Advice on Laos

Jul 18th, 2005, 04:10 AM
  #1  
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Advice on Laos

Hi, I am looking to go to Laos in October - 5 nights - 2 Vietiane and 3 Luang Prabang. I have been looking at tours (booking from UK) which includes flights between V and LP or should I book myself and organise excurisions as we go along? As we are not there for long I thought a tour maybe easier and include the major attractions?

Lastly can you recommend any good hotels? Have been looking at Settha Palace Hotel in Vietiane, not sure about LP but want to be in town.

I really look forward to reading your comments and advice.


patsey73 is offline  
Jul 18th, 2005, 04:38 AM
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Bbok it yourself, the TA will add little. We stayed at the Settha Palace in Vientiane and really liked it. The town is not great tho. Do go to Papaya Spa - www.papayaspa.com - one of my favs. In LP look at Villa Santi - right in the city. Also look at 3 Nagas or Auberge de Calao - small guest house type properties. I think your trip may be short if you are flying in from the UK and flying straight back - long flights, jet lag, etc. Maybe you should consider doing only LP?
hobbes is offline  
Jul 18th, 2005, 06:08 AM
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Hobbes, thanks very much for your post will definitely try the spa - do you think 1 night is enough in V?

We are including Laos in our holiday to Thailand which includes Bkk and Ko Sumai (will be posting another question) shortly.

Did you get a taxi from the hotel and I guess I can book trips locally? I'd like to go to the caves, trip along the Mekong etc.,

I have get to buy the LP for Laos, were there some good restaurants to eat at?



patsey73 is offline  
Jul 18th, 2005, 06:32 AM
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Yes, definitely book yourself, you'll save half! It's very easy to get a guide or driver or boat as you need one. You really don't want to go on a tour to the Pak Ou caves, as you can get a boat to yourselvves for very little money and be able to explore the caves on your own. If it were me, I'd opt ro spend all of my time in LP, as it's a very lovely town. I stayed at the Pansea, which is right on the edge of town and loved it.

There are some very good places to eat in LP. Actually, when we were there the Pansea had the best Laotion food in town. The recent restaurant review in the NYT raved about the food at the 3 Nagas. L'Elephant is excellent, and we loved eating on the balcony overlooking the street at the Villa Santi.
Kathie is online now  
Jul 18th, 2005, 08:05 AM
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I think 1 night in Vientiane is planty. The higlight of our Vientiane trip was an overnight at an eco resort called Ban Poko - for US$12/night we had the most amazing acco in the midst of nowehere. Totally loved it. There is another great eco resort near LP called The Boathouse Landing or something. There are great restaurants in V near Settha Palace, a small piazza type area with 4-5 options. IN LP good eating options on the town main road. If you stay at Villa Santi go to the Pansea for 1 meal. We did the caves by kayak with an adventure tour co in the city - we booked it after we reached. We did the waterfall by tuktuk, orgd after we reached LP as well.
hobbes is offline  
Jul 18th, 2005, 08:25 AM
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Well you have helped me make up my mind, I will just book the hotels and sort out activities when we arrive.

I am now wondering if it is worth flying to Vietiane for a night?

The tips on the restaurants are great and I will be sampling them.

I have read about the Pansea and the reviews are great but wasn't sure if it is too far out of town? Can you can get taxi easily enough in the eve? I did read somewhere that is was difficult to.

Thanks once again for both of your replies.
patsey73 is offline  
Jul 18th, 2005, 12:05 PM
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The Pansea is right at the edge of town. You don't really get taxi's in town, you get a tuk-tuk. The hotel also has a shuttle and will drive you into to town. I never had any difficulty getting where I wanted to go in LP.

There are two places that are a fair distance out of town, teh Grand and teh Villa Santi Resort. There may be more difficulties getting into town from those.
Kathie is online now  
Jul 18th, 2005, 12:18 PM
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Well I think the Pansea it is, at least I have one hotel chosen for this trip.

