From northern to southern Laos, and what we shouldn't miss out in 2017!
We start to travel from Mochit bus terminal on 13th December at 9.30 p.m.
Air Udon Bus stops us at Big Chiang Lotus, Nong Khai province. The fare is 423 THB and takes about 10 hrs.
I must say that Air Udon is so great. Seats are comfortable with electronic massage system and that we can lay our seats down a lot. The AC is cold too.
There's also snack, water, and a rice box. Tonight is going to be a long good sleep night.
Once we reach Big Chiang Lotus at Nong Khai, we then take a Tuk Tuk to the Nong Khai Immigration border check, the fare is 50 THB.
We reach the border at 7 a.m. and have our breakfast on Thailand side.
Then, it's time to go!!!
..........what the f_ck, I lost my passport............
I'm so panic now and search my every bags. Probably, my trip has ended even before starting T T
I was thinking that I probably forgot to keep it while I had dinner at Mochit. At this point, I've made up my mind that I couldn't go.
I probably have to let my friends go have fun and I, on the other hand, go back to Bangkok T T
15-20 min after realizing that my passport is gone, I got a call from a stranger number. It is the call from Air Udon, letting me know that they have my passport with them as they picked it up from my seat....OMG, my tear is almost burst out. Finally, I was allowed to go too. But now the bus has gone and the new one would come at 10 a.m. At this point, all I can do is simply sitting in front of the border sign. My emotion is so mixed, I was happy and sad at the same time.
Thank you so much for making this trip possible again.
From the border, we pay 5 THB as a crossing fee.
Once you are crossing over Thai soil, many people will approach you and ask you where do you want to go, do you need a ride? You will feel so loved immediately!
And when I say I will go with bus, they said I'm not so nice?!
You guys must quickly get out of this circle and go straight to the green bus, which only cost 15 THB.
When you are on Lao soil and want to travel in Vientiane, I recommend you to take the bus again which costs 6,000 LAK/24 THB.
#The exchange rate today is 1 THB = 255.47 LAK.
I exchanged for 7,600 THB and got 1,941,572 LAK.
(On the way back, I exchanged back and got 2,250 THB) So I didn't spend it all.
The bus stops at the morning market near the fountain circle. After that you can roam around Vientiane and Patuxai which is not so far away. But if you also wish to see more temples, I recommend you to hire a Tuk Tuk for half day which costs about 500 THB.
I book the bus to Luang Phrabang as soon as I reach here, I got the 8 p.m. sleeping bus. After that, I deposit my bag here and roaming around Vientiane on foot.
Here is the morning market where the bus stops.
The first thing I do is buying a sim card at morning market, Lao Telecom.
It is usable throughout Laos. The sim card is 100 THB and by topping up 50 THB internet, we can use it unlimited for a week.
#The internet in Laos is very strong, it's accessible in every location.
From here, it is about 3 km to Patuxai.
Then, I pass Joma shop where every review recommends us to stop by.
For me, what's delicious?
Lemon Tea with only the taste of tea without much taste?
A coffee that is not well taste? The only good taste is brownie.
.........A bit disappointed...
but we move on....#pay and go on
The interior is beautiful, clean restroom, cold AC with good photography corners.
Snack here is about 60-80 THB each.
Let's keep walking to Patuxai.
After Laos was colonized shortly (by France), lots of cement was left behind.
Laos then built a victory gate as a moment for independence from France (and the U.S.) and thus born Patuxai.
The weather today is really hot.
In the late afternoon....I take a Tuk Tuk back to where I deposited my bag.
When I reach the deposit bag area of where I will take the bus to Luang Phrabang tonight.....there's this papaya salad shop nearby which looks so ordinary.
I was hungry so I order one, and OMG!!!!
It's so super delicious!!!! Yes, it's the highlight of Vientiane that we shouldn't miss!!!
My apology for no photos.....it was too delicious back then.
Then, I look for a shower room. A ticket staff from D & K shop takes me to Vientiane Backpackers Hostel.
It is within walking distance....about 300 m from papaya salad shop.
The shower fee is 10,000 LAK/ 40 THB.
Now I feel really fresh. After taking shower, I charge up the battery and go back to wait at the place for taking the bus. The bus comes pick us up at 6.30 p.m.
The bus would pick us up from where we deposit our bag and take us to the bus terminal again.
