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Travel from Hanoi, Vietnam to Luang Prabang, Laos

Portland, OR
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Travel from Hanoi, Vietnam to Luang Prabang, Laos

I am going to be in Hanoi with my family of 4 (children ages 4 & 7) and am hoping to get to Luang Prabang overland. Is it possible to travel that way safely and efficiently? Is it possible - if so, iin what way - and what are the alternatives,if not?

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1. Re: Travel from Hanoi, Vietnam to Luang Prabang, Laos

Thorntree Forum has a lot of discussion on the overland route; I haven't done this myself, but I well remember all that was said on the subject, and that's why my family of 4 decided, finally, to fly. The short answer would seem to be: safely, yes, but efficiently..... no way. One person did it in twenty-nine hours. Someone else quoted about thirty-seven. There were all sorts of hidden traps like buses unloading you a couple of kilometres away from the next pick-up point, and savvy locals being onhand with offers of transport between the two at hugely inflated prices. No one -- that I could finbd, anyway -- had a positive report to tell. If your time is unlimited, it might be a great adventure, but I would imagine that your 4-year-old would complicate matters here somewhat!

We bussed from Luang Prabang to Vientiane , and then flew to Hanoi by Lao Airlines as part of their Discovery Pass, which means each adult ticket was around $US60. Cheap as chips if you do it that way, and we scored an extra day or two in Hanoi, which is one of the best cities in that part of the world.

London, UK
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2. Re: Travel from Hanoi, Vietnam to Luang Prabang, Laos

I did the reverse in 1998: Vientiane to Hanoi overland. It may be slightly easier now, but no way would I do that trip with my 4 year old daughter. It took me over 40 hours (1 hour of which was asleep at a hotel). The segments of bus journeys are a minimum of 10 hours, and the question isn't whether the driver would stop to allow children bathrooms breaks (on the open grass next to the bus), but whether you could climb through the jam-packed mass of humanity to even speak to the driver. They really pack those buses in, to about double the planned capacity.

Details of my trip at surfacetravel.com/surfacetravel/…phase1.htm

New York, NY
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3. Re: Travel from Hanoi, Vietnam to Luang Prabang, Laos

It's gotten much easier to do than when the poster below did it in 1998 (same time I was there). The crossing at NaMeo now makes it much quicker.

Yes, it's safe to do.

Efficient: not if you simply want to get from Point A to Point B in one day. If you have a few days to make a side-trip out of it, it would take you through some of the best areas you may see on your trip. Most of the people reporting a hassle find that it is difficult if going the other direction, because the transportaton on the Vietnam side is expensive. Coming from Hanoi, it would be fairly easy for you to get to Mai Chau, which is located in a very interesting area. From there, there is transport to the border. Or, you could probably get a car in Hanoi to drive you all the way.

On the Lao side, there is a lot of transport available to Sam Neua, where you could stay the night. It is a long, long ride to Luang Prabang from there -- I'd break it up by stopping overnight along the way, probably by going the Phonsavan route. On the other route, accommodations are very very basic. The ride from to Luang Prabang would be very hilly and twisty, so carsickness can be expected.

Cagayan de Oro
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4. Re: Travel from Hanoi, Vietnam to Luang Prabang, Laos

We are planning to do a land trip to from Hanoi to Laos come March 2008 to visit the following sites: (1) Plain of Jars, and (2) Luang Prabang.

Is it possible to visit these sites in a journey where we begin (A) Hanoi, arrive in Site 1, (B) take a ride from site 1, and go to site 2, (D) take a ride from site 2 and go to the Capital Vientiane, (E) take a ride from Vientiane then go to Thailand.

We plan to stay at least a day in each site.

If we are to take a ride from Hanoi, which site should we visit first, how much will it cost, how long will the ride take?


5. Re: Travel from Hanoi, Vietnam to Luang Prabang, Laos

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