Hi All - I'll be landing in LP on 7 April, and am looking on making my way down to VV after a couple of days in LP. I've heard stories about the busses, and have limited time left on this leg of the trip, so was thinking about hiring a private car. I hear they go for around 100 USD. Worth it? Anyone interested in splitting during this time? Also, if anyone has any must-do, must-see things in LP or VV, please share!
Well, the buses aren't completely safe, that's a fact. The problem is most of the danger is due to the road, not the vehicle. So, if you're hoping to avoid trouble by taking a private car, the bad news is you're still on the same roads as the bus.
If anything, I think a bus would be better off because it's bigger and other things tend to move out of it's way. The buses are how the locals do it.
Timewise, a private car won't get there much faster than a bus. The bus only stops once, for a quick break and a snack at a village in the middle of nowhere.
There's a long list of Must do activities in Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng in the travel guides, just search for those cities as destinations in the VT search bar. My favourite in VV was the blue lagoon, and in LP was a slow ride on the Mekong river.
Have a great trip!
Happy to answer any other questions about these two places.
Yes , Leon ...same roads if your driving as the bus....The bus that I took from Luangprabang was to my surprise a new bus with aircon .The trip to Vang vieng was fine although roads narrow..!!! Lots of activities there to do in V.V ...see tips on this site..as for sharing expenses !! put a few notes up on the boards in the various backpacker hostels/hotels in Luangprabang for " share expenses." and am sure you will get plenty of replies..hope that this has been of some help for you...have a safe journey..cheers Denny
Yes, i did the trip by bus and it was fine. The buses are so old they can't travel at breakneck speed anyway. You could hire a shuttle van but it would probably arrive just an hour quicker....and it would be traveling faster too!!
Just wander around LP and you will come across temples in the old part of the city. The market gets going late afternoon, mostly for tourists. Great places to eat by the river on LP.
If you decide to go to Pak Ou caves take the boat as early as possible to avoid the crowds when you are there.
by the way the big party at Vang Vieng has ended with most of the bars and river activities closed due to too many drunken/drugged up idiots dying, but it is wonderful to rent a motorbike and explore the surrounding area.
Good advices above!
If you want to go by van (most of them are run by private companies anyways and they usually drive other tourists) why won't you simply book with the travel agent or your guesthouse and will cost you less than hiring it alone and share it with others? Anyways, you're taking the same road as anyone else.
You can get very decent ride with bus too, just take VIP one and during day time. Not necessary that it will be cheaper than van, though...
If you still want to share with others your van, you should simply ask people in hotels/GH or directly at stations. We helped few backpackers trying to arrange their own transport but what can I say... people usually expect miracles for the price they get offered.
Definitely go visit waterfalls near LPB, you can also swim there.
If you can I would suggest Pi Mai Lao (new year) in LPB, but if you cannot then anywhere else would be good too :) It's biggest lao festival, so it's good to be at good location at that time when everyone celebrates