The bus fare is 200,000 LAK or about 785 THB but if we buy at the bus terminal, the price would be 150,000 LAK.
It is a sleeping bus.
But if we have to find a transportation to the bus terminal by ourselves, the price would be similar.
Here is our ticket and the bus would take about 12 hrs.
There's a bag tag for our bag, please keep the other half well as it'd cost 400,000 LAK if we lost it.
Tonight, let me have a good sleep now.
I reach Luang Phrabang at 6.11 a.m.
When I come down to take my bag, the bag tag that I kept so well become meaningless as no one cares about it at all.... In fact, no one is there to take care of this matter whatsoever.
From the bus terminal to our hostel, we can either walk or take a Tuk Tuk.
A Tuk Tuk would cost around 10,000-20,000 LAK or 40-80 THB depending on negotiation.
Of course, we choose to walk, it's only 2 km distance. Let's think of it as a morning exercise.
Local people waiting for offering alms in the morning
Then we check in, unpack our stuff, eat breakfast, and find the bus to Kuang Si Falls and Nong Khiew tomorrow. Our plan is to leave for Nong Khiew at 1 a.m. so that we can reach there in the morning, hike, and come back by noon.
But public bus to Nong Khiew is very few.
Finally, we decided to hire a van, and it costs 550,000 LAK.
The owner is so beautiful and so are the guests. Tonight is so great.
Prachaniyom is another popular shop located near Mekong River. Many reviews recommend it as a must not miss shop, so how can we miss, right?
It's quite good, with tea, coffee, rice porridge and fried dough (Pa Tong Ko).
Bread from nearby shop
Nearby Prachaniyom shop is Pho noodle shop which tastes quite delicious.
A peaceful time near Mekong River
After the meal, it's time to find a way to Kuang Si Falls. The rental scooter is 100,000 LAK/393 THB.
And the round trip for a Tuk Tuk is 200,000 LAK/786 THB. When divided by 5 people, it's 157 THB each which is reasonable and we don't have to ride there ourselves too.
The total distance to the waterfall is 29 km.
Once we are here, we can buy some papaya salad and sticky rice to enjoy in a waterfall.
The entrance fee is 20,000 LAK / 80 THB.
Opening hours: 6.00 - 17.30
After 50 m walk, we will see this black bear cage.
And then, we find our spot, eat food, and go enjoy the water.
There're 4 levels in Kuang Si Falls, which is about 70 m tall.
It is a limestone waterfall, blue water, and now the water is so cold. This morning, the temperature is only 14 degree Celsius.
And here is the 1st floor.
2nd floor is where people like to jump.
3rd floor is not allowed for playing in the water.
It's similar to Mae Huai Khamin, Erawan, Kanchanaburi.
But the water here is so crystal clear, so good.
That's it for waterfall and now it's time to take a Tuk Tuk back.
Keep on our journey at the walking street in Luang Prabang
The products here are handmade and alike for this 2 km long walk.
Only walking pass 2 shops, I already have 5 pairs of Lao pants, haha.
Khanom Khrok (coconut-rice pancakes) is not delicious, do not buy it.
This shop is also not delicious - -!!
Let's go back to our hostel now.....our hostel offers quite a good price, it is 60,000 LAK/235 THB.
It's time to sleep, now it's already 11 p.m. and we must wake up again at 1 a.m.....
And then, we come out to wait for our van at 1 a.m. but then the van is not here even now it's already 2 a.m..
We try to ask the passing Tuk Tuk for available ride but it's so difficult to find any ride at this time. One Tuk Tuk ask for 1 million LAK, are you insane? Of course not! And here is such a disappointment from people here, they didn't do what they promised. Now, we are so sleepy and no one shows up.
We have no choice but to go back to sleep. Let's offering alms in the morning and finding the ride again.
We asked if he would go to Nong Khiew....and then he asks:
Where is Nong Khiew?....Oh well, you may go back to sleep....
Then, we go back to sleep and we are still angry for another hour.
Then, we wake up at 5 a.m. to offer alms in front of Wat Phusi.
And then.....we found a guy who ditched us last night in front of the temple. We all start to accuse him.
After that, he just turns and says....that's alright then and walk away peacefully.
/#%@#%^ Oh my, apart from anger, he made us so confuse...what a day!
This morning, I'm not sure if it's a merit or a sin even I truly wanted to offer alms.