I am swaying towards missing out on Vietiane and chilling in LP.
patsey73 is offline  
Jul 18th, 2005, 12:24 PM
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Make your reservation for the Pansea immediately. Places tend to book up early in LP as it has become a popular destination (we are waitlisted for the Pansea in February).
Craig is offline  
Jul 18th, 2005, 11:53 PM
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Craig thanks for the tip, going to sort it out today.
patsey73 is offline  
Jul 19th, 2005, 08:01 PM
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lots of people are having trouble booking hotels in LP even way in advance....beware...
rhkkmk is offline  
Aug 10th, 2005, 07:19 AM
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LP is quite small so you dont really have to worry about how far anything is. The key "tour", is of the Wats and Mt Phou si, and is best done on one's own, on foot, simply following a map. Set out at dawn, as the day gets hot. Then we enjoyed a long lunch in airconditioned comfort, before setting out again when its cooler. Stayed at Pansea and highly recommend it. Make sure to go to 3 nagas and Apsara for sublime food. With only 5 days better skip V. Go to Vientiane if you need shopping (silks, handwoven cotton clothes, silk table runners, silver jewelry, Asian housewares etc. at a fraction of the price: Mixay boutic, morning market, Mandarina. Papaya spa also a must, you can spend the whole day there with massages, facials etc. for $60!
Aoth is offline  
Aug 10th, 2005, 07:33 AM
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I have been to Vietiane and Luang Prabang, and I would skip Vietiane. We had a friend to visit there so probably would not have been there otherwise. If I were revisiting Luang Prabang I would stay nearer the town, although we had no problem getting into town by tuk-tuk. We stayed at the Le Parasol Blanc in both cities-not bad but sure other places mentioned are better.
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Aug 10th, 2005, 07:57 AM
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I disagree with the people who say skip Vientiane. If you only visit LP, you only see one quite touristy (but very beautiful) city in Laos. The Settha Palace is wonderful, the shopping and restaurants are very good and much cheaper than in LP, and there are some really nice spas. I enjoyed my two days in Vientiane very much and would recommend going if you have the time. It will give your trip to Laos an added dimension.
Mealea is offline  
Aug 10th, 2005, 08:12 AM
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Thank you for your replies. I have already now booked the trip to Laos and we are just to LP. Staying at the La Residence as was the Pansea (sp?). We are spending four nights there and we are going to do exploring independantly with the help of some tips from Bob. Want to visit the caves as well.
patsey73 is offline  
Aug 10th, 2005, 09:42 AM
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Have a wonderful time, patsey. I loved LP and would gladly return. The Pak Ou caves trip is delightful. I also enjoyed the trips to the two waterfalls outside of town, the silk weaving village (I'm sure Bob told you about this, as I know Karen bought things there), and we visited some Hmong villages as it was Hmong new year when we were there.

Do climb Mt. Phousi, visit the Palace museum, and visit a number of the working wats (all of which are very different from each other).

I highly recommend lunch on the balcony of the Villa Santi.

I expect you'll love the Pansea, we did.
Kathie is online now  
Aug 10th, 2005, 10:06 AM
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kathie---the VS is even nicer now that the pool has been built out back and you would look out over it to the lovely fields and then hills...
rhkkmk is offline  
Aug 10th, 2005, 11:13 AM
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Bob, I was referring to the Villa Santi in town not the resort. Though it sounds like the resort is much improved.
Kathie is online now  
Aug 10th, 2005, 01:49 PM
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patsey, I stayed at the Settha Palace for 2 nights two years ago and it was wonderful. I emailed ahead to Cindy (the manager, wonder if she is still there) to tell her we would be arriving on our 15th wedding anniversary and asked for a nice room. We paid for a standard room and she upgraded us to an executive suite which was absolutely lovely.

When there, ask about a massage. Cindy called in a masseuse(sp?) who came to the room and gave me a fabulous 1 hour massage for...are you ready?....$5!!!

In LP, we stayed at the Villa Santi Resort, about 15 minutes outside of town. It was lovely (massages there were $10 an hour) Some think it's too far from town but we didn't mind. It's a scenic ride and the resort provides free shuttles to the Villa Santi Hotel in town. If you don't want to wait for the shuttle, a "taxi" is a dollar or two.
laurieco is online now  
Aug 10th, 2005, 08:10 PM
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kathie---i did forget that
rhkkmk is offline  
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