I'm heading North in Vietnam at the moment and it appears that with my entire travels so far I am about 2 weeks ahead of myself. I therefore am considering going into China for a couple of weeks from Vietnam and then dropping into Laos from China.
Firstly is this possible? Secondly is it affordable, both with Visas and transport and with spending money in China?
It is very possible. I believe there are two or three open border crossings from Vietnam to China. You can travel from Hanoi into China via bus or train. I came from Nanning to Hanoi via overnight train and it was pretty cheap (less than $30 USD, I think). The costs in China I thought were pretty similar to traveling and staying in Vietnam. If you head into China, I would highly recommend Yangshuo as a place to visit. It's extremely beautiful and a land version of Halong Bay.
You will need to get your Chinese visa in Hanoi before traveling to China. The cost depends on the length of stay. You can also cross into Laos from China when you return.
I would recommend heading to China but you might want to get yourself a Mandarin phrase book. It isn't as easy to get around in China without using some of the local vocabulary.
Good luck and enjoy! I loved China!
Why don't you first to Laos to Vietnam and then end your trip in China. You have to go on route as it will save your time as well.
I'm already in Vietnam so it makes no sense to go into Laos, also I am doing an anti clockwise circle, so gone from Cambodia, into Vietnam round to Laos and down through Thailand into Malasia to get to Australia. So, I figure popping into China at the top of Vietnam and then heading over to Laos.
kbeaudot, I think you have made my mind up. I think I'll get over into China for a few weeks! Cheers