the obvious answer is luang prabang. it is worth several days.
apart from that, what types of things are you interested in doing? phonsavan and the plain of jars is worth a look. you might also want to detour to the golden triangle area once you've crossed the border back into thailand.
did you plan to fly from luang prabang to chiang mai or go by river or what?
As per exacto, plus, are you planning on travelling through Laos to get to Chiang Mai, or exiting via Vientiane to Thailand and travelling through Thailand -- lots to see each way!
my itinerary was to fly to Udon Thani from southern thailand. Then cross north into Laos up to Vang Vieng via land transport( any suggestions as to take a bus/train/boat etc would be great). spend 2-3 days in vang vieng then travel west to chiang mai. exacto your suggestions sound very promising however i am somewhat time constraint, so traveling that far up north would not agree with my schedule. anything somewhat in the direct line of sight between vang vieng and chiang mai??
"exacto your suggestions sound very promising however i am somewhat time constraint, so traveling that far up north would not agree with my schedule. anything somewhat in the direct line of sight between vang vieng and chiang mai??"
i'm not sure i understand your comment. when you say traveling that far up north would not agree with your schedule, did you mean luang prabang or somewhere else? i ask because i think you'll be hard pressed to find transportation from vang vieng to chiang mai that doesn't go through luang prabang. the only other option would be to retreat to vientiane and fly from there (via luang prabang) or to cross back into thailand and head north to chiang mai.
hey exacto, i assumed that vang vieng being a popular destination, they would have all sorts of transport straight to chiang mai. from what your telling me i assumed wrong. i dont want to spend too much time in laos, but i put it in my itinerary because i need to make a border run[visa extension] and vang vieng was the only city that caught my attention. but if i need to stop at luang prabang in order to get to chiang mai then so it must be done. now im assuming that luang prabang has all sorts of transport to chiang mai?
there is a good bar scene there, but it isn't a party til you puke destination. i think most of the info you are seeking about luang prabang is available at this link:
be sure to check out the food & drink and getting there & away sections. good luck.
Unless you fly, going overland from either Vang Vieng or Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai will take at least two days of full travel.
Soooo, I'd suggest going to Vang Vieng then backtracking into Thailand and getting an overnight bus from Udon Thani to Chiang Mai -- that will be the fastest route unless you fly.
Hope that helps.