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.

Please help: visiting Laos for first time

Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
88 posts
1 review
Save Topic
Please help: visiting Laos for first time

My partner and I are planning to visit SE Asia next Feb/March.

We fly into KL on Feb 23, and fly out of KL on Mar 22 (4 weeks). No other flights or travel have been booked, so we're open to suggestions as to an itinerary for 4 weeks.

Neither of us has ever been to Laos, and we know precious little about the country, but we are thinking about including it this trip.

We would really appreciate hearing from TA members who have visited Laos, especially those who know the country quite well, and can advise us on what you think are "must visit" places. We'd also appreciate advice regarding modes of transport, any potential hassles, accommodation, etc.

We are in our 50s, but still enjoy back-packing and budget travel rather than a "fly and flop" holiday.

We are mostly into food, culture, getting to interact with both locals and fellow travellers, and generally having a stimulating, but also relaxing time. We also like some beach/pool time.

We have both visited lots of temples, so not into that in a big way, unless it's to see something unique that we haven't seen before.

Anyway, would really love to hear from some "old hands" who can give us some advice or make suggestions.


Destination Expert
for Cambodia
Level Contributor
19,096 posts
84 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Please help: visiting Laos for first time

I'm not a Loas 'old hand' but we are in your dempgraphic. We had 10 days in Laos in July - loved it.

here's a link to the blog I wrote - might give you some ideas.


very few hotels in Laos have pools so for pool time you'll have to move out of the backpacker budget

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
437 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Please help: visiting Laos for first time

My wife and I are both in our 50's and enjoy the same type of holiday you have described. We were in Laos last year and without going into too much detail, you will no doubt get numerous other opinions/ideas, this is what we particularly enjoyed.

In Luang Prabang we stayed at Khoune and Khone's Bungalows. A truly unique experience with lovely people. Being a bit out of town it's not for everyone so read the reviews under "Specialty Lodging". We found them to be very accurate.

We did the usual things people will mention for LP but we did enjoy hiring bikes and riding out of the main town/tourist area.

In Vientiane we stayed at Hotel Khamvongsa which we thought was great value and very well located. We ate at the river front foodstalls which are a five minute walk away. Excellent food and super cheap. We were also able to walk to all the other main sights in Vientiane easily.

One place we would recommend visiting to find out a lot more of the recent history of the country is COPE. Once again read the reviews under "Vientiane Attractions" to get an accurate idea of what you will be seeing.

After a number of visits to SE Asia over the last few years we are also "templed out" and didn't really think Laos temples were significantly different to others.

You will enjoy Laos though. It is SE Asia in slow-motion.

If I had four weeks in the region I would fly Air Asia from KL to Vientiane and have 6 or 7 days covering Vte and LP. Then fly to Hanoi and spend two weeks in Vietnam before getting a bus from HCMC to Phnom Penh for a couple of days there and then 4 days in Siem Reap. You can then fly from SR back to KL on Air Asia.

Alternatively if you have been to Vietnam and Cambodia fly from LP to Chiang Mai and work your way south through Thailand. If you have time when you get back to KL a couple of days in Melaka is worthwhile.

Happy planning. I've found it is half the fun.

Vientiane, Laos
Level Contributor
57 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Please help: visiting Laos for first time


An idea to consider, of course many others alternatives of options to add or remove.

Fly with AirAsia : Kua Lumpur - Chiang Mai (Northern Thailand)

4 -5 jours, treck, elephant camp, several type of visits

Chiang Mai – Chiang Khong by bus : Crossing border Thai-Lao at Chiang khon – Houexay Overnight in Housay (1 days)

Boat to Luang Prabang, one night stop at Pakbeng. (2 days of trips)

Stay in Luang Prabang 4 days,

Luang Prabang to Vientiane (possibility to stop over in Vang Vieng) 1 or 2 days (or 3 if stop one day at Vang Vieng)

Stay in Vientiane (2 days)

Sleeper bus Vientiane Paksé (over night)

Stay at Paksé : Visit Boloven Plateau, waterfall 2 days

Visit Wat Phou, 4 000 islands etc… 3 days

Come back Pkasé and Fly from Paksé – Siem Reap

Stay Siem Reap 3-4 days, visit of Angkok Wat, Tolé Sap..

Fly with AirAsia from Sieam Reap to Kua Lumpur.

Enjoy you trip

Still have questions?Post your own question so other travellers can help.
Ask a question
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
88 posts
1 review
Save Reply
4. Re: Please help: visiting Laos for first time


Thanks for your response. It was really great to read your blog entries. It sounds like you and your husband are in our demographic in many ways. I found myself nodding my head at so much of what you'd written. I, too, love purple, and am unable to resist traditional fabrics. Sounds like you're into good food and coffee, too.

I'll have questions to ask you, hope you don't mind.


Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
88 posts
1 review
Save Reply
5. Re: Please help: visiting Laos for first time


Thank you very much for your expansive response. Much appreciated.

I'll check out the accommodation you mentioned.

We spent 19 days in Vietnam this February/March, travelling from the Mekong Delta in the south to Hue in the north, bookended by three days in KL each way (25 nights in total). To be honest, we were disappointed in several ways, probably because we had such high expectations. However, we decided we'd visit the north, and planned to do so this next Feb/March. Since we found out that it can still be vey cold there at that time, we've decided to give it a miss until another time.

We loved Melaka 4 years ago, and also Penang (surprisingly, as I didn't like it in the early 80s), so did think of spending 4 weeks meandering through Malaysia. However, since it's been 19 years since we visited Thailand, and have never been to Cambodia or Laos, we thought we'd like to spend our 4 weeks travelling in some or all of these countries.

Overall, did you really enjoy Laos? Did you generally find the local food good?

Thanks again for all your suggestions.

leicester UK
Level Contributor
2 posts
43 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Please help: visiting Laos for first time

Just spent a happy hour reading your Laos/Cambodia Blog. My husband and I are planning a trip to Laos in Jan next year as part of a visit to family in Thailand. Loved all the info about the visits to small villages. Thank you so much for sharing, your views and tips were very helpful to me.

Jill & Pete

Level Contributor
171 posts
1 review
Save Reply
7. Re: Please help: visiting Laos for first time

Ikhishi, hope you don't mind me going off your topic a bit but.... My husband an I (similar in age to yourself) are planing a 3 week Feb/March trip and were originally planning to visit mostly Vietnam and Seam Reap for a few days. However, the more I read I'm becoming more drawn to spending the time in Laos and Cambodia. So I was curious about what let you down on your southern Vietnam experience? This was the area in Vietnam we were planning to spend our time so thought your experience could help us decide what to do.

Thanks in advance.

Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
88 posts
1 review
Save Reply
8. Re: Please help: visiting Laos for first time


Please PM me, and I'll be happy to elaborate and also to provide a link to my partner's blog on our time in Vietnam. I think that's preferable to my responding here.


Olympia, Washington
Level Contributor
4 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Please help: visiting Laos for first time

You are headed to an absolute beautiful Country - full of the most amazing, friendly people that I have ever met in my years of world travel. I spent time from LP north along the Nam Ou River in 2007-2008.

Check out my blog entry here


Enjoy your trip!

Kevin, Olympia, WA USA


10. Re: Please help: visiting Laos for first time

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 19 October 2012, 11:17