Our very rough Itinerary to Laos plus questions on transportation
Replies: 14 - Last Post: Mar 7, 2013 8:25 AM Last Post By: Grahamapoole
Mar 3, 2013 9:42 AM
Our very rough Itinerary to Laos plus questions on transportationHello guys
We are currently preparing our itinerary for Thailand and Laos for next August. We started with many options but ended up having many flights in between the places and also many places to visit that finally the plan looked really tiring. So, now, in the process of eliminating places and focusing on certain ones our itinerary looks like this:
Day 1: Flight arrives in Bangkok just after lunch time. We stay in an airport hotel (in order to avoid hassle to arrive in the airport from the city centre)
Day 2: Bangkok
Day 3: Bangkok
Day 4: Fly from Bangkok to Luang Prabang
Day 5: Luang Prabang
Day 6: Luang Prabang
Day 7: Luang Prabang
Day 8: Fly from Luang Prabang to Pakse - sleep in Pakse
Day 9: Pakse Cruise Mekong river - sleep on boat
Day 10: Pakse Cruise Mekong river - sleep on boat
Day 11: Pakse Cruise Mekong river - sleep in Pakse
Day 12: Pakse
Day 13 Pakse
Day 14: Now, here we want to go to Koh Samui for our last part of holidays in order to relax by the beach for 3 or 4 nights.
We found really difficult to find flights from Pakse to Bangkok. No direct ones. All have to go via Vientiane. We skipped Vientiane (even if it's the capital because we wanted to reduce the places plus to reduce flights between the places.I know we have the bus option as well but it will be a hassle to go to Vientiane only for one night. Also, I have read over the net that it's not the most beautiful place in Laos so we don't care to skip it.
In order to go to Koh Samui we need to arrive in Bangkok to get the flight. I found the option of a bus to Ubon Ratchathani which takes 3 hours (with 1 hour stop at the border - it costs 5 euro only) and from Ubon Ratchathani to take the train to Bangkok. I found the timetable for this train (i.e. I found that it leaves also around 14.50 from Ubon but elsewhere on the net they refer to an overnight train. I don't know what is the valid info. Overnight train means that it leaves later than 14.50... Also I don't know the exact duration of the trip. Is i 10 or 13 hours to Bangkok. We wouldn't mind to travel 1st class for being more comfortable. In any case this is by far cheapest option than taking the flight from Pakse to Bangkok!
Now, arriving in Bangkok, this train arrives at the central station or there is an option that it continues to the airport (in order to take the flight for Koh Samui?
I'm sure there is an official website of Thai trains for all this info...
Does anybody done this trip in the past and is it doable?
Lastly I wanted to ask about the allocation of our days in the cities listed in the itinerary... Do you think they are enough days for Luang Prabang and Pakse? Of course, it doesn't mean that necessarily we will staty all the days in the city. We will see what's around and arrange visits...And Koh Samui is better to spend 3 or 4 nights? I mean, except relaxing are there things to do or maybe stay in Pakse another one night and have only 3 nights in Koh Samui.
Well, many questions, I know:-) Any suggestion or any knowledge on the above is valuable!
Thanks to all!
Mar 3, 2013 10:09 AM
1i dont think that there is a reason to overnight at bangkok airport or in an airport hotel (especially not if your are going to spend a couple of days in bangkok anyway).
i think that your itinerary is pretty good. i love bangkok and i love luang prabang and could spend months there, but considering the time you have, your plan seems pretty good. you definitely dont need more time in pakse. i love samui, its one my favourite places to relax, enjoy the beach, swim, great food etc. i would stay there for at least 4 nights. if you dont like beaches and swimming, than spend one night more in luang prabang (not in pakse) or bangkok.
Mar 3, 2013 5:49 PM
2That's a lot of time in Pakse. If you've got a day or two, get out to the Bolevan PLateua (Attapeu/Seking/Tad lo) I believe the best of Laos can be found in the rural areas.
Is the Pakse Cruise Mekong a package program? I've not heard of it. The Mekong River is a big, busy wide muddy stripe that will only be as interesting as the other people on the boat. So I guess I'll ask "Why Pakse?" Nothing against the place but it doesn't highlight Laos if you are looking for an engaging, unique experience.
Most would supplement their Luang Prabang time by getting out to the Plain of Jars, or doing a trek out of Nong Khiaw or Luang Nam Tha. Then fly LP to Bkk, which is cheap and daily.
Mar 3, 2013 7:01 PM
3To be sure, check at the Pakse Lao Airlines office (212252; Th 11; 8-11.30am & 1.30-4.30pm Mon-Fri): Bangkok Airways and its subsidiary Siem Reap Airways should be flying a couple of services per week between Pakse and Bangkok (about US$110). Pakse Cruise is with cabin on board to overnight. You can book the 4-day southern Laos cruise which starts and ends in Pakse.
