I will be in Indochina (Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia) from Jan - May next year. The original route I'd planned was to do the basic Indochina loop. North Thailand, onto North Laos, into North Vietnam, work my way down the whole of Vietnam, then into Cambodia, before heading back to Thailand.
I've heard some amazing things about Laos though, so thought about changing my route to: North Thailand, into North Laos, do the whole of Laos, into Cambodia, then onto South Vietnam, work my way up to North Vietnam, then a flight back to Bangkok.
This way I'd get to see pretty much ALL of the countries I want to go to, rather than just parts of them. However I've heard that the border crossing from Laos into Cambodia is a bit dodgy, and people often get ripped off by border control? Even my guidebook says avoid it!
What's the best route for me to take? I'll be travelling with my boyfriend so wont be on my own, however we've never travelled before so are newbies to the whole thing!
Any advice appreciated
We have chatted before and I think I can help with your question. I do not know the border area you are asking about, but I know someone who does. I will send you the info in a PM.
The border crossing from Laos into Cambodia you are talking about is Vuen Kham(L)-Dong Krolor (C). I have done this crossing both ways, and all that I was asked was US1 by the immigrations guys at both points.Nothing dodgy! No rip off either! Don't believe everything the guide book says.More foreigners use this border crossing than, for example, the Nam Xoi(L)-Na Meo(V) crossing.
As for your travel plan, good idea to start with Luang Namtha (good for trekking and visiting tribe villages in the Luang Namthan Biodiversity Conservation Area) and work your way down to Pakse, and cross into Cambodia to the riverside town of Stung Treng from where you can get bus to Kratie,Kompong Cham, Kg Thom, Siem Reap, and cross Tonle Sap to Battambang, and work your way to Phnom Penh and do the border crossing at Moc Bai to get the HCMC, and then work your way up north, and from Hanoi take a flight to BKK.