I'm planning a trip to Laos in October and have been looking into hiring a 4WD and driving ourselves around. My rough itinerary so far is from VTE to Luang Prabang, further into the north e.g. Muang Sing or Luang Namtha, then to Phonsavan, Vang Vieng and back to VTE.
I'd be very grateful for your advice on the following:
1. What will the road conditions be like in October? I know it's just coming out of the rainy season - would this make self-driving a bad idea (landslips etc)?
2. Is a car a good way to see the country or more of a hindrance? I'm a photographer so having the ability to stop and take pictures would be a huge bonus (rather than being on the bus). But would a car just be a nuisance, particularly in the north (e.g. parking, filling up with petrol, small villages not suited to 4WD)?
Thank you for taking the time to read this.