Hi people all over the world,
Just to find out few details about Laos for me to plan out my next trip in Apr. Any help/information on this is highly appreciated.
First the slow boat ride from Luang Prabang to Huay Xai, can I know the departure times and the arrival times at each point. Will I have time to cross the boarder to Chiang Khong on the 2nd day or would I have to stay a night in Huay Xai?
What to expect on the boat, what’s the journey like?
Any cheep but good places to stay that can be recommended at Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Pak Beng?
Any not to be missed places in Laos? (I’ll be there only for 7 days)
One place not to be missed is Vien Viang. Relaxing hangout town with a river where you can rent innertubes and float down drinking beer.
For accomidation, I can't really recomend much since things change quick and its been a few years since I've been there. In Pakbeng however, unless things have changed dramatically, then its a matter of walking up the one street and checking out the handful of almost identical places to crash in for the 10 hours that you'll be in town.
I can't tell you the times of the boats, but it seems to me that whether or not you make it to the bording on time the last day is luck of the draw. Boats tend to leave Pakbeng to the border around the same time in the morning, and some will make it, and some won't. When I did it, I planned to make it across the border that night, but we arrived right as it was closing and we didn't make it (some people on our boat did make it). So we had to stay in Huay Xai for the night. I would say don't count on making it. You might, but you might not.
Hay, Many Thxs for the reply/info.
What will be the price range like for accomadation in those 3 towns.(the budget ones)
And the boat ride. whats it like. what to expect, are the boats good?
I did that trip about 5 years ago. I spend the night in Huay Xai and took the slow boat the next morning. It wasn't a very early morning departure, but I can't remember the exact time. So, I think it's possible you could stay the night in Chiang Kong and make the border crossing early enough to catch the boat the following morning.
It was two full days of boat travel and the boat was packed. I remember that it was a Monday departure. At that time they didn't have Sunday boat service so I think we got an extra load of passengers on our boat. Not much room to stretch out or sleep, so it was not very comfortable. Great scenery, though! We arrived in Luang Prabang near sunset, late in the afternoon. I found a hard time finding a vacancy that night. This was in January and peak season so lots of people were in town. If you can, try and find a place ahead of time and book a room. That will at least save you the hassle of hiking all over town in the dark like I did!
The other place mentioned below is Vang Vieng. A very scenic town on the river, between LP and Vientiane.
Sorry, I forgot to say how the boat ride was.
I thought it was great. It was long and pretty uneventful, but it was great. The boats are basic - long narrow covered motor boats with a bunch of wood benches. It's by no means a luxury ride.
It was probably the most peaceful two days of my life and I just sat there and read two books, stared out the window and watched the wilderness go by. The peace would be interrupted every hour or so by the sound of a jet boat full of tourist flying by at impossible speeds.
The first half of the first day was pretty crowded and I was squished into a small corner of my wood bench, but after a couple hours, most people got off and we were left with about 5 tourists and 10 locals for the rest of the journey. We each got our own bench and with my backpack as a pillow it was a pretty comfortable ride.
The scenery was nice, though not very diverse, and pretty sparse of people. Every once in a while you would pass a tiny village where you can see traditionally dress folk.
It's all about attitude though, and I can see some people hating the trip. You have to look at it not as a something to endure as you get from A-B, but as part of your adventure, and a destination unto itself.
Buzzard & Degolasse, Thxs for all the good info.
Degolasse i totally agree on what you said about attitude.
That’s why I thought of doing the slow boat than the fast so that I get a chance to experience it. Just wanted to have an idea of it so that I would know what to expect and can be ready for it.
And also is it best to buy a ticket from LP to HX or LP to Pak Beng and then PB to HX seperatly. Cost is same 75,000x2. Is there a time saving if i buy seperatly. Any advantage in doing so?
Any one out there who can help me on cheep accommodation. Luang Prabang, Huay Xai, Vien Viang, Vientiane and Pak Beng.