Luang Prabang to???
Replies: 10 - Last Post: May 27, 2013 1:10 AM Last Post By: cdmarcos
May 24, 2013 3:39 AM
Luang Prabang to???We are travelling to Laos from Bangkok in July. We have 20 days in total. My plan is to travel from Bangkok to Luang Prabang and this leg of the trip will take up 11-12 days.
So we have 8 days left. As I see it we can either:
1) Go by boat/bus in combination to Chiang Rai (3-4 days), move on to Chiang Mai and take the night train to Bangkok just before our return to Europe.
2) Go by plane from Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai, then spent 4-6 days i the Chiang Mai area, go to Bangkok and spent a few days before returning to Europe
3) Go by plane from Luang Prabang to Bangkok - sidetrip to Koh Samed.
I'd like to stick to overland travel, but as we are travelling with our children (3 and 7) - I'm really concerned about the trip between Luang Prabang and Thailand - 3 days, really???? Even for experienced backpackers like us it seems discouraging, What to do?
May 24, 2013 4:31 AM
1Depends on how your kids deal with hilly/twisty/bumpy roads vs. many hours sitting in a river boat. The road up to Luang Prabang is already quite hilly and windy, then to the Thai border at Huay Xai it's either more of the same (14+ hour bus ride) or two days sitting in a slow boat. Also in July can be rainy and north Laos hills are prone to wet season mudslides which can cause road delays. I'd say go with option 2, fly to Chiang Mai and do day trips from there. Either that or fly to Samui which is usually sunny in July and has loads of kid-friendly resorts.
May 24, 2013 4:37 AM
2kids 3 and 7 will ove the speedboat and so do I despite all teh negative press from those deterred by it
1 take speedboat luam Phrabang to Hoyxai border and cross as soon as you arrive then take the bus or minivan direct to Changmai ( i did it other way) youll arrive there around 1030pm same day and maybe with kids prebook Top North GH cheap as chips and small swimming pool on site.
also there is minivan non stop Luam P to Changmai but thats too boring for kids.
dont stay Changrai the take kids to tiger world or 1 day trek to include elephant ride and bamboo rafting with short 1 hr walk through mountains stop and make sure they see "dont touch me" plants (Mimosa) on way then fly or o9vernight bus to Morchit bus terminus and straight onto bnus to Koh Chang (Trat) 2 days on beach yo9ur 8 days are up from Koh Chang direct to airport if nothing going time of your flight get bus drop you off Bang Na or Lat Krabang close to aiprort and grab meter taxi to terminals
May 24, 2013 5:06 AM
May 24, 2013 5:24 AM
4Just remember, taking the fast boat has its risk, there is no regulation, safety equipment, navigation/maritime regulations/rules, and the river is muddy, swift and can be dangerous with sand bars, logs and other boats. There is no search and rescue, fire dept or trained personnel to carry out a search or rescue, you are on your own, and you are the one putting the children at risk, period.
The heat, intense sun and the endless humming drone of a loud lawnmower engine all add up to an adventure most are happy to see it come to an end. Use the river boats around LPG for side trips and to take in river life and villages in the region.
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May 24, 2013 7:21 AM
5The kids never get driving sickness, but I don't think that either of us have the patience to travel for 2 days in a slow boat og 22 hours in a bus - or how long it takes to get to the border.
How long time does the minivan service take?
Koh Samui and Koh Chang are not options :) My kids are not very much into beach holidays. Koh Samed is close enough to Bangkok to justify the transport for a few days (Koh Chang, we went to last year on your way back to Bangkok from Cambodia).
May 24, 2013 9:42 AM
6Any way you go by road from Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai is going to take at least 20 hours. Either north/west via Oudomxai, Luang Namtha, and Huay Xai OR south to Vientiane then via Nong Khai, Loei, Uttaradit, Lampang, etc. And no way I'd recommend speed boat for young kids especially if they were mine. This is why I suggest flying LP-CM.
May 24, 2013 10:00 AM
7I would recommend the speedboat for all the hype they supply safety vests and the kids will love it sit one by each of you for safety concerns loads of locals and kids use them all the time. They are not as noisey as they used to be since they now use propane asa proppellant Ive been around ten times on them slow boat and minivan to Changmai is long and draining for kids as well. just do the speedboat cross border around 4p0m and grab a mini9van to Changmai will drop you off at Gh I sugested as cheap and family friendly, just around corner on Katcahasarn rd is tiger kingdom with music while you eat at reasonable prices or eat whilst watching Thai dancing at the night bazaar I prefer koh Chang to Koh Samet depends where you stay, im just sorry theres no private messages or any more or else Id give you more details
May 25, 2013 2:40 AM
May 25, 2013 3:48 AM
9I' trying to figure out if there is a way to split up the trip in legs, so it doesn't feel so much like being on the road for several days. Is it possible to do the trip by taking the boat to Nong Khiaw and go on by bus to Luang Nam Tha.
We are a bit split on whether or not to spend time in Chiang Mai. We went in 2002 and back then it wasn't the most interesting place on earth - I liked some of the smaller towns better (Lampang, Kampang Phet).
May 27, 2013 1:08 AM
10It's tricky giving advice re: kids, since only their parents really know what they can handle.
But if my two kids were 3 and 7, I'd have no reservations at all taking them upriver for a two-day slow boat ride from Luang Prabang. (They're about 30 years older than that now, but at that younger age, my kids would have reveled in the adventure.) If your 7-year-old is learning to observe the world, s/he will find at least 4 hours per day of excitement. The other 4/5 hours hopefully: sleep, draw, eat, entertain passengers. The 3-year old, depending on his/her temperament, might be less of a challenge on a boat than on a plane. (Keep in mind that after 30 years, the memories are all good -- the parental suffering fades, trust me.)
When you have a choice, avoid long (>4 hrs) bus trips at all costs. Kids can't run around, they'll be cooped up elbow-to-elbow, and fellow passengers aren't as forgiving. The same might be said of plane rides, but these generally are short enough to bear.
Again, if you (and your kids) enjoy slow, relaxing travel, the slow boat would be a memory of a lifetime. There's room to move around, even "run", people to talk to, other local kids to interact with. On the other hand, some people need ACTION -- slow river travel is boring to tears. You gotta gauge which type of travel your family grows on. Be aware, even seasoned passengers get antsy in the last 3 hours as you approach Huay Xai.
I mentioned "upriver": my wife and I traveled Luang Prabang -> Huay Xai last October. The upriver boats were less than half full; the downriver boats we passed were packed. For some reason, travelers are stuck on traveling downriver.... With kids, you have a much better chance of a less-hectic trip on a less-crowded boat. If you take the slow boat, bring food/drinks/snacks, as well as coloring books/etc and play the "wildlife" game ("I see a buffalo!").
One caveat, as mentioned above -- the rainy season typically ends in October. For July travel on the Mekong, you need to check river conditions.
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