helps
LNT to LP by boat, and then overland to VT via Vang Vieng seems like a pretty good suggestion. I don't mind roughing it a bit, especially if it means getting the most out of my trip.
Approx what price should I pay for both the boat trip from LNT to LP, and the overland (bus?) to VT please?
#6 rayc101 has been a member since 19/2/2006. Posts: 50
From Luang Nam Tha to Pak Tha (from where you'd then change boats to continue south to Luang Prabang) you'd be looking at around US$150 for the boat (boat holds 4-6 people, so you need to find others to split the cost with).
Lots of excellent information on boat travel in and around Luang Nam Tha can be found here.
OK, thanks for the very prompt reply.
#8 rayc101 has been a member since 19/2/2006. Posts: 50