Luang Prabang - worth it for a time-pressed trip?
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Aug 10, 2012 2:11 AM Last Post By: agedtraveller41
Aug 7, 2012 10:34 AM
Luang Prabang - worth it for a time-pressed trip?I've got a group heading to Southeast Asia for 3 weeks in November and we're jumping around a bunch. My initial plan was to come up from Bangkok, cross through Vientiane, head on up to Luang Prabang for 3 days (skipping "Spring Break" in Vang Vieng) and then fly out to Hanoi. I understand the laid-back culture is a great experience in Laos, but right now, Luang Prabang is my one and only big draw to head up that way. However, the more I think about this trip, it's just extremely 'out of the way' (for lack of a better term) on a time-crunched trip. The easiest way seems to be to fly in/out, but then we're talking a good amount of money.
So my main question is: If Luang Prabang, my only 'destination' in Laos, is it worth either the extra travel time to get there (passing up other options in the region) or worth the extra cost to fly in/out of?
I will say that since doing my research, I can already tell this will not be my last time in this region...
Thanks for any help!
Aug 7, 2012 3:50 PM
1I'll offer an opinion: Wait until next time.
LP is a tourist city - nice for all its cheap amenities and relaxed atmosphere, but limited as to an appreciation of Lao people and culture. While well worth three days, to get so close to rural Laos and not have time to explore the richness of Laos I think is silly. It's like going to a fine restaurant and only having time for an appetizer. The main course is surprising and extraordianary, but it takes a week or two out of the central tourist meccas to see the grace and uniqueness of this country and its diverse people.
Aug 7, 2012 6:22 PM
Aug 7, 2012 8:03 PM
3I also think that Luang Prabang is worth visiting.
However, from your original post it sounds like you have no plan to see any parts of central or northern Thailand, between Bangkok and Laos. If that is the case, I wouldn't recommend going overland from Bangkok to Luang Prabang. It will take up too much of your time and will be tiring. It would be best to fly from Bangkok to Luang Prabang, but it depends whether your budget will allow it.
Aug 7, 2012 9:50 PM
4Personally I would skip Vietnam and spend the whole 3 weeks in Laos, but if you only have to go to one place in Laos then for me it would be Luang Prabang - Vientiane is very skipable for me especially with all the building work around the centre ATM. LP is what blew me away most about Laos although I did go tubing and had a brilliant time, so much so I came back this year to go again! As far as travelling, the train to Vientiane from BKK and them buses was fine and took in some lovely countryside (especially bus to Vang Vieng through the mountains), but if you're pushed and can afford it then fly.
Aug 9, 2012 3:01 AM
5I also loved Luang Prabang and I think I spent 5 or 6 days there. Easy to get around by rented bike. Lovely gardens and terraces by the river to sit on and just watch people or read a book. But also plenty of tempels and lovely markets and other things to see/do. A very pretty city with nice architecture.
You can read my blog entry for Luang Prabang to get an idea and to see photos.
I agree with #3, fly from Bangkok to Luang Prabang. Vientiane can be skipped. Instead, spend some time around Luang Prabang, for example to see the Kuang Si waterfalls, and the fabric weaving villages.
Aug 9, 2012 10:57 AM
Aug 10, 2012 2:11 AM
7If you are going to make the effort to visit LP (most of the sights can be visited in a few days), you might consider going further north: You can visit Nong Khiaw (or Muang Ngoi) (to Nong Khiaw it is only about 3 hours from LP by bus). Nong Khiaw has great scenery and you can kayak/ cycle/walk There is also a good boat trip (with scenic views) further up to Muang Khoua (between 3 to 5 hours). From here you can take a bus to Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam (6-7 hours). Then there are many buses onwards to Hanoi. You might decide that time would not allow this but it would be more interseting than flying between LP and Hanoi. The flight from LP to Hanoi is fairly expensive at about 90 GBP also.
I have done the above trip in reverse from Dien Bien Phu down to LP so it isn't as daunting as it might appear.
The above itinerary would take:
LP- 3 nights
Nong Khiaw- 1-2 nights
Muang Khoua- 1 night
DBP- 1 night (or even night bus onto Hanoi)
(3 star Hotel)
From US$51.55 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$72.73 per night
(5 star Hotel)
From US$186.79 per night