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Too Touristy and Expensive

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france
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Too Touristy and Expensive

Luang is a lovely town but they have priced it to tourist levels that we never experienced in Vietnam and only Siem Reap Cambodia was in the same category. The only bargains were eating in the market and buying textiles out in the villages. Main street Luang is way over priced for textiles, so try to get out of town. We had excellent food at the Elephant and it's sister restaurant/bar, The Coconut Garden. I wouldn't call The Elephant a bargain but it was superb eating, as we had tired of Lao cuisine, which we found to be too simple and basic. The famous Tamarind is over rated at best. The Coconut Garden had better Lao food. There are beautiful Temples to visit and the alms given to the Monks in the morning and their chanting in the afternoon should not be missed.

Kurashiki, Japan
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for Kurashiki, Cambodia, Myanmar
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11. Re: Too Touristy and Expensive

Some photos of over-crowded, touristy Luang Prabang. I think these photos are representative of the town...Have a look, all!

_ http://tiny.cc/LuangPrabang

Alaska
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12. Re: Too Touristy and Expensive

Thanks, Maneki-neko, for sharing your beautiful photos of LP! They look just like my pics: hmmm..where are the tourists?

Yes, there are some tourists in Luang Prabang. Yes, there are some annoying tourists in LP...particularly the ones who don't dress appropriately and wander into temples wearing shorts and tank-tops. Is there an overwhelming number? I didn't think so. Was I a little depressed by the ever-growing number of tourist agencies selling the idential tour packages? Yep, but at least they don't harass you as they do in Chiang Mai and other places in the world. Is it just obvious many people are trying to make a living any way they can from the new growth in tourism? Yep, and if you were in their shoes you couldn't fault them. We just have to hope that tourism in LP stays manageable and develops in a culturally respective way.

As far as prices go, no way in heck are LP's prices the same as Siem Reap's. Are they more than in the "real Laos" (whatever that means)? Probably. But nowhere in Laos is there EVER a chance I would complain about prices. I paid US$3 (without bargaining) for a beautiful, handmade bag in the so-called expensive night market in town. So what if it were, perhaps, 50 cents cheaper in the handicraft villages outside of town? Is 50 cents or a dollar really such a big deal in your multi-thousand dollar trip?

Kurashiki, Japan
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for Kurashiki, Cambodia, Myanmar
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13. Re: Too Touristy and Expensive

I was there in September, low tourist season, perfect for avoiding crowds. I treated a lao friend of mine and his family to a few days in the city, the parents had never been very far outside of their village. They loved it, and it was inexpensive enough for me to foot the bill for everything. Huge dinner for all of us (with beer for me & my friend) was about $25 average. And no, we did not eat at places listed in any guide book...

singapore
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14. Re: Too Touristy and Expensive

Hi, I do agree with Maneki-neko . Try and see.

Toronto
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15. Re: Too Touristy and Expensive

.We are a retired couple and low budget, local food and inexpensive land and air transport travelers. To visit Laos, airfare, visa, departure taxes are a killer. Are guest houses, local food, fruit , transportation and tours also over the top relative to a wealthier country like Thailand?

The advice of destination experts will be appreciated.

(1) The lowest cost airfares into Laos. Chiang Mai. Bangkok and KL are the air hubs for us.

(2) Based in either LP or Vientiane's guest house enclaves, what is the average price of a guest house with amenities like a fridge, wifi, A/C , ensuite washroom and breakfast. Averages us 500 THB. Or is this considered above standard and costly. What is included as the reasonably priced comfortable standard?

(3) Is local, walk to food stalls safe to eat at and plentiful. Or are these set up entirely for western palates and wallets?

(4) To see the top 3 temple sights and top 3 distinctive cultural encounters, can they be reached by foot, inexpensive tuk tuk's, songtaews, microbuses or inexpensive transport based tours, as in Thailand?

Your advice will be most appreciated, as this is the one country in SE Asia we have yet to visit, but our stays in SE Asia last 7 weeks and so must our budget.

.

Kurashiki, Japan
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16. Re: Too Touristy and Expensive

Hi Denbor6

1) You will have to search for this, fares depend on many factors- season, carrier, routes, etc. Check out Southeast Asian carriers for inter-Asia flights;

Air Asia, Nok Air Bangkok Air...If traveling between these places wiht numerous flights, you might look into the Bangkok Air "Discovery airpass".

2) You can find very nice, basic digs in the $15~$25 range. In Lunag Prabang, for instance, I stayed at the Rattana Guesthouse (google, pleez!) and paid $20 for a large ensuite room. I always eat fruit or local noodles (pho) for breakfast and that is very inexpensive. Laos is generally cheaper than Thailand, but Luang Prabang, since it gained World Heritage status, has been able to command higher prices for that disctinction.

3) In Luang Prabang, some of the street stands are selling "designer coffee" drinks (a la Starbucks) and fruit shakes, which I didn't notice 5 years ago, but most of the street stands cater to local tastes and are very very affordable. The riverside restaurants in Vientiane have great local food as well, and there is a night market that has stands, too...

4) In Luang Prabang, trips to Kuang Si Falls, or other day trips can easily and cheaply be arranged by your guesthouse. You can see the entire town on foot in two days,so you won't have to spend any cash at all on transport.

In Vientiane, local buses are the way to get out of town (to Buddha park, etc) but I'd suggest renting bicycles to see the immediate town as it is a bit spread out.

If you are referring to Lunag Prabang, Vientiane & Wat Phu (?) as the "Top 3 temple sites", you will have to fly or take a bus between these places as they are very far apart.

Incidentally, how long do you have for your trip?

Vientiane
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17. Re: Too Touristy and Expensive

Even on a low budget you should have no problems staying in and getting about Laos. Like Maneki, I have noodles, (Khao piak sen) or rice soup, (Jok) for breakfast most days. This costs me about 7000 kip - 85 cents. Maneki has already mentioned some cheap accommodation that is available. When you decide to come and want to book, post again and we can help out with places to suit your budget.

UK
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18. Re: Too Touristy and Expensive

Agreed.

brooklyn
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19. Re: Too Touristy and Expensive

dude, luang prabang is overpriced and touristy! street food there is crepes with nutella! it is a physically beautiful area, but unless you ride ten minutes out of the main tourist area you may as well be in belgium or aix en provence- or the uppa west side! don't get defensive. the place is touristy and geared towards people who prefer their euro-style creature comforts.

Texas
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20. Re: Too Touristy and Expensive

I just came back from a week in LP. Yes, the central area is very touristy, but you can choose to get "out of the bubble" by simply walking a couple of blocks away, eating at Lao restaurants and staying at a guesthouse instead of a hotel.

The most expensive thing about LP was getting there. If you do the above, it is very lovely and very affordable. The town is very walkable and it is easy to get around.