We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Pai or Luang Prabang?

victor, id
Level Contributor
45 posts
Save Topic
Pai or Luang Prabang?

My wife and I have 25 days in SE asia. We are thinking of going straight to chang mai from Bagkok. From there we are torn between Pai and Luang Prabang. We are also planning 3 days in Siem Reap and 8-10 days in koh chang . I know Pai and Luang Prabang are very different, I am wondering whether it is worth the extra time to go up to LP. We are mid 30 year olds, looking to relax, do some trekking and experience some culture.

. Don't want to spend to much time travelling. Also concerned about the weather in northern thailand and southern laos in may, hence the reason we want to spend extra time on koh chang. Flying is possible but don't want to spend a fortune on flights

LA
Level Contributor
41 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Pai or Luang Prabang?

I recommend Luang Prabang. I've been to both places before AND after they were traveller discovered (I'm not one of those westeners that laments the old times ).

The Lao people are in general are super nice. There is better temples in LP.

Yes it's much more commercial now, but that makes many more boutique hotels/ good restaurants. Then there's the whole indochina French influence.

It's harder to get to tho.

Take the boat down the Mekong from the Thai border.

I like Pai, and am going there this Xmas. I do worry about the air quality from slash and burn, but that is worst in march

Brisbane
Level Contributor
3,861 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Pai or Luang Prabang?

As you only have 25 days in SE Asia and are planning 8-10 in Koh Chang, I would go to Pai or if not already planned, Chiang Rai, mainly due to your limited time. You could then devote a few extra days to Cambodia.

If you haven't factored in travel time, you will quickly learn that overland travel in the area can be extremely slow.

Bangkok, Thailand
Level Contributor
15,864 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Pai or Luang Prabang?

Pai has nothing to compare with Luang Prabang, not even close. If you'd like to see something that is nearer to your route and similar to Luang Prabang (but not the same) head past Pai to Mae Hong Son.

The World
Level Contributor
3 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Pai or Luang Prabang?

@bbtony,

You said, "Pai has nothing to compare with Luang Prabang, not even close."

Can you tell me more of what you mean by that? I've been to Pai and will be returning to the area, and Luang Prabang is on the short list as well.

I guess my question is...What's the difference between the two? Is LP bigger, more charming, more fun?

Thank you in advance.

Peace,

dinkerdink

Edited: 12:59 pm, July 19, 2012
lewes uk
Level Contributor
10,633 posts
206 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Pai or Luang Prabang?

Hi,

I'd agree that Luang Prabang is a much better choice. Pai is surrounded by lovely countryside and there are plenty of places to organise treks etc, and some nice and cheap accomodation, but the town is not the prettiest. In November to Jan Pai is full of holidaying Bangkokians and much of the rest of the time it's full of 20 somethings, wandering from one coffee shop to the next. There are a couple of wats in the town but there's nothing like the range of temples Luang Prabang has too offer, so for better countryside, better trekking, stunning river trips, good restaurants, much nicer architecture and frankly friendlier locals head to LP. There's a very good reason why Luang Prabang is on the UNESCO world heritage list and Pai isn't.

cheers

The World
Level Contributor
3 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Pai or Luang Prabang?

@paulosussex

Thanks. That's helpful.

Last time I was in Pai was the worst time of the year (March) because of all the crop burning, but I still loved it.

I was going to park my stuff in Pai and then look around for a more permanent place somewhere in Northern Thailand, Laos or North Vietnam. Now you've got me thinking that maybe Pai isn't it.

Hmmm.

Bangkok, Thailand
Level Contributor
15,864 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: Pai or Luang Prabang?

Pai is an ugly little town that has developed badly. Luang Prabang is a world heritage site that has been protected by the authorities and is still a delightful small town despite the tourists.

whitchurch...
Level Contributor
196 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Pai or Luang Prabang?

Thailand is a wonderful diverse country with many beautiful villages, towns, and cities.

Sadly we also have some very ugly little people living here who need to go back home from time to time for a reality check.

The World
Level Contributor
3 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Pai or Luang Prabang?

Well I appreciate the input and I guess I'll just have to go to both - back to Pai and for the first time to Luang Prabang.

Bangkok, Thailand
Level Contributor
15,864 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: Pai or Luang Prabang?

"Thailand is a wonderful diverse country with many beautiful villages, towns, and cities."

I agree entirely and I wouldn't have stayed here for over 30 years if i didn't love the place.

"Sadly we also have some very ugly little people living here who need to go back home from time to time for a reality check."

I'am a realist and I say it as I see it. Opinions are just that - opinions, and you don't have to agree BUT snide personal remarks are not what anyone wants to see on these posts.