After some advice on travelling north through Cambodia into Laos and travelling in Southern Laos.
We aim to travel up the Mekong up to Kratie (spelling??) and then possiblinto Laos. What is it like travelling southern Laos? Is it easy enough finding places to stay? What is a good route to do to get up to Vientiane or Luang Prabang?
We have got about 7-10 days to play with. With only this amount of time to play with would it be best to head back to Phnom Penh after Kratie and fly to Vientiane??
I just did this about 6 weeks ago with no problem at all....
It is easy to go by bus- from PP up to Stung Treng and then cross the border to Laos the next morning. There isn't much in Kratie to be honest. I definitely would recommend southern Laos- you cross over and head to the 4000 islands- Don Det is a great place to hang out a couple days. Then you can take a short bus trip to Pakse which is worth a least a day or 2 ( including a day trip to Wat Phu.) I took an overnight bus from Pakse to Ventiene which was very convenient....
Message meif you have questions.
canadaguy is absolutely right. bus from kratie to stung treng is along good roads and then a fairly short ride to border on bumpy roads. visa available on arrival at border. worth checking out the 2 waterfalls in the islands and don det is a great place to stay. very chilled out island life!
wat phu is a very scenic ruin and you could stay overnight in champasak. pakse is a nice place to visit the waterfalls and surrounding coffee plantations. overnight bus to vientianne was comfortable, not much to see in the capital though. if you want to break up the journey to luang prabang you could stop at vang vieng which is full of backpackers.
have a great time in laos, i'd love to go back and i spent 4 weeks there at the end of last year
great replies, cheers!
is there not much inbetween Pakse and Vientiane?
We've only got at max about 10 days, do we really have enough time to come in at the southern end and visit 4000 islands, Pakse and then take the bus to the north?
Thanks for the advice!
10 days will be pushing it, but Don Det is well worth it even if you only get a short time there and there are lots of places to stay which are very easy to find. The two waterfalls are nice, you can go tubing on the mekong (using old car innertubes you just float along) but the best bit about the islands is the relaxed pace. It is the most chilled out place I've ever been to and so very hot! (we were there in June 05 time).
(Has anyone else swam with the pink water buffalo in the Mekong at Don Det - they are excellent??)
After Pakse you would be best to head straight to Vientianne. But, don't leave the area without checking out a coffee plantation (and buying some beans) Tad Lo resort - for another lovelly waterfall - and more in a day trip around Pakse. You can get these from the backpackers or negotiate directly with the tuk tuk drivers.
The main hotel in Pakse is a bit pants, look for the backpackers, I think it's call Sabadie 2.
Getting over the border from Cambodia to Loas is great on a speedboat but be careful and haggle hard. Put a couple of dollars in your passport to smooth the border crossing.
Kratie (pronounced Krachey..) is a small market town where you can arrange your border crossing. Not much there so don't hang around.
Enjoy, a great place to be travelling!!
hi mark, you'll have to choose between spending time in either the north or the south. it depends what you want to see and do. for a betteridea of what laos has on offer why not search the blogs and see what members thought about laos. north and south are completely different. south is flat with the wonderful islands and waterfalls, also wat phu is interesting as i said. north offers mountains, trekking, phonsavan (plain of jars), vang vieng (tubing down river), river cruises taking in luang prabang and surrounding areas.
in my opinion you will be chilling out a great deal in the south whilst there are more activities in the north (treks, kayaking, mountain biking etc). it's a tough call but you have to decide what you want to experience in laos. also worth considering is how much time you want to spend travelling between destinations. less travel involved in the south compared to the north which has longer distances between the destinations. hope this helps
7-10 Days in Laos
As other people said befor I would chause the south or the north and not both! Go to the southern part to relax and enjoy one of the most lazy regions on earth by the 4000 Islands, Don Det wich is Backpackers paradise nearby Don Kong which is nice as well, up the Mekong to Campasak where old Kmer Tempels are placed (they are much more relaxing to visit than Ankor) and Pakse wich is ok for one day. There are some trips wich you can do to the hills in this aeria, near the Vietnamese Border, you'll finde lots of informations in guesthouses there.
Or you chause the north, in this case I would rec. to flight to Vientiane, heading to Viang Vieng wich is good fun but not a real place to visit Laos as it should by. Then go to Luang Prabang ... maybe the most beautifull city/town at this planet, I stayed there for 10 days its never boring!!!
The northern part has realy beautifull nountain scenerys!
I rec. to have a Visa for Laos allredy, because some of the organisations wich bring you over the border are really triky f*** cheaters!
Greetings from Switzerland
[ Edit: Edited on Feb 27, 2007, at 5:09 AM by G-trotter ]
Can anyone confirm that i can get a Laotian visa at the StungTreng crossing? WorldwideG i read ur post, but is there any chance that i would be rejected/turned away at the border? Thanks
I did that the other way around from laos to cambodia and I had my visa allredy, some other travellers get badly rippt of there!
I think its not possible to get a visa there at arrival, the only thing what they had at the border on the laotian side was a 6qm little house whit a binch and a stamp on the cambodian side they had a laptop and electrisity.
Also my 2 years old guidebook saith that is not possible that way...
itenerant- I actually think you CANNOT get the Lao visa at the land Cambodia- Lao border- I got mine in Phnom Penh before I headed there and they only took 24 hours with no problem at all. The land border you are talking about is really just a shack that seems to be in the middle of nowhere.