Feedback on Laos: Waterfalls, caves and smiles!

Administrative

  • Visa (Tourism), 30 days validity, single entry:
    • Piece of advice: Take USD with you to get through customs, unless you want to pay extra by 20%…
    • 30$/pp + 1$/pp for overtime fees if you get there after 4PM… (It’s official, according to the Belgian Enbassy in Laos)
  • Currency: Lao Kip (LAK) ; 1€ ~ 10.000 LAK (February 2018)
  • Local bank fees: 20.000 LAK to 60.000 LAK, depending on the bank and withdrawal amount (2.000.000 LAK tops, 60.000 LAK fee)
  • Language: Lao and dialects, Chinese, a bit of French, a bit of English, …

 


Our itinerary

 


Our stay

03/03/2018 – 28/03/2018 ; 23 days

 


Our best pics

 

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Temple, Oudomxay
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Countryside,  Oudomxay
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Our rented motorbike in Oudomxay
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Namkat waterfall, Oudomxay
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Chom Ong cave, Oudomxay
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Climbing up the hills, Nong Khiaw
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Viewpoint from the top, Nong Khiaw

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Viewpoint at Phu Si hill, Luang Prabang
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Kuang Si falls, Luang Prabang

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Kuang Si main waterfall, Luang Prabang
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Great menu in a restaurant, Vang Vieng :p
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Trekking in Nong Khiaw

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Lu Si cave, Vang Vieng
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Cows chilling along the river, Vang Vieng
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Blue Lagoon, Vang Vieng
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Buddha park, Ventiane

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Waterfalls, Bolavens Plateau, Pakse

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Cascades Tad Somphamit (3)
Samphamit waterfalls, 4000 islands

Cascades Tad Somphamit (7)

Cascades Tad Somphamit (15)

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Global and average daily expenses for two people

  • Admission (visa, temples, waterfalls, caves, toilets) : 121€ (including 28€/pp Visa fee and 25€/pp for all waterfalls and caves)
  • Transport (Bus, minivan, tuk-tuk and motorbike) : 152€ (34€/pp bus, 12€/pp tuk-tuk, 20€/pp minivan and 10€/pp motorbike)
  • Food : 314€ (1,5-5€/pp for a basic dish, count 6,5€/pp a day)
  • Hotel : 183€ (7-8€/a night)
  • Tips (bank fees, exchange fees, guide fees and misc): 36€ (21€ bank fees, 5€ guide fees and 6€ exchange fees)
  • Others (laundry, shopping and motorbike gas) : 46€

 

Global expense: 853€

Average daily expense for two people: 32€ (excluding visa fees)

 


Global feedback

  • + + :
    • Gorgeous landscape, nature, waterfalls and caves
    • Cheap transports
    • Comfortable accommodations, even for 10€/night
    • Laotians smile a lot and are nice!
    • Laotians have a zen attitude and are totally unstressed people
    • Food and milkshakes are delicious (sugarless)
    • Streets and towns are clean, generally speaking (definitely better than India, but not as clean as Thailand is)
  • – – :
    • English is not that widely spread, which makes communicating difficult
    • Corruption and suspicious fees (2$ tampon fees, fake overtime fee, …)
    • Public toilets are not free
    • Cheap basic food, but trying something new (even local) is always twice or three times the price for the basics
    • Sugar everywhere, in every beverage! You definitely have to specify it without sugar unless you want to get diabetes!
    • Crappy roads with potholes (driving motorbike is a nightmare)
    • Tourists everywhere! Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang in particular feel like resorts and overwhelmed with our western culture

 


Feedback and feelings on our trip

We expected a lot from Laos, its nature, wilderness, waterfalls and caves and we were not disappointed at all! We enjoyed Kuang Si falls in Luang Prabang, Somphamit falls in the 4000 islands, Chom Ong cave in Oudomxay, Lu Si cave in Vang Vieng and our treks in Nong Khiaw and Vang Vieng!

Information and advice are quite scarce on the web and we thought we would get away from mass tourism, but were disappointed to see so much western influence in Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang. We planned on chilling and relaxing at the 400 islands, but the place atmosphere did not seduce us. Overwhelmed by mass tourism, isolated from the land, overpriced and locals could have been nicer in our opinion.

English was often an issue in most places and it was frustrating not being able to discuss with locals to learn about their culture and way to live. We cannot help but think we missed out a great deal as a consequence.

Crossing the borders by land from Thailand and to Cambodia left us powerless and tired because of their corrupted customs officers. It is really a shame that they act this way with tourists

How about you? Ever been to Laos or maybe considering to get there? What do you think about it? Share your opinions with us in comments!

 

Publicités

G) 4000 islands (ENG)

24/03/2018 – 28/03/2018

 

A few words about the Four Thousand islands

Si Phan Don – The 4000 islands, are clusters of islands located in southern Laos, close to the Cambodian border. There are plenty of them around (most of them remain unhabited), but definitely not 4000 :p The two biggest ones are Don (Island) Det and Don Khone. On Don Det, there is nothing to do except chilling out in cheap accomodations, while on Don Khone, you will find resorts and Somphamit waterfalls.

This is the last place we are going to stay before heading to Cambodia (there is a border at 14km from the islands), which is quite famous among travellers to be the best location to chill out in a hammoc.


