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Laos and Thailand

Travel Forums Asia Laos and Thailand

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1. Posted by cabo (Budding Member 10 posts) 11y

Hi,

we're planning to go to Laos and Thailand in May and begin June. Anyone experience with Laos?
Can anyone recommend it or are there some facts that we'll have to keep in mind?

Thanks for your response!

Cabo

2. Posted by ukmassage (Inactive 1052 posts) 11y

been to Vientiane just for a few days - disapointment. Luang Prabang suppose to be better.

3. Posted by thezenyen (Full Member 88 posts) 11y

Laos is lovely. Very rustic feel, shy friendly people and all that. get off the beaten track for sure.

4. Posted by cabo (Budding Member 10 posts) 11y

And is it necessary to book places to sleep in advance?

5. Posted by JimRL (Full Member 38 posts) 11y

I am heading to Thailand/Lous/Vietnam soon for 2 months. Ive bought the Lonely Planets Guide for Southeast Asia and it lists hostels, hotels and guest houses for every area. I would'nt book unless you know exactly where your going.

6. Posted by travelfish (Full Member 75 posts) 11y

Laos is a fascinating destination. For reservations, about 90% of the guesthouses in the country cannot be booked online, so its on a walkin basis most of the time.

Most first time visitors spend most of their time in the north - Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, Muang Sing, Luang Nam Tha -- to name a few, though in the far south, four thousand islands in particular is brcoming increasingly popular.

You'll find the LP SE guide to be pretty skimpy on Laos, their new (2005) Laos guide is a far better buy, though it still isn't perfect. There is also a lot of info online.

Hope that helps

7. Posted by cabo (Budding Member 10 posts) 11y

Thanks for your responses!
we don't really want to travel to the touristic spots although we know it's inevitable. We also want to learn to know the locals and their way of living.

What 's the most interesting to spend the most of our time: the north or the south? or is it not comparable?

We'll certainly go for the LP, but when somebody has interesting links of Laos (and Thailand) do not hesitate to send me an e-mail: mdecabooter@hotmail.com

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

Hi Cabo

Are you going to spend a full month in Laos?

If so then it's quite possible to visit the north & south of the country. However you've got to bare in mind that the further you go off the beaten track the slower the travelling.

Even though it gets many visitors you should plan on spending a few days in Luang Prabang. It really is the most beautiful place. A great setting on the banks of the Mekong, loads of temples and some great French colonial architecture. I remember meeting an American who reckoned Luang Prabang was the pinnacle of human achievement! Ok maybe that's stretching it a bit far but it does have that kind of effect on people.

Luang Prabang is also only a few hours away from the great Nam Ou River. Take a boat up to Muong Ngoi and hike into the hills to visit lesser visited villages surrounded by the most spectacular scenery.

If you do head south then the 4,000 Islands are a must. Seeing more and more visitors now that the Cambodia/Laos border is becoming more reliable but still a fascinating place to witness the slow pace of life on the river.

If you fancy somewhere a little more remote then I'd suggest the village of Mahaxi. A long bumpy pick-up ride from Thakhek, this village is set amongst stunning limestone hills on the banks of a river. I was the only foreigner when I visited. I believe it is possible to visit even more remote places from here.

If you want to avoid the worst excesses of the Laos backpacker scene you may want to consider avoiding Vang Vieng. Most people head here and many end up staying too long. However there's no denying the beauty of the location and it can be fun - especially the river tubing (a heady cocktail of fast water, death swings, killer weed and Beer Lao!!)

If that's a bit too 'Club 18-30' for you then tubing or canoeing up the Nam Ou from Muong Ngoi is highly recommended.

Hope this helps.

Have a good one

Mike

9. Posted by KitCat (Full Member 65 posts) 11y

I have just stayed one month in Laos, my favorites are Don Det in the four thousand islands, very chilled out there you can go see the fresh water dolphins in that area on the Cambodia border, a nice big waterfall also. Luang Probang was disappointing for me the night market was good though, Muang Sing was go for trekking around for ethnic villages (13 altogether), but you do see them in town and also in Luang Nam Tha, I think my favorite was Vang Vieng, yes you do get lots of other backpackers but there are lots to do, cycling, kayaking, caving etc.... The south inbetween Paxse and Vietane is not that much I found. Phosavanh was lovely as you find the mysterious plain of jars, it is also a good place to learn a bit of the history as it was the most bombed place in the world, the scenery around the area is gorgous and you also see a lot of hill tribes on the road.
Happy Travelling

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

Quoting Mikey B

Hi Cabo

Are you going to spend a full month in Laos?

If so then it's quite possible to visit the north & south of the country. However you've got to bare in mind that the further you go off the beaten track the slower the travelling.

Even though it gets many visitors you should plan on spending a few days in Luang Prabang. It really is the most beautiful place. A great setting on the banks of the Mekong, loads of temples and some great French colonial architecture. I remember meeting an American who reckoned Luang Prabang was the pinnacle of human achievement! Ok maybe that's stretching it a bit far but it does have that kind of effect on people.

Luang Prabang is also only a few hours away from the great Nam Ou River. Take a boat up to Muong Ngoi and hike into the hills to visit lesser visited villages surrounded by the most spectacular scenery.

If you do head south then the 4,000 Islands are a must. Seeing more and more visitors now that the Cambodia/Laos border is becoming more reliable but still a fascinating place to witness the slow pace of life on the river.

If you fancy somewhere a little more remote then I'd suggest the village of Mahaxi. A long bumpy pick-up ride from Thakhek, this village is set amongst stunning limestone hills on the banks of a river. I was the only foreigner when I visited. I believe it is possible to visit even more remote places from here.

If you want to avoid the worst excesses of the Laos backpacker scene you may want to consider avoiding Vang Vieng. Most people head here and many end up staying too long. However there's no denying the beauty of the location and it can be fun - especially the river tubing (a heady cocktail of fast water, death swings, killer weed and Beer Lao!!)

If that's a bit too 'Club 18-30' for you then tubing or canoeing up the Nam Ou from Muong Ngoi is highly recommended.

Hope this helps.

Have a good one

Mike

Hi Mike, you seem to be very knowledgeable about Laos. I am heading to Thailand in April, then to Chiang Mai and then the border of Burma and Laos. I dont have much time and I need to go to Angwor Wat and Saigon. Which one do you recommend: should I head down to Cambodia from the Mekong River or do Laos all the way to Vietnam and do a circle around Cambodia? I hear boats are the fastest mode of transportation in SE Asia (aside from planes) but I can decide time-wise which will be better. Any comments or suggestion will be greatly appreciated...:)