May the bad thing be gone from my life.
To offer alms here, you can buy a set of food provided by local people. Each set is 20,000 LAK /80 THB.
There'll be a box of sticky rice, a tray of snack as well as shoulder cloth of which we need to return afterwards.
City of Luang Phrabang is very peaceful and beautiful. House are still preserved as a World Heritage Site.
If you have been to Vietnam, you will find this city is very similar to Hoi An.
There's a fee crossing this bridge as well - - 10,000 LAK. Sometimes, too much fees also destroy the charm of the city.
In fact, this city is quite cute, nice atmosphere, and have lots of beautiful temples.
After offering alms, we take a Tuk Tuk (20,000 LAK) to the north bus terminal.
The first bus to Nong Khiew is 9 a.m. and the last one is 1 p.m.
But the first one has gone since 8.xx a.m. because people were already full. So after buying a ticket, you should just go and take a set, otherwise, you could miss it. Also, you should also buy some food with you.
After 3 hrs, we now reach at Muang Ngoi bus terminal, Nong Khiew.
Now it's noon, and we ask for the return bus. They said the last bus is 4 p.m. and some day, the last one is at 5 p.m.
Immediately, we go to the foot of the mountain which is about 2 km away. You can go there by foot or taking a Tuk Tuk (5,000 LAK/20 THB).
That we have no time, so we take a Tuk Tuk there.
We start to walk from Pha Daeng and the entrance fee is 20,000 LAK/80 THB.
The approximate time for walking is 1.30 hrs as written but we spent 2 hrs as we are really weak.
Last night, we only slept like 2 hrs and until now, we haven't eaten anything yet.
That I'm so clumsy, after walking about an hour, I got bitten by bamboo thorns.
OMG..........it hurts so badly.
Help Me Please.............my finger turns purple now....
We take about an hour walking down. And it's 4 p.m. when we are down.
Songtaew waits to take us back already (5,000 LAK/20 THB). Now we are going to take the van to Luang Phrabang (50,000 LAK/197 THB).
We reach Luang Phrabang at 8 p.m. and tonight we stay at the same hostel. It's very nice hostel. The price is 60,000 LAK. It's different than the first night because we didn't book the room beforehand for tonight.
We wake up at 6 a.m. to take the van from the bus terminal to Vang Vieng (105,000 LAK/412 THB).
Our breakfast at the bus terminal is a bread (16 THB a piece), a cup of instant noodle and coffee.
A sea mist along the way
We reach Vang Vieng at 11 a.m.
My first feeling of Vang Vieng is like Patthaya in Thailand, it's quite congested.
There's a traffic jam even before reaching downtown.
A Tuk Tuk service to our hostel is 10,000 LAK/40 THB.
We are staying at Real Vang Vieng Backpackers Hostel 2, it is 50,000 LAK/197 THB per night.
Then, we look for 2 rental scooters.
Each one is 100,000 LAK (automatic gear) and we fill the fuel for each scooter for 20,000 LAK.
Our first destination is the orange bridge which is located along the way towards Tham Chang Cave.
The entrance fee for 5 people and 2 scooters is 16,000 LAK/63 THB.
People are packed. I would feel sorry for my money if I didn't get to visit Tham Chang Cave as nothing else is to be seen here.
It's now lunch time, so we just find something to eat along the way.
This corn is so plain....
Let's keep on going to Blue Lagoon 1 which is about 7 km away.
Here is a view that every must stop by along the way. It is a view of dry rice field with a mountain, looking quite like we are now in China.
Here we are and there's this huge crowd even before we get to enter, the entrance fee is 10,000 LAK/40 THB.
If you ask whether it's beautiful? The answer is yes!
If you ask whether the water is emerald green? The answer is yes!
But no review told me that the water stinks!
15 m after the jumping station, people are feeding fish as the food is floating around.
Well, 80% of tourists are Korean. It's quite fun watching them jumping.
On the way back, we will go pass Song River. If you are in no hurry, I highly recommend you guys to enjoy the atmosphere and the balloon view in the evening time.
Moo Kata (grilled pork BBQ) would heal everything and this always works!
Then, we have 2 sets of Moo Kata and a set of Chabu (sukiyaki). Each set is 1xx THB, the taste is quite delicious.
Now we are full, let's go back to take shower because tonight we are going to have a great time dancing at Sakura Bar.
