Hi, I had a meeting with an sta agent today who basically said that travelling in the south of Laos is really dodgy especially if you're on your own and that crossing the border near Kon Tum in Vietnam is not worth doing. I highly suspect he was just saying this so I would buy some kind of sta tour around Laos (which I didn't) but it has made me a little wary as this is an area I plan on visiting. Has anyone crossed this border recently? How long did it take you / did you have any major problems?
I have obviously read the travelfish piece on this border but I just wanted the opinion of someone who has done it recently. I plan on travelling from Kon Tum to Da Nang and then getting the train either from there to Hanoi and flying to HCMC or just getting the train from there to HCMC, so if anyone has done either of those recently it would also be good to hear how that went.
Also, would it be better to cross at the Dansavanh / Lao Bao border a bit further north? Is this border crossing more frequently used by backpackers than the other one I mentioned? From there I could go straight to Hue, maybe get the train from there to Da Nang (for Hoi An) then get the train from Da Nang to Hanoi.