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Help! Route and flights!

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London, United...
posts: 140
Help! Route and flights!

I'm finalising a trip through Cambodia, and Laos and need to get back to Bankgok - I'm struggling to make the link.

I want to take in Ko Chang, Sihanoukville, P Pnem, S Reap and possibly Don Det as well as Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng and Vientiane.

My route so far is to leave Bangkok, go to K Chang, through Cambodia, up to Siem Reap via Phnom Penh and then up to Don Det and Pakse.

Here is where I get stuck.

I want to get up to northern laos and gradually work my way back down to end up in Bangkok. I'm happy to take the train from Vientiane to BKK but its the bit between Pakse and Luang Prabang I'm stuck on.

Don't really want to spend up to 20-30 hours on a bus getting to Vientiane and then Luang Prabang but the flights tp Luang Prabang look expensive ($200-$300pp). Am I wrong? Is there any other way? The other reason I am not keen on the bus as it would mean going up to Lunag Prabang from Vientiane and coming back on myself again.

Maybe my entire route is wrong?! It is in no particular order - please anyone feel free to suggest an alternative! I have 5 weeks between arriving and leaving Bangkok

Luang Prabang, Laos
posts: 1,353
reviews: 1
1. Re: Help! Route and flights!

Instead of going all the way up from Pakse to Luang Prabang in one 'go' why not break-up the trip at Thakek or Vientiane before proceeding to LP.

Thakek is an interesting idyllic riverside town where you can hire a motorbike and head off east towards the Nakai plateau (but can't enter unless you're working for the Nam Theun 2 Dam project) and the topography on some stretches is closer to the Vang Vieng area with caves, though on a much smaller scale.

(BTW, the overnight sleeper or VIP buses depart Pakse ~8pm and arrive at Thakek around 1AM where they break for 15 minutes before continuing on to Vientiane, arriving at the south bus station around 6AM. There are also day buses running the route, too.)

Or you could head a little furhter north from Thakek to Vieng Kham and then over towards the Konglo Cave complex to take a boat into the 7K complex.

Then Vientiane is another 4-5 hours away where you can break for a day or two. Vang Vieng as well. Or if you discover you've got extra days, then off to Phonsavan/Plain of Jars.

Likewise, instead of returning to Vientiane to catch the overnight sleeper train or VIP buses to Bangkok, why not continue onward to Luang Namtha and/or Muang Sing which is the premier trekking area of Laos. From Luang Namtha you're 4 hours from the Huay Xai-Chiang Khong Thai border where you can catch VIP buses back to Bangkok OR head to Chiang Rai, another 2.5 hours away where you can catch budget air flights back to BKK.

BTW, I saw your Q on the Vientiane to VV thread and it's usually 3 hours+ by bus between VTE and VV and another 6 hours between VV and Luang Prabang with short breaks at either Kasi or Kieu Ko Cham (for lunch) barring road construction delays or mechanical problems. If you take shared vans, it's a bit faster but a bit more cost.

Luang Prabang, Laos
posts: 1,353
reviews: 1
2. Re: Help! Route and flights!

PS--or fly back from LP to VTE at the end of your visit to save the extra day of backtracking bus/van/road travel. Or, if Lao Airlines continues to offer the Luang Prabang to Udon Thani route, it's practically the same cost as flying to Vientiane but you'll be that much closer to BKK, won't have to go thru the Friendship Bridge border formalities (Thai immigration at Udon Airport), and you have the option of flying back to Bangkok via budget airlines Thai Air Asia or Nok Air OR catching the train or VIP Bus back to Bangkok. The VIP bus runs about 450bahts, much cheaper than if catching the bus in Vientiane. The airflights if booked well in advance are almost the same cost as a First Class train compartment. Also, it's less expensive to buy the train tickets in Thailand whereas in Vientiane, they surcharge a service fee of 50-100% more than the actual ticket (but they do include a 'free transfer' from Vientiane to Friendship Bridge/border0.

Vientiane
posts: 5,234
reviews: 61
3. Re: Help! Route and flights!

Hiring a motor bike is bad advice unless you are an experienced bike rider AND have an International Driving Permit which is endorsed for motor cyles. Should you have a problem, you will not be covered by insurance.

By the way, if you were thinking of flying from Vientiane to Pakse, be aware that Pakse airport will be closed for renovations from the 30th of June, for a few months.

Flights from Vientiane to Luang Prabang are $175.00 return.

Santa Cruz, Cal
posts: 815
reviews: 9
4. Re: Help! Route and flights!

you could fly from PP or SR to Vientiane on Lao airlines and fly out back to BKK from Luang Prabang on Bangkok airlines or fly to Chaing Mai from LP as well on Lao air you might look to do a search here for a Discovery pass that lets you fly to 3 or more places in SE Asia for 1 price i think it's thru Bangkok air but I don;t know the details for that. otherwise you're looking at alot of bus travel

5. Re: Help! Route and flights!

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