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Laos Part Two

Cologne, Germany
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Laos Part Two

After my amazing holidays in Laos last year I decided to head back this to explore the south, enjoying some outdoor activities and also to have some relaxing rest days.

I came up with the following itinerary and would appreciate any comments.

Day 1: Head from Vientiane to Thakhek

Day 2-5: One day exploring Thakhek and resting, and a three day trek / kayaking trip to the Khammouane area

Day 6: Travel to Pakse

Day 7-9: Hiring a bike to explore the Bolaven Plateau

Day 10-11: Champassak (including trip Wat Phu)

Day 12-13: Dong Daeng (sounds like a nice place to experience local life in Laos)

Day 14-18: 4000 Islands (pure relaxation)

Day 19: Travel to Pakse and Ubon to take overnight train to Bangkok

I dont want to rush, and hope this is a good pace to enjoy southern Laos as much as I did the north last year.

Kurashiki, Japan
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1. Re: Laos Part Two

Looks good to me.

When will you be going? Bring warm clothes if staying up in the Bolaven Plateau as it gets pretty chilly at night. See the temples on Day 6 at Pakse, and head to the little street stands at the riverside and you can watch the sunset while drinking cold beer and eating great food.

In Champasak, you can see the local temples (can easily walk around and see them) but to get to the really old, cool temples in the outskirts of the village Wat Ama, Wat Put, Wat None Thai) you will need to hire a tuk-tuk.

Where is Dong Daeng?

Good call to spend 4 days on the islands, you will love it there! Be sure to rent a bicyle & explore Dong Kone & Dong Det (can cross over on a bridge) and I also highly recommend a night on Don Khong, the big island. Khong is REALLY laid back, gets very little tourism and is great if you just want to sit around and relax. There are some interesting temples here & there (one with a pretty cool, large buddha), you can rent a bicyle to get around and see them. From there you can jump on a morning bus & head back to Pakse (bus goes on ferry across river).

Edited: 20 July 2013, 02:40
Cologne, Germany
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2. Re: Laos Part Two

Thanks Maneki.

I should have mentioned that I head there middle of November, and leave beginning of December.

So I will pack some warm cloth for the plateau.

Dong Daeng is an island on the other side of Champasak, and it sounds like a nice place, with either homestays possible,prmstaying in a bungalow.

Which of the islands would be recommended to stay at (in addition to a night in Don Khing)?

Also, is relaistic to get from the 4000 islands in the morning to Ubon to get to the train leaving at 6.30?

Kurashiki, Japan
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3. Re: Laos Part Two

You can get a rustic feel just staying at any one of the several guesthouses in Champasak, for me that was pretty much the same thing as a homestay!

Re: the islands on 4000 Islands-

If you like pretty much seclusion, stay on Don Kone. If you like to be where the restaurants and a few bars are (i.e. stuff to do at night) stay on Don Det. It is very easy to get over to Don Kone and you cold spend a couple days sightseeing there(just rent a bicycle and go on over). On Don Det you could visit any one of the dozens of travel agencies & book a trip to see the Irawaddy dolphins/ Khon Phapheng falls. Definitley add a full day/night to spend on Don Khong (big island) as well.

I think the boats will be leaving the islands at around 7:00 or 8:00am so if you want to make an early start from somewhere you had better spend your penultimate night in Pakse.

Edited: 20 July 2013, 10:06
Cologne, Germany
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4. Re: Laos Part Two

Thanks Maneki. It seems I need to head to Pakse a day earlier then. Well, half a day less on the islands.

I cannot wait till I leave in less than 4 month. I am sure I will enjoy it as much as I did last year....

Kurashiki, Japan
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5. Re: Laos Part Two

You'll love it, it won't quite be high season yet so not as many people as in December & January. Have a great trip! :-)

Edited: 22 July 2013, 22:35
Cologne, Germany
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6. Re: Laos Part Two

Follow up from my initial itinerary, I decided to book a flight from Bangkok to Nakhom Phanom, so I arrive a day earlier in Thakhek (and reduce travelling time to Thakhek a lot...).

I wonder if it would be worth it to split the journey between Thakhek and Pakse, and stop in Savannakhet. If I take a bus in the morning from Thakhek, and take the bus to Pakse around lunchtime, I thought I could spend a bit time there. Is it worth it to stop there for 1/2 day, and enjoy an evening there?

Vientiane, Laos
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7. Re: Laos Part Two

Yes its worth it - you can wander round the central town area amongst the dilapidated colonial architechture and enjoy cold beerlao with bbq chicken and tamakheung by the river in the early evening.

Savannakhet to Pakse is only 3-4 hours on the bus so if you left savannakhet 8am-ish you could even head off to the Boloven plateau on your bike when you arrive, instead of using up a day/night for Pakse.

Cologne, Germany
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8. Re: Laos Part Two

Thanks bluecramp.

I think I spend a bit more time in Savannakhet in the morning, and leave for the Bolivan Plateau the next day, as I might be able to meet some other people who leave in the morning I could join.

One question though, what is tamakheung?

Vientiane
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9. Re: Laos Part Two

Tamakhung is spicy salad; the Thais call it somtam.

Vientiane, Laos
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10. Re: Laos Part Two

It is a salad made from shredded green unripe pawpaw/papaya, and mixed with tomato, sometimes beansprouts, usually tiny dried shrimp or small freshwater crab pieces, fresh lime, chilli, sugar and usually padaek (the lao fermented raw fish). There are many different spicy salads available in Laos but this is the perennial favourite, and once you know how you like it, you can direct the person mixing it as to how much of each ingredient you need.