Mar 3, 2013 8:29 PM
4Big mistake avoiding Vientiane. You should not believe all the rubbish you read online.
Mar 3, 2013 11:44 PM
5Yes agree with stillwithus about the boat trip and there really is not much to do in Pakse. In fact, there is almost nothing to do. Does the boat trip include champasak and vat phu? Vat phu is certainly one of the highlights of Laos. I would concur that plain of jars is certainly worth a visit, and Vientiane is just about the most laid-back capital city in the world, and has some beautiful temples. Also great for restaurants.
I think you would be best of doing luang prabang, plain of jars, maybe vang Vieng now the feckwits have gone, and Vientiane - which also helps with onward transport.
Mar 4, 2013 12:41 AM
6I agree with VTEboy. Vientiane was a highlight of my Laos trip. Obviously it is a matter of taste, as there seems to be a consensus (well, almost) that it should be skipped in favour of other destinations.
If you can arrange, a side-trip to Kong Lor (2 nigths needed-direct bus from VTE) wouldn't disappoint you.
Mar 4, 2013 3:27 AM
Mar 4, 2013 2:04 PM
9Guys thank you so much for all the replies!!
To answer some of your questions...
Listing in our itinerary a city (i.e. Luang Prabang or Pakse) it doesn't mean that we will spend all days in the city! We are looking forward of booking our accommodation in the city and also maybe do some day trips around. I know that it takes many hours in Laos to travel even in relatively short distances but for example Bolevan Plateau can be easily done while staying in Pakse. If needed, maybe while in Luang Prabang for instance, we can travel somewhere around and stay overnight if the excursion is not doable in one day. Btw, everybody says about Plain of jars but although I have no idea about the background info of this place, I didn't find it so interesting to be honest. It is a landmark yes, I don't deny this but if I have to choose certain places to visit this wouldn't be in.
Also, regarding the cruise in Mekong river, yes, it is an organised cruise (www.vatphou.com) which travels you to Vat Phou, Champassak and 4000 islands. I truly wish it's worth doing it because it costs quite a lot for just 2 nights on board. I hope we will not end up seeing just a muddy river (somebody said this above) and nohing else:-)
We know that the beauty of Laos is mainly its rural places and nature and we hope that having Pakse and Luang Prabang as bases we will be able to go around a bit. Do you still think Pakse occupies many days? Even if we will visit around. I don't know if we can go up to Attapeu (as this is quite far) but trips of 3 hours for instance can be done... Maybe by bus or a couch.
Anybody knows the River resort hotel in Laos? It seems to be a great place to stay...
Mar 4, 2013 2:07 PM
10And btw, no, there are no direct flights from Pakse to Bangkok (even with Siem Reap airways or Bangkok airways). I've checked it out...all go via Vientiane. Yes, there are flight from Ubon Ratchatani to Bangko for 90 euro... I looked for it and maybe this is an option. We just wanted to limit the flights as we ended up having many flights and of course raising the cost...
Mar 4, 2013 5:03 PM
11Rather than all that time in pakse, you may want to try this nearby place out http://www.kingfisherecolodge.com/
Mar 6, 2013 3:43 PM
12We were just in Pakse last December and agree with the others, not much to do or see there. The Bolaven Plateau is well worth at least a day trip and better if you can overnight at one of the waterfalls (Tad Lo or Tad Fan). Unfortunately taking public transport almost anywhere on the Plateau causes one to lose most of a day for each leg and is better done with your own transport.
Lao Airlines flies Pakse to Bangkok with a stop in Savannakhet and seemed to be a very popular route when we were visiting Savannakhet on the same above mentioned trip. The flight time is listed as 2 hours 20 minutes including the stop and costs $165 USD including taxes.
I happen to love Vientiane and never find it dull even after 4 visits and a total of 14 days in all.
Mar 6, 2013 6:12 PM
Mar 7, 2013 8:25 AM
14My impression of reading your topic is that you haven't invested in a guidebook, cos your itinerary aint that rational.
Many of the above comments are well-thought-thru, I would certainly not miss VTE but why leap from LP to a rather unexciting Pakse and the South when 70% of the country's interesting bits are to the North of VTE. (This is demonstrated if you compare the proportion of pages dedicated to each half of the country in each guidebook)
Altho guidebooks are far from perfect, trhey are close to a consensus view on most things and you will save the few dollars cost within hours as you find half-decent flops and travel options.
(3 star Hotel)
From US$57.24 per night
Ko Pha-NganBook now
(3 star Hotel)
From US$50.06 per night
Ko Phi-Phi DonBook now
(0 star Hotel)
From US$14.21 per night