we're a couple going from Chiang Rai to Luang Prabang . We have 8 days from we arrive in Chiang Rai before the plane leaves from Luang Prabang. Is there any places on the route that are especially nice? We're trying to steer clear of the most tourist adapted places, like Vang Vieng and to a certain degree Luang Prabang seems to be. We would especially like to go trekking for a few days. For what it's worth, I speak basic Thai, so we will hopefully be able to get around without being to dependent on locals speaking English.
#1 Pontare has been a member since 28/10/2009. Posts: 11
Seeing as Chang Rai is closest to the Huay Xai border crossing I'd assume you'd be crossing there.
I'd suggest taking a fast boat upriver from Huay Xai to Xiengkok. By doing so you will have left about 99% of the rest of us tourists behind. You'll get your river fix in but it only takes a couple to four hours depending on how much you take the little public transport trucks instead of the boat. Ultimately you'll have to take the boat part of the way.
From Xiengkok it's an hour up to Muang Long. I pointed someone else there lately and he seemed to enjoy it. There are a few guest houses but mostly you are the only foreigner when you are in town. Tui the guy at the tourism office has any number of treks worked out but not many people make it up there these days. Nice rivers, pretty Tai Lu and Akha villages, you'd have the whole place to yourselves.
Further up the road is Muang Sing which feels like civilization in comparison and over the pass is Muang Long, then Udomxai (Oudomsai?) Luang Prabang etc.
Your Thai abilities will stand you in good stead. There are a lot of similarities between Tai Lu, Lao, and Thai. Certainly in Huay Xai and Xiengkok most people are fluent in Thai. Further from the river going very slowly with your words helps, many people might need to translate from Thai to Lao to Lu in thier heads then back again to answer you.
Another possiblity is to go down the river to Pakbeng then up to Udomxai taking a few days to do it and exploring. I took the bus and the towns looked interesting. I remember on fairly large town.
For trekking you need a guide. Just in case that's what you were considering with your Thai language. Most upland peoples speak no Lao and very little if any Lu. It's also the center of opium production with police around and all kinds of things. Best to have a guide.
Great post somsai, thanks! Anyone else who has any experience with the places somsai is mentioning?
#4 Pontare has been a member since 28/10/2009. Posts: 11
like somsai says, chiang rai to huay xai is the natural choice for crossing into laos. somsai gave some pretty interesting ideas on how to spend those eight days. be sure to give yourself enough time in luang prabang itself, however. there is heaps to see and do there. cheers.
just to add on to #3:
+From Xiengkok it's an hour up to Muang Long . I pointed someone else there lately and he seemed to enjoy it.+
Muang Long trip report by that 'someone'.
+Further up the road is Muang Sing which feels like civilization in comparison and over the pass is Muang Long, then Udomxai (Oudomsai?) Luang Prabang etc.+
think somsai meant Luang Namtha rather than Muang Long here.
+Another possiblity is to go down the river to Pakbeng then up to Udomxai taking a few days to do it and exploring. I took the bus and the towns looked interesting. I remember on fairly large town.+
two main towns are Muang Beng & Muang Houn. most tourists i've met who've been to this area are cyclists. one guy from a village there set up www.samlaancycling.com in Oudomxay town & does tours to that area + other parts of the province. more on Oudomxay: http://oudomxay.info/
I guess that means the Karaoke is out!
#7 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I have about the same plan, maybe dwo days more as Pontare (#1).
I but I planned to drive through Luang Nam Tha to Muang Sing and spend around three days there doing treks. You think its better to take the boat ride to Muang Long? How safe is it to take fast boats? In LP I read that it is dangerous in dry season (I will arrive to Laso 16/11). I will be travelling allone with no local laguage skills, so I do not know if it's a good idea to go to totaly nonturistic areas (mentioned Muang Long)
Than I plan to go to Muang Ngoi or Nong Khiaw and spend like two days there and than down the river to Luang Prabang for 2-3 days. But again, some bad story about robbery in Muang Ngoi...?
Do I need to take Malarone as prevention in these days in that area?
thank you very much for the answer
#8 gugli has been a member since 5/11/2009. Posts: 2