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Where to trek in laos and opinions in the itinerary

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I was thinking about doing some trekking in laos, even if just an one day trek.

I'm thinking about doing this itinerary:

Huay Xai->bus->Luang Nam Tha-> (not sure yet if going->Muang Sing->) bus->Muang xai->bus->Muang Khua->boat->Muang Ngoi->boat->Nong Khiaw->boat->Luang Phrabang

I choose mostly traveling by boat because of the rainy season and hopefully some great views :)

I never did any trekking in organized tours but in Madeira about a year ago, it was just half of the day and not very expensive, ~30 euros?
What would your advice be in respect of the best trekking location and type(jungle, hill tribes) from your experience?

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    We really enjoyed trekking around the Muang Sing area. It is all about visiting the ethnic minority villages which are many and varied. It was a long time ago that I was there but it was very unspoilt with just one or two trekking operators. The accomodation was very basic and the food also, but the scenery and most of all the people were wonderful. I doubt it has changed a great deal.

    Travelling by boat is great and, in the rainy season, probably the most effective means of transport! Muang Noi was also nice as I recall but I think Luang Namtha may have grown quite a bit and is no longer the sleepy little town it once was.

    Don't try to pack too much in and leave some leeway for the inevitable delays. That area is one of my favourite parts of Asia

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    Thank you so much crellston, you've been a great help to me.
    How many time do you think I should allow based on your experience? It's the part on my itinerary I'm most looking forward to in my first trip to SEA and I don't mind taking days off other parts if necessary. When i first made my itinerary i didn't knew much of northen Laos.

    The trek you did was of how many days? I was leaning to some trekking with ethnic minority villages as well.

    If going to Muang Sing, Luang Namtha to me would more like a place in between since there's not a way to get there directly from Huay Xai.

    Another question, you did also advice me to get to Cambodia through Laos, how does the south compares to the north? I don't know why but the southern part of Laos doesn't seam as attractive to me as the northern. I'll fly in and out Bangkok and I don't know if I'll have time to Cambodia since I'll just have about a month or I might cut Vang Vieng and Vientiane and fly from Luang Prabang to Phnom Phen or Siem Reap depending on the time I've got left.
    The thing is, I would like to be one of that persons that go without any schedules and just decide if they want to stay more or less in one place when they arrive, but i think I won't have time to give me that kind of flexibility during my trip as much as I'd love to.

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    You are very welcome Mariana.

    I think we spent a total of two weeks in Northern Lao and certainly didn't get bored. Travel is slower there than in any other part of Asia I can think of. This is partly due to road conditions etc. but also to the nature of the place. The people are so laid back, time just seems to be less important somehow. LP is worth 3-4 days to chill,out and explore the temples in town. Add a day or two if you want to explore some of the outlying villages. The Buddha caves, the Kuang Si falls, weaving villages are not worth it IMO. Possibly allow 7 days for trekking and visiting other places in the north. 10 would be better.

    It is easier now than it used to be to travel in the area but is still not straightforward. Given that you are new to the region and to trekking I would suggest that you do consider some form of organised tour. To buy a tour of the whole region is unnecessary and expensive, better to organise your own transport from place to place and organise trekking on arrival. As said previously, you do need to build in some extra time for unforeseen problems (e.g. Bus/boats not running, guides not available etc.

    The choices you will have for trekking are to do day treks from a central point e.g stay in MS or LN and do individual treks out to the village or, an organised trek from point A to B - LN to MS is an option. It would be worth contacting a number of operators in Lao to see what is on offer but I would wait until you get there to book so you can check them out and negotiate on price and, maybe meet up with other travellers to share costs.

    Southern Lao is complete different from the north. The north is all mountains and jungle, the south, plains and rivers ( apart from the Bolavens plateau) both are beautiful in their own way but I do prefer the north.

    My suggestion to travel overland from Cambodia through Southern Laos was baed on your original plan. It does take time and, on balance, that time may be better spent elsewhere. Many people love Vientienne and Vang Vieng, I don't and would probably cut them out in favour of including Phnom Penh, Siem Reap etc. but that is just my subjective view.

    Like you, I always prefer to travel without schedules but with just a month, you do need a firm outline plan so as to make the most of your time. You don't need to book everything in advance so you will have some flexibility to change things as you go.

    Have look at http://www.travelfish.org/location/laos/northern_laos/luang_nam_tha/muang_sing their information is more up to date than mine and, if you click the link , bottom right, that will provide info on trekking operators. Contact a few and ask for suggestions.

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