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Questions about Laos

Travel Forums Asia Questions about Laos

1. Posted by Superwolf (Budding Member 25 posts) 9y

I'm planning on visiting Laos and have a few questions which I'd much appreciate if you could help answer. I plan on spending about 1 month there give or take and would like to see most of the country. I'm interested in their culture, seeing the hill tribes, doing some trekking, seeing the wildlife and just enjoying the beauty of the place. I'll be going there alone. I'll most likely be going to Vietnam after Laos.

Any suggestions for a good travel route to take? What is the difference between traveling by boat upstream and downstream?

What's the best way to travel small distances inside the provinces? Can I hire cars, bikes, scooters or drivers?

What were your favourite places that you went to/your best experiences? Anything I should include on my itinerary? Any good tours? Anywhere off the beaten track that's worth seeing?

What are Phongsali and Houa Phan like?

How big are the crowds in peak season? Are there much less tourists in November than December?

Is 4 weeks plenty of time to see Laos? If I have 8 weeks to spend in Laos and Vietnam do you think I should split it 4/4 or 5/3?

THANKS!!!

2. Posted by samakomlao (Budding Member 16 posts) 9y

Any suggestions for a good travel route to take? What is the difference between traveling by boat upstream and downstream?

Ans: Travel by slow boat or speed boat downstream from the North of Laos to Luang Prabang is the most popular route. If you want to meet a lot of travellers coming from different part of the world, I would recommend you to take this route. If not try something opposite by travel from the South of Laos by bus to Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang, then take a boat to Luang Namtha and across to Thailand. But since you plan to go to Vietnam after Laos, I would recommend you to go downstream from nothern to south.

What's the best way to travel small distances inside the provinces? Can I hire cars, bikes, scooters or drivers?

Ans: For big city like Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Vang vieng, Savannakhet and Champasak, you can hire bicycle or motobike in a very low price. This is good, becuase you can reach to small distance inside the province and you can see the way people live in different villages. Besides, bus, taxi, Tuk Tuk (3-wheel vihecle) also good for a short distance. To hire for bikes, cars, etc... please contact the hotel you stay, or consult with the travel company.

What were your favourite places that you went to/your best experiences? Anything I should include on my itinerary? Any good tours? Anywhere off the beaten track that's worth seeing?

Ans: Gibbon experience, tubing, plain of jars, trekking, mountain climbing, elephant riding, lao food cooking, water falls, etc...

What are Phongsali and Houa Phan like?
Ans: Phongsali is the northernmost province of Laos, near China border. It has many ethnic tribes and in the morning you can feel like you are in the heaven, because you can see the ocean of cloud in the morning and the weather is excellent. Houa Phan is a historical province close to Vietnam border. There are a lot of caves that Lao government used to use during the Vietnamese war. Diverse in ethnic groups. Both provinces are still remote and difficult to travel to, but worth seeing.

How big are the crowds in peak season? Are there much less tourists in November than December?
Ans: Peak season in Laos is only in Luang Prabang during Lao New year. Though Novermber and December is considered to be peak season, becuase it is the end of rainy season, and the weather is very nice, but you will have no problem booking for hotels or guesthouses.

enjoy your travel in Laos and check my website for some info about Laos

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[ Edit: No promos allowed. URL removed. ]

3. Posted by bex76 (Moderator 3713 posts) 9y

I took the slowboat from Huay Xai on the Thai border down to Luang Prabang which took 2 days and was good fun. The slow boat is the best option because there have been several accidents/fatalities on the fast boats, and also the noise of the fast speedboats is annoying for locals living nearby and distressing for the wildlife living near the river. Luang Prabang is a lovely town with great dining options and is well worth spending a few days. There is a lovely waterfall you can visit from LP (the name escapes me). From here the drive down route 13 is beautiful - one of the most stunning drives I have ever taken. In vang vieng I would recommend the tubing down the river - its great fun and a relaxing way to spend 3-4 hours. there is also the option for kayaking. Vientiane is worth a couple of days - probably the sleepiest capital in SE Asia; its possible to get your Vietnam visa here too (ours took 3 days). If you have 8 weeks I would recommend 3 in Laos and 5 in Vietnam. You can fly from Vientiane to Hanoi for around US$120; we booked ours through an agent on the main street in LP.

4. Posted by Superwolf (Budding Member 25 posts) 9y

Thanks guys, both of your posts were very helpful.

More questions:
Has anyone been to Xaysomboune or know anything about travelling through it? From what I've read it seems like the roads are very rough and you would need a motorbike. I imagine it would have some beautiful scenery.

Is it possible to take a boat from Muang Khoune down to Pakxan?

Thanks again.

[ Edit: Edited on Aug 9, 2007, at 5:35 AM by Superwolf ]