After watching the first two episodes on TV, I’ve decided to take up the challenging of following their footsteps for their 7 days 6 nights itinerary in Laos (Vientiane, Vang Vieng & Luang Prabang). Possibly, this could be my itinerary when the time is ripe =p
Exchange Rate in this guide: 10,000KIP = $1.60 SGD
Laos Airport: Wattay International Airport
Day 1 Accommodation – RD (Relax & Dream) Guesthouse (appox $5.60/person/night)
(Approximately 4km away from the airport)
Address: 37-01, Nokeo Koummane Road | PO Box 12094, Vientiane, Laos
Day 2 – 4 hours Bus tide from Vientiane to Vang Vieng ($6.40/person)
Buses from Vientiane to Vang Vieng:
The local bus leaves from Da Laat Sao (The morning market) bus station. They leave at 6am, 7am, 9am, 11am, 12.30 pm and 2pm. It takes about 4 to 5 hours for the journey and costs 40, 000 kip. There are also Songthaews that leave from the Songthaew station north of the city, which go every 20 minutes. When arriving in Vang Vieng the buses and Songthaews will stop by the side of the airfield so make sure you get off here, the bus then goes 3km north to the bus station.
There are also a few Mini Buses that leave from near to the bus station and leave when they are full. The journey should cost 60, 000 kip.
The Thavonsouk Bus Company and Malany Bus Company leaves from opposite the National Cultural Hall at 10am and 2pm. The journey for both these companies takes about 3 and a half hours. Tickets can be booked through many of the guesthouses or tour operators in Vientiane.
Tickets cost 60, 000 kip.
Info Credit: http://www.vangvieng.biz/getting_01.html
Day 2 & 3 Accommodation – Phoom Chai Guesthouse (Mini Bungalows)
Prices: $29 for 3 pax room per night ($9.70/person)
Interesting fact of this town – the restaurants here broadcast the american series of FRIENDS.. and that’s the one and only show they broadcast..
Day 3 Brunch – Chocolate Banana Pancake
What it actually is – prata with egg, banana, nutella/chocolate, condensed milk and milo powder. Sounds pretty rich but kind of awesome and tasty.
Bicycle Rental (30,000Kip/day)
For their first day in Vang Vieng, they rented a bicycle. However, judging from the distance and rough terrain, it could be better renting a Motorbike instead.. They seemed to be struggling quite a bit in their 7km ride to Blue Lagoon..
Day 3 – Blue Lagoon and Caves (Entrance 10,000Kip)
Apart from cycling (a rather difficult and rocky terrain) and riding a motorbike for 7km, you can consider taking a tuk tuk, but it is likely to be overcharged =/ I’ve read that there’s a bridge toll of 6,000Kip too.
Was reading some reviews of this place online and apparently you should avoid this place during wet season as the water might be murky brown instead of blue green.
There’s a cave at this place but most reviews don’t recommend climbing up to it. During the trip, they did visit this cave but it wasn’t aired till the final recap episode.
Day 4 – Tubing and Kayaking down Nam Song River
Likely that they took a package tour which includes lunch. Possibly the one below
Wonderful Tours: http://wonderfultours.la/package/kayaking-caves-full-day-tour/
The tubing is now all organised through one single office located next to the internet cafe, near the non-toll bamboo bridge. That probably wont mean a lot to you so check out this very useful hobomap of Vang Vieng and look for the dude in a tube floating on the river. The rental office just to the right of that little chap.
Tubing itself costs 120,000 KIP, but you will get a chunk of that back if you get your tube back to the office by a specific time …
a) Arrive back before 6pm and receive 60,000 KIP back
b) Arrive back after 6pm and receive 40,000 KIP back
c) Arrive back after 8pm and receive 0 KIP back
- The tubing office states that you should allow 2 hours for your tubing experience, I would say double that. Part of me cant help but think its purposely a little miss guiding so more people than not tend to lose a little of their deposit.
- The water is both very shallow and very deep in parts. Its easy to understand why there were so many accidents.
- For those of you that aren’t wonderful at swimming, or just not particularly confident in the water, life jackets are available.
To read more about tubing: http://k0ks3nw4i.blogspot.sg/2014/0d4/veni-vidi-vang-vieng-tubing-down-nam.html
Day 4 Accommodation – River View Bungalows ($41/night; $13.70 each)
Check Prices from Hotels Combined: https://www.hotelscombined.com/Hotel/River_View_Bungalows.htm?a_aid=172598&label=Laos Hotel
Day 5 – They rented a go kart vehicle and went back to Blue Lagoon
Rental for the vehicle cost 150,000KIP
Day 5 Accommodation – Abby Boutique Guesthouse ($38/night; $12.70 each)
Check Prices from HotelsCombined
Room with 3 single beds, air-conditioning and fridge
Day 6 – 6-9 hours bus ride to Luang Prabang ($24/each)
Cost approximately 100,000 to 150,000 KIP which can be booked via your guesthouse or at the bus terminal.
Day 6 Accommodation – Mekong Holiday Villa ($64/night; $21.30 each)
Address: Ban Pakham, Luang Prabang, Laos
Hmong Night Market at Luang Prabang
What they ate: Melt in the mouth Coconut Bread and 10,000KIP for one plate stack-all-you-can “buffet”.
Day 7 (Last Day)
Morning Alms Ceremony – Tak Bat at 6AM
After reading the reviews from tripadvisor, it seems like this sacred ceremony has been ruined by excessive tourists. It is recommended to stand at some sidewalks instead of the main area. This ceremony is magical in its way as people will kneel down by the road and donate glutinous rice, bananas or rice crackers to the monks. After which, monks will then donate the excess food to the poorer people. This is a way to ensure that the poor are also taken care of.
Kuang Si Falls/ Bear Rescue Centre
Tuk Tuk – approx 30,000 to 40,000 KIP for a 50 minutes journey.
Entrance Fee – 20,000KIP
This beautiful emerald waterfall is definitely a gem in Luang Prabang. It is approximately a 5 to 10 minutes walk from the entrance and you will be greeted with a majestic and multi-tiered waterfall. You are able to dive in and swim in some parts of the lake and it looks like it can be really crowded with tourists during the peak season.
Summing Everything up
$431 (approx 7 hours each trip with minimum 1 stopover at either Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi via Vietnamese Airlines)
Accommodation 6 nights:
$5.60 (dormitory) + $9.70 + $9.70 + $13.70 + $12.70 + $21.30 = $72.70 per person
Vientiane to Vang Vieng – $6.40
Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang – $24
Attractions and Activities
Bicycle Rental – $9.60
Go Kart Rental – $24
Tubing & Kayaking – $34
Blue Lagoon Entrance – $3
Kuang Si Waterfalls – $3.20 + $6*2 (transport)
Approx $10 to $15/day
$300 SGD for 7 days lands itinerary + food (excludes transport to and from airport) + $431 (air ticket)
It seems like the air ticket is unbelievably expensive. I guess it was due tot he lack of direct flights. Oh wells, I have decided to put this trip on hold until there’s a direct flight from Singapore to Laos, or when I’m doing a backpacking trip around southeast Asia.
Hope you enjoyed the itinerary and the show!
Video with english subs credit: http://ggotbodachungchoon.wordpress.com