I am heading to SE Asia in January, and have planned to visit a number of countries. The only country that I cant work out what route to take is in Laos. I will be heading from the North (at any border crossing you suggest) to the south into Cambodia.
Any suggestions on a 3 week route through Laos would be greatly appreciated. Also any transport advice that you could give about how to get to these places?
I just returned from travelling in SE Asia and my itinerary for three weeks in Laos was the following:
Travelled from Chang Mai to the border and stayed in Huan Xai. From there you can do the Gibbon experience http://www.ecotourismlaos.com/activities/gibbon_trk.htm and from all the people who I have met and you'd done it they were raving on about it. I also love their concept of eco-tourism but due to lack of time I wasn't able to do it myself.
Anyway, from Huanxai went by bus north to Luangnhamtha. It turned out that in Laos it is always the cheapest to buy your ticket right at the station instead of booking through an agent.
The journey up north I had chosen to make is an unusual one for the average backpacker. People prefer to take a 2-day slow boat trip on the Mekong to Luang Prabang. I can’t blame them as the bus trip wasn’t exactly pleasant (7 hours on 250 km unsealed road, hell it was a bumpy ride!), but the area around there is rather non-touristy and great for hiking (Muong Sing, in particular).
I continued my journey west and took more buses and a tuk tuk to first Udomxhai and later Nong Khiaw and Muong Ngoi. The last to villages are amazing places you shouldn't miss out on when visiting Laos.
From there you can either take a boat or bus down to Luang Prabang and from there head further south to Vang Vieng and Vietienne by bus.
Unfortunately my trip in Laos ended here but I know through friends that it is easy to catch a bus further down south (e.g. to 4000 islands and the Cambodian border).
I'm sure you will love Laos as much as I did and if you have any further questions don't hesitate to ask.
[ Edit: Edited on May 6, 2007, at 1:47 PM by steff ]
My experience is
Luangbrapang:wander through histrical temples-(take Vip Bus)VangVieng:explore caves and waterways among karst terrains-(take Vip bus) Vientaine: the Capital city.-(take overnight train or air)Pakse: visit Temple of Wat phu Champasak and Four thousand Islands-(by air/BUS) Combodia
Thank you so much for all of your help both of you! Both sound good routs. Im going to plan them out on a map so that I can see the full picture. If anyone else did this route differently or has any other advice it would be great!