Laos Route Planning Help

Dec 31st, 2008, 05:37 PM
  #1  
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Laos Route Planning Help

Hi.

I will be spending 14-15 days in Laos. I am flying into Vientiane and flying out of Luang Prabang.

I am also interested in seeing Plain of Jars and 4000 Islands.

I'm having difficulty figuring out the best route to see these places. Should I go from Vientiane to 4000 Islands, back to Vientiane and then Plain of Jars to Luang Prabang? Or is there a better, more reliable route?
gtrekker2003 is offline  
Dec 31st, 2008, 05:39 PM
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I'm actually debating between Plain of Jars and Bolovens Plateau. Any suggestions on which would be better? Or is one better than the other in terms of convenience for my itinerary? Thanks again!
gtrekker2003 is offline  
Dec 31st, 2008, 07:34 PM
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Well, have you looked at a map? Southern Laos is long and narrow. As far as I know there is only one major road so I suppose you could deviate off to the side to different places southbound and northbound to ring the changes, but otherwise it will be hard not to trace your steps (something I hate to do, don't you?). Of course, maybe you are planning to fly one way or both ways.

Have you been to Siem Reap? If not then I know what I would do. I would fly into SR instead of Vientiane; then from there fly to Pakse. Pakse is much closer to 4000 Islands than Vientiane. You could visit Chapasak on the way there and Don Khong on the way back. Each of these journeys can be a mixture of small boat and road if you like.

Even if you have been to SR maybe the idea of a second visit appeals.

Cheers.

afterall is offline  
Dec 31st, 2008, 07:35 PM
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I haven't yet made it to the Plain of Jars but would like to. I have however been to LP a couple of times, Vientiane 3 times and the south just this year.

From a convenience point of view then the Bolovan is good if you are going to 4000 Islands. From Vientiane you can fly or bus down to Pakse. From there you go up to the Plateau - its interesting and lovely. I stayed up there a couple of nights but many people base themselves in Pakse and go only for day trips. Then again from Pakse you head down to the Islands. Also very interesting area - I spent 10 days in this southern area this year and would love to have some more time.

From Vientiane you can fly or bus up to LP (or Plain of jars but flights aren't every day). From LP its a bit of a hike out to Plain of Jars - usually a bus trip for the day and then stay over 1 or 2 nights.

I usually spend at least 4 nights and usually 6 in Vientiane - most people spend less but I like it. Likewise LP I loved and spent a week first time and 12 days the second. I think its so much busier now though that maybe I would spend less.

Where ever you chose will be good.
MaryW is offline  
Dec 31st, 2008, 07:39 PM
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Also gtrekker - where are you flying from. If its Bangkok its often better and way cheaper to take an internal flight in Thailand to either Udon Thani (for Vientiane) or Ubon Ratchathani (for Pakse) or Bangkok Air also flys to Pakse but only on a few days a week.

If you can head into the south via Ubon Ratchathani and over the border to Pakse it saves a lot of backtracking - its easy and quite a bit cheaper.

If you have already been to SR or don't want to go through Cambodia this trip then its a good alternative.
MaryW is offline  
Dec 31st, 2008, 07:40 PM
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Another thought. You could fly into BKK and travel overland (bus and or train) to Ubon Ratchathani and then over the border to Pakse.

afterall is offline  
Dec 31st, 2008, 08:19 PM
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Thanks afterall and MaryW.

I am flying from Kathmandu to Vientiane. It is part of a RTW ticket. And then I am flying from Luang Prabang to Hanoi. The other problem is that I bought my ticket from Vientiane to Luang Prabang for the wrong date. Initially, thinking I could fly to Pakse and then take the side trips from there to 4000 Islands and Bolovens Plateau.

Not sure if Lao Airlines will allow me to change the date on my ticket for a penalty? Maybe not.

I was quite keen on seeing 4000 Islands and Bolvens Plateau but wondering if I should change my plans and look for other places leaving from Luang Prabang instead now.

I wasn't planning to consider bus trips or driving just because it would take so much time and I'm not there for very long. I was going to plan on flying. Unless the bus is reliable or timely?
gtrekker2003 is offline  
Dec 31st, 2008, 08:35 PM
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Who flies Kathmandu to Vientiane? Nobody direct, I'm pretty certain. I hope you're on the Thai connecting flights via BKK. That way the flying/transit time is only 6 hours. All the other combinations take 11, 12 up to 15 hours.
dogster is offline  
Dec 31st, 2008, 08:44 PM
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It is via BKK. Stops for fuel I think.
gtrekker2003 is offline  
Dec 31st, 2008, 08:55 PM
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lol gtrekker. It stops so that you can get off the plane and get onto another one.
dogster is offline  
Dec 31st, 2008, 09:47 PM
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Yes Gtrekker as Dogster says it will be a different plane!

Check with Lao re a time change - they are full fare prices not discount so you might not have to pay a penalty.

Hey Dogster if you are still looking in - Happy New Year - hope it was a good one last night! However you spent it.

MaryW is offline  
Dec 31st, 2008, 10:02 PM
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Heya Mary! And to you. I did the traditional tragic Dogster New Year. Alone. Arooo. But that was my choice. I'm not a Chrissy and NY kinda guy - I don't get in the least sooky, I just don't do it.

But I love that New Year Fresh Start Feeling, eh? [sounds like a toothpaste ad]. I hope your 'roo scarred sweetheart has recovered.
dogster is offline  
Dec 31st, 2008, 10:23 PM
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Thanks Dogster - he's much better - back on the bike and all. We don't do the usual at this time either if we can possibly avoid it. Much prefer to stay at home and have a good bottle of wine! Had to go to small gathering to be polite last night. Not bad though as we did Sydney New Year and were well and truly home before the WA version! Lots and lots of roos on the road but all well behaved for a change.

Sorry Gtrekker - don't mean to use your thread but need to talk to a Dog at New Year.
MaryW is offline  
Jan 1st, 2009, 12:43 AM
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gtrekker, I have been to Laos a fe times and hope to return again soon IMHO Vientienne is only worth a dayb as a transit to, the Plain of Jars is not worth the time it takes to get there but the Bolaven plateau is great (although I was there about 8/9 years ago and doubtless it has changed somewhat) with 14 days I would strongly recommend a trip to the far north - Luang Namtha, Muang Sing etc.. which is by far the most picturesque and interesting part of Laos. Afterall gives sound advice re overland travel from Cambodia or Thailand, you will see much more if taking this approach rather than flying everywhere (but having just finished a year travelling on a RTW ticket, I know what a pain they can be to change!). Have fun, you are making me want to pack my bags again!
crellston is offline  
Jan 1st, 2009, 08:12 AM
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gtrekker - air asia fly BKK to UBP (Ubon Ratchathani).
vhs100 is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2009, 01:02 AM
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The bus journey from Vientiane to LP is longish (c. 8hrs) but the scenery is fantastic.

afterall is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2009, 05:47 AM
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You could break the bus journey between Vientiane and LP in Vang Vieng - great scenery, but totally touristy. Otherwise I agree with afterall, great road trip.
thursdaysd is offline  
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