As a significant part of my rtw trip i would like to visit all four of these countries. I will arrive in Hanoi late august and was hoping to travel down through vietnam to Ho Chi Minh and then into Cambodia. Does anyone know if there is anyway of getting overland from siem reap to louang prabang and then up through laos and into northern thailand (chiang mai)??? I would like to take as fairly direct route if possible, also what ar ethe border crossings like in these areas??
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Ive just been to all four of those..I went a slightly different direction so I can only help with some of it! We went from Thailand to Cambodia, Cambodia to Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh), Ho Chi Minh to Laos (Vientiane), and then from Luang Prabang to Chang Mai.
Sorry that posted before i had finished!
So the only bit i can help you with is, the part from Laos to Chang Mai...
Overland you either have to go on a two day slow boat or a 6 hour speed boat. We took the speed boat and it wasnt fun but i hear the slow boat is just as bad. Just make sure you go prepared with ear plugs, warm clothes and something to cushion your bum. It was an extremely uncomfortable journey but i have to admit an adventure...definately something we look back at and laugh!
If there is anything else you think i could help with, please let me know!
we recently travelled through Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, travelling in the opposite direction from that which you will be taking!
Even though it's back to front I hope this will be a bit of help to you. We travelled from Bangkok to Chiang Mai on the overnight train, from Chiang Mai to Chiang Khong by mini bus (about 5/6 hours)crossed the Mekong from Chiang Khong to Huay Xai (Laos).
From Huay Xai we caught a slow boat down to Luang Prabang... but it wasn't any old slow boat! If you've got a bit of extra money to spare, I'd highly recommend looking up a company called Luang Say Cruises. They do a luxury slow boat trip from Huay Xai, stopping overnight in Pak Beng where they provide luxury accommodation in bungalows right on the banks of the Mekong. On the second day you also get to stop in at the Pak Ou caves and at a Lao village. (Make sure you sample the rice whisky!) I think it cost about $200US per person, but was one of the most memorable experiences of our holiday! (And probably the most expensive thing we did!)
From Luang Prabang we bussed down to Vang Vieng (about 6 hours). It was some of the most amazing scenery I've ever seen! Then from Vang Vieng we caught a mini bus to Vientiane. From Vientiane we flew to Siem Reap as we were short on time and apparently it's quite difficult to cross by road from southern Laos into Cambodia.
Crossing the river at Chiang Khong was easy. Visas are available at the river crossing, although don't be surprised if you have to wait!
Travel by bus was really cheap and not particularly uncomfortable and the scenery was absolutely worth the numb bum!
Hope this is of some help. As you can probably tell we had an awesome holiday and I could go on and on and on! But won't! If you have anything else you want to ask, I'd love to answer!
I travelled overland from Laos to Cambodia. At the time the river crossing direct to Siem Reap wasn't possible as the river levels were too low, but it was easy to go direct to Phnom Penh and then up to Siem Reap.
The border crossing between Laos and Cambodia os open but it's not really official. it's easily done, you just need to make sure you've got your visas in advance and a pocketful of dollars, as they seem to create extra charges for everything and you'll find yourself having to pay the officials a dollar here, and then a dollar there, but they've got you over a barrel as you either pay it or don't cross!
Try and visit Don Det on the 4000 islands in Laos. It's so laid back and relaxed it's lovely, although very basic! from Pakse, just norht of the 4000 islands it's an overnight bus ride into Vientiane, which isn't worth staying in, so just balst through there and onto Vang Vien and then up to Luang Prabang. From Vang Vien up to Lunag Prabang it's probably best to take a tourist bus as the route is renowned for attacks on public buses, and on my tip down that route we saw a group of guys waiting at the side of the road armed with guns and they weren't in uniform!
Above all though, have fun!