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highlights of laos and vietnam

Travel Forums Asia highlights of laos and vietnam

1. Posted by joey22 (Travel Guru 561 posts) 11y

hi guys. this is really directed at people who have been to laos and vietnam. i was just wondering what places in both countries were peoples highlights? i plan on getting a 30 day visa for laos so that i can get out and see more of the country than just louang prabang, vang vieng and vientiane. i want to try and venture further afield in laos.

in vietnam i reckon i will spend a while in the north, sapa etc. has anyone got any tips for escaping hordes of fellow tourists? i would like to experience traditional village life, and feel that it was just that, not something put on for the benefit of us tourists.

so, it would be good to hear from people who have been to both countries... try to find out a bit more than is possible from a guidebook.

any tips, ideas, info, recommended places, anything at all would be great

cheers, joey

2. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 11y

Quoting joey22

hi guys. this is really directed at people who have been to laos and vietnam. i was just wondering what places in both countries were peoples highlights? i plan on getting a 30 day visa for laos so that i can get out and see more of the country than just louang prabang, vang vieng and vientiane. i want to try and venture further afield in laos.

WOCCA: Are 30 day visas available for Laos?

Quoting joey22

in vietnam i reckon i will spend a while in the north, sapa etc. has anyone got any tips for escaping hordes of fellow tourists? i would like to experience traditional village life, and feel that it was just that, not something put on for the benefit of us tourists.

WOCCA: There's no escaping tourists in Sapa

3. Posted by daveh (Travel Guru 1027 posts) 11y

I agree with Wocca there, Sapa is where everybody heads. How about having a look round the Central highlands. People go to Sapa because the scenery is spectacular, but there are a few longer treks on offer in the north-east and north-west, or kayaking trips!!!!

4. Posted by Travel100 (Travel Guru 1556 posts) 11y

Sapa is definitely worthwhile (the Hilltribes are very interesting & it is beautiful). Another great place to visit is the Sunday market at Bac Ha (the Flowery H'mong), I wouldn't miss this market.

In Loas I liked Louang Probang (not too touristy when i visited but that was back in 1994).

I really liked my time in Northern Vietnam (but to see REAL village life I found Burma to be the best & Thailand to be the worst).

5. Posted by JennyCook (Full Member 95 posts) 11y

Hi, I've just come through laos and absolutely loved it. it truly is an amazing country.

I found the slow boat along the mekong a lovely way to see little snippets of village life, although your arse really is dead after a day of sitting on a little wooden bench (worth it though). Luang Prabang was nice and relaxed and not too touristy. obvously there's tourism there but it's not all rammed on your face like some other places. My friend did a 2 day kayacking tour in Northern Laos and stayed in a small local village overnight and she couldn't speak highly enough of it.

Personaly i really liked Don Det in the 4000 islands as it was just so relaxed and we spent a lot of time with the family who owned the guesthouse who were so lovely and welcoming i could've stayed forever. Although beware of a westerner called Martin who has a one-handed monkey as he was very much a rip-off merchant!!!

Have fun - i did!

6. Posted by JennyCook (Full Member 95 posts) 11y

oh and to answer Woccas question: 30 day visas really are available for Laos but only if you apply for them in advance as it's only 15 day visas on the border.

7. Posted by areinstein (Travel Guru 2788 posts) 11y

Quoting JennyCook

oh and to answer Woccas question: 30 day visas really are available for Laos but only if you apply for them in advance as it's only 15 day visas on the border.

Jenny...I think you may have answered my question but can you get VISAs to Laos right at the border (of Thailand and Laos) immediately? Do you have to bring pictures?

8. Posted by Mikey B (Respected Member 181 posts) 11y

I've got a good tip for escaping the hoards around Sapa but you'll need a good head for heights!!

You can hire original 1950's Russian Minsk motorcycles in Sapa for about US$7/8 a day. Ride up and over the high mountain pass into the valley beyond. The scenery is absolutely spectacular and the riding really exhilarating. The valley you end up in has practically no tourists or locals trying to flog you the usual souvenirs. You don't get to see so many people in authentic tribal costumes here but it's still really interesting.

The bikes themselves are great to ride (it’s like riding a piece of history) and seem to have been built with the typical Russian philosophy of robustness over looks! Make sure you check the breaks though – you’ll need them to be in good condition for the hair-raising trip over the pass!!

9. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 11y

I enjoyed staying a week at the beach at Sihanoukville in the south of Cambodia