I am starting off to Thailand and Laos for a few months next week. Im from Canada and have yet to venture to Asia. I am a pretty skilled traveller (or Id like to think) but just have a few situation cased questions.
1) Suggestions for taxi's from the Airport, we arrive late and don't want a bad experience right off the bat. Like a taxi company that is reliable?
2) First night we are staying out by the airport and then moving to the Lamphu House in Banlamphu area... whats the best way to get there? Like mode of transportation and route?
3) I have read about room safety, and is it really necessary to chain your stuff up? and should you lock your pack up with a lock as well?
4) The Canadian Embassy says that Laos is not overly safe to travel in especially the road between Vand Vieng and Luang Prabang. We had planned on spending a few weeks in Laos but this warning set us off a bit... any comments?
I guess thats about it... any insight would be great!
#1 jldm has been a member since 9/7/2006. Posts: 8
Welcome to Travelfish!
1) Upon arrival, ignore all the touts. Walk out of the terminal and you'll see a metered taxi kiosk -- there is a 50B surcharge and you are required to pay the tolls. This is the easiest way to get into town from the airport. Do NOT accept a taxi if they refuse to put the meter on.
2) I thought you were getting a taxi when you arrive? Anyway -- I'd just catch a cab or the airport bus (but obviously you'll need to go back to the airport to catch that!)
3) A little bit of paranoia goes a long way! I always carry a padlockable cable -- it's quite thin and light, but I think you'd need a light sabre to cut through it -- and I loop it through my pack to the bed or something solid. Its probably not necassary, but it takes me 30 seconds to do and gives me a little more peace of mind.
4) That is very old information -- people have been killed on that road but today it is largely considered to be safe -- I wouldn't hesitate to send my grandmother on it (and I do love my granny ;-). Jokes aside, the road was more dangerous in the easly to mid 1990's when attacks and robberies were far far far more common than they are today. At worst, if you really don't want to do that leg, you can fly from Vientiane to Luang Prabang... Don't let the warning put you off Laos -- fantastic country.
Thanks so much!!
Advice is helpful and great to hear we can still give Laos a go!
One more question, all this Visa talk, do you get a Visa upon entry to the country or should I have one in place before I get there....
#3 jldm has been a member since 9/7/2006. Posts: 8
Visa on entry for Thailand or Laos? For Thailand you'll get 30 days visa free, for Laos you'll get two weeks visa on entry or a month if you get your visa in advance -- so I guess it depends how long you plan to stay in Laos -- I'd say if you have the time get it in advance, perhaps when in Bangkok.
the lao visa on arrival will cost you $30, and as somtam says, is good for 15 days. unless you plan to spend more than 15 days in laos, i'd recommend the visa on arrival as the easiest way to go. you'll want to have the $30 (US) in cash, plus a $1 surcharge if you arrive outside of normal business hours. you'll also need one passport photo with your application, available at almost any photo shop in thailand (about 6 for 100 baht).
we just did the road trip from luang prabang to vientiane, with a stopover in vang vieng. the bus was overcrowded and the bus driver refused to turn on the air-con for more than a few minutes at a time. despite all that, it was still a great trip and perhaps the most scenic drive i've ever experienced. i highly recommend it. i hope you enjoy it too. regards.