WHAT WE DID:
- Spent two weeks at guesthouses, primarily in Luang Prabang & Vientiane:
- Mekong River slow boat (2 days, overnight in Pak Beng)
- Luang Prabang (6 days)
- Transit – traveled by bus from Luang Prabang to Vientiane (1 day)
- Vientiane (5 days)
WHAT WE LIKED:
- The food was out of this world! I [Jenn] was completely blown away at how much I enjoyed my meals in Luang Prabang, considering what a finicky eater I am. Moreover, everyone had a really good understanding of strict vegetarianism, and menus specifically mentioned omitting fish sauce or oyster sauce to accommodate dietary restrictions.
- People were exceedingly friendly and welcoming, and were quick to offer suggestions or assistance for enjoying the local sights.
WHAT WE’D CHANGE:
- We would have liked to travel around to more of the national parks and more of the remote regions. We found that reaching some of the parks was more difficult, and certainly more time-consuming if at all possible. Ground transit was quite limited (no trains & not an extensive network of bus routes) and slow (largely because of the terrain). In addition to the inaccessibility, we’d be hesitant to wander around border areas around the east and northeast, due to contamination with unexploded devices left over from the war.
- Perhaps spend a day or two less in Vientiane. While we enjoyed the capital, it is actually quite small, and you can see most of the sights in just a few days.
WHAT WE LEARNED:
- Motorbike rentals are significantly more expense here (~$12 USD/day), at least double the cost of Thailand. The tuk tuks are a bit more of an “industry” here, and the communities try to encourage supporting the drivers over moto rentals.
- Overall, places are significantly less accessible than in Thailand, where the infrastructure is much more developed.
WEIGHTS & MEASURES:
AVERAGE PETROL COST: 7,000 kip/L
AVERAGE EXCHANGE RATE: 8,200 kip (₭) to $1.00 USD