Photo: Classic scenery surrounds Vang Vieng.

Laos forum

Instead of Vang Vieng...

Posted by JavaJunkie on 4/2/2010 at 03:43

My husband and I are spending a week in Laos, arriving in Vientiane by overnight train from Ayutthaya, Thailand. Originally I had planned an overnight in Vientiane, bus trip and overnight in Vang Vieng, bus trip and three days in Luang Prabang, and slow boat to Huay Xai.

The more I read about the length of the bus trips on curvy roads and the touristy-ness of Vang Vieng, the more sense it made to fly from Vientaine to Luang Prabang, which leaves us with an extra two days to spend somewhere along the way in Northern Laos (more time in Luang Prabang? somewhere near Pak Bang? Xai of Huay ...?). The only caveat is that we're more flashpacker than backpacker -- I think the Gibbon Experience might be a little too rustic.

Any suggestions much appreciated!

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Posted by somtam2000 on 4/2/2010 at 08:43 admin

You could head further north from Luang Prabang to Nong Kiaow -- has a range of places to stay and gets lots of good reports.

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Posted by Rufus on 4/2/2010 at 08:59

I would spend the 2 days in Vientiane.

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Posted by christay2009 on 5/2/2010 at 00:01

Nong Kiaow has my vote!

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Posted by MADMAC on 5/2/2010 at 01:05

Not enough info here. What are the ingress and egress timelines and locations? Is Vientiane both your entry and exit point?

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Posted by JavaJunkie on 5/2/2010 at 22:24

Sorry about the lack of info... Our trip will actually end in Chiang Mai, Thailand. My husband's latest gig (and my trip home to the US) start from there. We will have done Bangkok, Ayutthaya, and Sukhothai before then.

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Posted by borisborough on 6/2/2010 at 12:21

From Luang Prabang, you could get the slowboat up the Mekong, stopping overnight at Pak Beng and then getting to the Thai border the next day. Over the Mekong to Chiang Khong in Thailand, Chiang Mai is a five hour minivan ride away.

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Posted by MADMAC on 8/2/2010 at 10:29

In the short amount of time you have, and given you need to get back to Chaing Mai, I think Luang Prabang and Vientiane should be enough. That minimizes road time. I am with Rufus here.

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Posted by Captain_Bob on 19/2/2010 at 18:06

Get to Huay Xai then do a side trip up to Luang Namtha. Stay at The Boat Landing, maybe do a motorbike ride to Muang Sing and back, then get a boat down to Pak Tha (if there's enough water in the river) and Huay Xai. More accommodation options on

Otherwise get to Chiang Mai early and spend more time in the surrounding area - Pai, Mae Hong Son, Soppong, Thaton, Doi Angkhang, etc. You could spend weeks and weeks exploring the area. Also check out Chiang Dao Nest at

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Posted by Roux on 24/9/2011 at 00:43

+1 Rufus

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Posted by chaos23 on 24/9/2011 at 06:04

+ 1 Rufus.

Spend two days in VT, you get to see many things too. Bus drive is 10 hrs appr. to LPB. And kick the Slow Boat and fly out if you need one extra day in or around LPB.

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Posted by exacto on 24/9/2011 at 06:14

i agree with you guys that spending the extra time in Vientiane is a good way to go. i'd also recommend an overnight in Nong Khai before crossing over to Laos as well, as Nong Khai is a pleasant little riverside town. alternatively, if at all possible, fly from Vientiane directly to Phon Savanh and the Plain of Jars for a night or two then bus it from there to Luang Prabang.

however, the original post was about 18 months ago, so these folks have likely finished up their trip by now...

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