There's a free beer from 7-9 p.m. and coming here, it is said that we should wear a flowery shirt.
We enjoy here until 10.30 p.m. as we need to go back and save our energy for tomorrow hike.
We ride to Pha Ngoen since 5 a.m. It's not so far from our hostel in downtown, which is only 5 km away.
The entrance fee is 14,000 LAK/55 THB.
It takes about 40 min to hike up. Gloves are recommended as rocks are quite sharp.
When seeing a crossroad, please take left. Turning right is not wrong, but it's a different peak and about half a kilo further too.
I recommend you guys to come here early in the morning as people are not that many yet so you can have good photos. This morning, besides we 5, 3 other Thai also come in the same time.
Yay, here is the peak!
The shop at the peak sells, instant noodle cups, rice porridge cups, Ovaltine, coffee, papaya salad.
But we bring our own instant noodle cup.
Our food is well prepared......
A cup of hot instant noodle on a cool mountain is such a good feeling.
What a lovely couple.
It's time to go down now. The van will come take us at 9.30 a.m. so we must go back in time.
Here is how the entrance to Pha Ngoen looks like in the morning.
The shop that sell ticket back to Vientiane has blue sign.
The fare is 50,000 LAK/197 THB and takes about 3-4 hrs.
Here is our last part of the trip...
We reach Vientiane at 3 p.m..
Then, we take a Tuk Tuk to the morning market and take a green bus to the border (6,000 LAK).
From the border, we take a Thai-Lao bus (20 THB) and get off at Nong Khai border.
Here is our 5 adventurers of this Laos trip.
At the border, we can take a Nong Khai-Ubon van which will drop us at Ubon Airpot (200 THB).
We fly with Air Asia to Don Mueng (760 THB).
Expenses Summary of 6 Days 5 Nights
- Air Udon bus fare to Nong Khai is 423 THB.
- Tuk Tuk to Nong Khai border is 50 THB.
- Green bus is 6,000 LAK.
- Tuk Tuk to Vientiane bus terminal is 5,000 LAK.
- Food and beverages at Joma shop is 37,000 LAK.
- Papaya Salad is 12,000 LAK.
- Showering is 10,000 LAK.
- Tuk Tuk to bus terminal is 7,000 LAK.
- A sleeping bus to Luang Phrabang is 200,000 LAK.
- Ovaltine and Pa Tong Ko at Prachaniyom shop is 6,000 LAK.
- Pho noodle is 15,000 LAK.
- Sabai Sabai hostel is 61,000 LAK.
- Round trip Tuk Tuk fare to Kuang Si Falls is 40,000 LAK.
- Papaya salad is 18,000 LAK.
- Morning alms offering is 20,000 LAK.
- Tuk Tuk taking us to the north bus terminal is 10,000 LAK.
- A van to Nong Khiew is 40,000 LAK.
- Pha Daeng entrance fee is 20,000 LAK.
- Round trip songtaew fare from Nong Khiew bus terminal to the mountain is 10,000 LAK.
- A van from Nong Khiew to Luang Phrabang is 50,000 LAK.
- Instant noodle cup is 10,000 LAK.
- Sabai Sabai hostel is 60,000 LAK.
- Tuk Tuk from north bus terminal to hostel is 14,000 LAK.
- Drinking water is 3,000 LAK.
17th Dec-A transportation from hostel to Luang Phrabang bus terminal is 10,000 LAK.
- A van from Luang Phrabang to Vang Vieng is 105,000 THB.
- Scooter rental and fuel is 48,000 LAK.
- Entrance fee for the orange bridge is 3,200 LAK.
- Entrance fee for Blue Lagoon is 10,000 LAK.
- Entrance fee for a bridge at Song River is 4,000 LAK.
- Moo Kata food is 41,000 LAK.18th Dec
- A van from Vang Vieng to Vientiane is 50,000 LAK.
- Entrance fee for Pha Ngoen is 14,000 LAK.
- Tuk Tuk to the bus terminal is 10,000 LAK.
- Drinking water is 3,000 LAK.
- Green bus from the morning market to the border is 6,000 LAK.
- Thai-Lao bus is 20 THB.
- The flight ticket back to Bangkok is 760 THB.
In total, it is 1,047,200 LAK/4,107 + 1208 = 5,375 THB