I only went to Luang Prabang and avoid Vang Vieng because I’ve sorta outgrown the “party ’til u puke” on happy pizza and sit around and watch “Friends” all day. I had also gone in April (last year) during the “dry season” and the boat ride from Vang Vieng to Luang Praband (where I really wanted to go) would have been 12+ hours.
My trip to SE Asia was a spiritual one and I got up early in the morning to watch the monks receive alms in Luang Prabang. Also, since I had gone there in April, it was their New Years, so I wanted to celebrate it as locally as I can…Luang Prabang has become a bit of a tourist trap, but there are some quiet moments you can find.
There is rock climbing and other interesting things to do there…beware of the elephant tours though and make sure you go to the rescue place, not the tourist trap where they hit the elephants on the head with a hammer to make them move!!!
There is the cave that you have to take a boat ride to where old status of Buddah are placed. The boat ride is totally worth going on.
I also took a cooking class while I was there where the Naked Chef took a class. It was so much fun and totally worth the US $25-40 I spent (I can’t remember how much I spent, but it was as much as a the cost of a nice hotel room). It was really expensive, but totally worth it.
Xuay xai – as far as i remember this is the gateway to Laos coming from Thailand. nothing more than that. no need to stay there unless u arrive after the boats going to luang prabang had already left.
PakBeng – stop over in the 2-day slow-boat ride from xuay xai to luang prabang. i think there is no other way to get there :) its kinda cool small (really small) town, but again, like xuay xai its a forced-stay if u take the slow boat from xuay xai.
Luang prabang – everything that the one before me said. Plus, there is some waterfall park (forgot what its called). ask for it, its awesome!). i think 4 days is a minimum there. trekking in the near by jungles is also recommended, for 3-4 more days.
Vang Vieng – Chilling, watching DVDs all day long, tubing….two nice lagoons. i spent 5 days there (a full all-seasons of friends watching), but 3 may suffice.
Vientiane – really big city, some temples…worth a day and a half of touring.
if u want some pics, contact me (or any other detail)
Hiya! If you’re interested in the Gibbon Experience (I didn’t do it, but it sounded really cool), it’s not far from Xuay xai, as soon as you cross over into Laos from Thailand. My friend wanted to do it, and she didn’t find out where it was until after we’d already done the two day slowboat trip to Luang Prabang, so if you’re interested in it, don’t get on the slow boat until you’ve done it!
Also, be sure to bring as much cash as you’ll need before you get to Laos— there are NO ATMs. I brought what I thought would be enough, thinking that by the time I rolled into Vientiane, I would be able to withdraw money from the much talked about sole ATM in Laos. No such luck! It doesn’t accept debit cards and it doesn’t even accept VISA cards! The only card it does accept is Mastercard, so if you have one, good for you, but if you don’t, bring more than what you think you’ll need. Regardless of whether you have a Mastercard or not, remember that you sill have to make it to Vientiane before you can get more. I exchanged about 4000 Thai Baht for one week in Laos, and I was finding myself a little strapped by the time I got to Vientiane.
Anyway, I hope that helps. Have a good time! Laos is beautiful!!!
We absolutely loved Laos. It exceeded our expectations. Just got back home four days ago.
We spent only an evening in Vientiane but it looked more interesting than I expected. I’d go back. Stayed at the Orchid Guesthouse – not so clean (wouldn’t choose again).
Party gal or not (I used to be but am not now) Vang Vieng shouldn’t be missed in my opinion. It was really beautiful and had something fun for everyone. Very laid back and off the beaten path. Cute bamboo bridges at the north end of town. North end was more active, we stay at the lovely Thavansouk Resort ($55 for a private bungalo) at the quiet south end of town.
Luang Prabang was also everything I hoped it would be. However, we also had difficulty with money. Visa issued traveller checks were cashed with reluctancy at only one place. Couldn’t cash advance off our Visa for various reasons, no ATM for Visa, and if your dollar bills (normally accepted) had the slightest tear (like 3 mm) it was rejected. Check your bills carefully. Thai baht can be used as well as (perfect) dollars in addition to Kip.
Have fun! What nice people and a lovely land!
No problem with the shady looking ATM in LP. Had to Cash advance visa in VV, but an ATM exists there also. LP is beautiful, find a place near the river. Rent a bike and cruise highway 13 out to Phonsavanh… VV is a horrible place for some and wonderful for others. I will refrain from commenting, other than that I enjoyed doing some hiking about and checking out some small caves.
Pak Beng is wondeful little town, and I’m guessing you’re forced into it by using the slow boat. No matter, It’s a great trip, very revealing, relaxing to hang with your friends and a book – bring a cushion unless you are used to sitting on a hard floor for long periods. Walk a few kilometres out of town in Pak Beng and meet some of the local kids – they’ll be all over you just to practice some english. If you can, the plateau motorbike tour (rent a bike and a map in Pakse) is very cool, gives a nice, ligth SEasian driving experience, and shows a huge array of villages, waterfalls, coffee plantations, et cetera. It takes an overnight bus from vientiane to get to pakse, but If you have at least three days to spare, I recommend it. If you have more questions, PM me.
Answer this question