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SE Asia Experts: Burma/Laos 2nd Time for Both in 12 days

SE Asia Experts: Burma/Laos 2nd Time for Both in 12 days

Old Feb 13th, 2011, 10:49 AM
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SE Asia Experts: Burma/Laos 2nd Time for Both in 12 days

Looking at February next year. Burma trip would be Mandalay and Ngpali. Laos, Vientiane and ? Suggestions? What is possible in the time allotted?
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Old Feb 13th, 2011, 11:11 AM
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Hi Craig, the leading contender right now for our Nov/Dec trip is a return to Burma! We also didn't get to Mandalay and would like to go there and we want to go to Mrauk U.

12 days for Burma and Laos sounds squeezed to me. Logistically, you could do it, I'm sure, but the question would be whether you felt you had enough time or whether it would be rushed and exhausting like your last trip to India.
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Old Feb 13th, 2011, 12:02 PM
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Hey Kathie, I'm figuring we need 3 nights/2 days to "do" Mandalay and maybe 3 nights/2 days at Ngpali plus the mandatory one or two nights in Rangoon. Maybe we should just do Bangkok and Vientiane in addition to that. Or is there somewhere else in Burma worth visiting since we are there? Alternatively we could do a 10-day Pandaw cruise which includes Mandalay - there is a departure in February 2012 - don't know if that's for us though...

That trip to India wasn't really rushed - we had enough time at each place - what exhausted us was so much time spent in airports, which seems to be a problem no matter what we do these days. For our Singapore-Malaysia trip in July the flight itinerary is BDL-ORD-HKG-SIN-KCH-KUL-LGK-PEN-SIN-HKG-ORD-BDL. Granted, most of the take-offs and landings are involved in just going between the east coast USA and SE Asia, but I think you can see my point.
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Old Feb 13th, 2011, 12:45 PM
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I guess I was the one who felt exhausted reading your trip report! Sometimes the air connections are so complicated. And Burma/Laos will be like that.

I'm still researching where else we might want to go in Burma. Right now, we think Mandalay, Mrauk U and Rangoon, but may add another stop. We'll also be spending some time in Bangkok.
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Old Feb 13th, 2011, 01:28 PM
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Craig,

It can be done. You need to catch earliest flight available to Ngapali. We did Yangoon to Napali. We stayed 3 nights in Ngapali. It was quiet and relaxing. They have nice resorts in Napali. I have been to Napali Beach twice. We were there in 2006 & 2010. Ngapali beach is idyllic and uncrowded. We had 7 nights between, Yangoon, Bagan & Napali.
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Old Feb 13th, 2011, 06:11 PM
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If I hadn't run short on energy this trip I was planning to fly into Mandalay and then go north, but I would have been roughing it. If I were traveling with your time constraints I think I would just do Myanmar - Laos seems to have been well and truly discovered since I was here last. Not sure where you went in Laos last time - did you get to Champasak? I have the latest Lonely Planet Laos and a lot of places seem to have opened up recently. My favorite memory of trips to Laos is a slow boat ride up the Nam Ou to Green River, but it certainly wasn't luxury.
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Old Feb 13th, 2011, 07:43 PM
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doubt the slow boat to any place is your bag....
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Old Feb 13th, 2011, 09:52 PM
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Well, you don't want to take the fast boat - too dangerous and too noisy. The slow boat only takes a day, but there's not much luxury when you get to Green River still, either. However, the scenery is stunning, and the trip is magical, and so is the night sky at Green River.
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Old Feb 13th, 2011, 10:49 PM
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Hey Craig, we are looking at Burma also for this Christmas but it's making my head hurt trying to figure out where to go!!!
I would say you only really need a couple of days to see Vientiane ( you may remember from my report I liked it) but am not sure it's worth all the effort as a solo visit to Laos. (although have you seen the Easter and Oriental train now does trips from BKK to Vientiane.... That could be a nice option -although supremely expensive)
Eastern and oriental also have a Burma cruise which I am toying with it's called "the road to Mandalay"
I just have to get my head around A) a cruise B) the cost. David would welcome the release from yet another flight though. I will watch your planning with interest and will look to dig out yours and Kathies previous Burma reports.
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Old Feb 14th, 2011, 07:21 PM
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"(although have you seen the Easter and Oriental train now does trips from BKK to Vientiane.... That could be a nice option -although supremely expensive)"

You can't go to Vientiane as there is no track laid to there. You would only go to Thanaleng station, (about 22 km from Vientiane), and then presumably be transported by bus or mini vans.
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Old Feb 14th, 2011, 07:42 PM
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Craig when I was looking at both Laos and Burma I could only find that you had to fly back to Bangkok each time. Bkk-LP or Vientiane and then back to BKK to Rangoon and back to BKK again. Seemed like a lot of time involved to do that imo.
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Old Feb 14th, 2011, 09:59 PM
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VB I know exactly where the train stops as I went past there when I was in Vientiane. I dare say they do take you in a mini bus but for the prices they charge it's bound to be lovely. I said they do a trip to Vientiane, I didn't say they train goes ALL the way to Vientiane.
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Old Feb 15th, 2011, 06:12 PM
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"I didn't say they train goes ALL the way to Vientiane."

"....train now does trips from BKK to Vientiane"

ahem!
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Old Feb 15th, 2011, 06:34 PM
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VB, but it doesn't go much further than the train did before they extended the tracks across the bridge (down the middle of the road, I noticed). In fact, LP says it's 19km into Vientiane from the border post if you get off the train at Nong Khai and take a tuk-tuk to the border and bus (which is waiting after you clear Thai immigration) across the bridge, versus 23km if you take the train across the bridge.
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Old Feb 15th, 2011, 07:10 PM
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splitting hairs
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Old Feb 15th, 2011, 07:31 PM
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Bob the next time you fly into Bangkok note that the airport is not in Bangkok!
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Old Feb 15th, 2011, 09:33 PM
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"In fact, LP says it's 19km into Vientiane from the border post if you get off the train at Nong Khai and take a tuk-tuk to the border and bus (which is waiting after you clear Thai immigration) across the bridge, versus 23km if you take the train across the bridge."

Yes that is correct. The plan is to extend the railway to Vientiane eventually, and then build a high speed rail connecting Thailand, Lao, Vietnam and China.

Hanuman, I thought you knew something about Thailand, (I atually had the impression you were Thai?). You are correct when you say the airport is not in Krungthep, but rather in Racha Thewa. However the airport is also called Bangkok International Airport. On the other hand Thanaleng station, the terminus, is called Thanaleng and NOT Vientiane. Not so hard is it?
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Old Feb 15th, 2011, 11:45 PM
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VB I think you should stop trying to distract this thread. All Smeagol tried do was to recommend to Craig about the new train journey by E&O who advertised it as being from Bangkok to Vientiane.
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Old Feb 16th, 2011, 06:06 AM
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Hanuman that's exactly what I was doing but as usual VB likes to make a point! I am irritated that I responded to his infantile postings...

Craig - eager to hear how the planning is going.
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Old Feb 16th, 2011, 06:43 AM
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Back to Craig's questions...

I am re-reading my LP guidebook, and browsing though several other books trying to decide where to go in Burma this trip (in addition to Mandalay and Mrauk U). There are so many interesting places. I want to do some more research on which ethnic groups have agreements with the government that they can collect fees from visitors and retain them for the economic development of their people (such as the Pa-O have). I'd like to go farther north, deeper into Shan territory, for instance. There are also a couple of spectacular train rides in the north. It's clear that I'll need more than one more trip to cover the places I want to go!
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