Transport from Pakse

As we mentionned in a previous post (clic here to read our post on Pakse), it is possible to book your seat in a bus at the « Laos Adventurer Travel », for 50.000 LAK/pp (5€). From Pakse, it takes 3 hours to get to the closest Bus station (Nakasang town, 500m from the pier). Boat fee is 15.000 LAK/pp (1,5€) to Don Det and 20.000 LAK/pp (2€) to Don Khone. At « Laos Adventurer Travel », it was included our bus ticket.

PS: We strongly advise you to book your bus to Cambodia here, as it is more expensive  on the islands (it’s possible to pay tickets by credit card, but there is a 4 to 6% fee if you do!), if you plan on crossing the border later on. « Laos Adventurer Travel » sells tickets without specifying the date (you can decide to go whenever you want) to all major Cambodian cities (Ban Lung, Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, …).

We will speak about that in details (fees and tickets costs) in another post.


Accomodations

There are plenty of accomodations on the islands because that’s all there is to do over there 😀 We unfortunately can’t really give any intel abut Don Khone because we did not look for it there. However, on Don Det, all of the bungalows are located either on the western coast, either on the eastern one. You can have a look at both, but, in my opinion, the eastern coast is way better (cleaner and a bit more lively). Don’t expect any luxury for the price they ask (40.000 – 50.000 LAK/night), but make sure you have your own hammoc :p


Restaurants

There are many restaurants along the coasts. They are slightly overprices compared with the ground, but generally writing, you can find basic diishes for 15.000 – 30.00 LAK (1,5-3€). Beers are sold at 12.000 LAK (1,2€) instead of the usual 10.000 LAK (1€) evrywhere else in Laos.

We tried a few, but these are the ones we liked the most:

  • Pudi restaurant (delicious cheap food, but don’t take milkshakes there)
  • Mama Phouwan (average food, but they make tasty milkshakes for only 8.000 LAK (0,8€))

 

Bouffe (1)
Egg – Vegetables Sandwich
Bouffe (2)
Local desert: Sticky rice and banana honey
Bouffe (3)
Fried rice with beef and vegetables

Activities

  • Tubing (Get tanned on a rubber  on the river)
  • Tad Somphamit waterfalls on Don Khone (35.000 LAK/pp entrance fee – 3,5€) – More expensive, but they are really worth it
  • Rent a bicycle to see around (10.000 LAK/day – 1€). We didn’t because we prefer walking :p (15km to see everything)
  • Get tanned on small beaches (there is a good one south of Tad Somphamit)
  • Hammocking… As you know/will see, Laos is a really unstressed country, but here is another level of lazyness :p Sometimes, you even get the feeling that they would want you to cook yourself 😀


A few pics of the islands

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What can you do if the cat wants the hammock, but you want it too ?

Tad Somphamit pics

Cascades Tad Somphamit (2)

Cascades Tad Somphamit (3)

 

Cascades Tad Somphamit (7)

Cascades Tad Somphamit (9)

Cascades Tad Somphamit (11)

Cascades Tad Somphamit (12)

Cascades Tad Somphamit (15)

Cascades Tad Somphamit (16)

Cascades Tad Somphamit (17)

 

Next step: We will take minvans and a bus to cross the Cambodian border and reach Siem Reap, famous city with the Angkor Temples!

F) Pakse (ENG)

20/03/2018 – 24/03/2018

 

A few words on Pakse

Pakse is a small town in the South of Laos famous for the Bolavens Plateau close by. You can explore it by motorbike or organised tours. Located 10km from town, the Plateau is home to lots of waterfalls and typical villages.

Road are here in good shape (in opposition with Oudomxay) and it’s safer to ride. Count 100km a day to get to Tad Lo village, 60km from Tad Lo to Paksong and 40km from Paksong back to Pakse.

However, we were rather unfortunate to be there while the entire road from Paksong to Paske (40km) was under construction. A two exhausting hours drive on gravels and dust where we even landed off on our asses… We we were so fed up that we skipped the last two waterfalls and coffee plantation.

 


How to get from Ventiane to Pakse?

Any Hostel and Guesthouse sells bus tickets to the major cities in Laos and surrounding countries. We paid 150.000 LAK/pp for a night bus. Starting at 6-8 PM (a tuk-tuk will pick you up for free at your GH and get you to the bus station), you will get to Pakse 12 hours later, around 7AM. Arrived at the bus station, you will have to convert the ticket that was given to you at the GH to an official bus ticket.

Beds are quite small, but comfy and power sockets are available at each bed!

 


 

Accomodations?

All of the cheap guesthouses (7-10€/night for a private room with bathroom) are located in the north, close to the travel agency « Laos Adventurer Tour ». That’s also the cheapest place to rent a motorbike by the way (50.000 LAK/day – 5€). Count 32.000 LAK for a full tank.

 


Activities?

Pakse in itself is not really worth seeing. There is only a few pics to take of the Mekong river and a temple besides just chilling out at your guesthouse.

The Bolavens Plateau is really the big thing here. Maps are available in any GH in town and they are quite accurate. You have got a few options to go there and see the waterfalls, depending on your budget and the time you have at your disposal.

There is a small and a big loop, but we heard that the big one was more dangerous because roads were not in good shape and there is even a waterfall that you are strongly advised not to go to (« criminal zone » written on the map!!). I summarized hereunder your options with the costs:

Option 1: 1 Day tour (Car/minivan)

  • 150.000-180.000 LAK/ pp (15-18€/pp)
  • Petrol cost included
  • Parking cost included
  • No need to book any hotel on the way
  • One day
  • 45 minutes stop at each spot (waterfalls, villages and local tribes)
  • No trekking
  • Relaxing trip

Option 2: Several days tour (Motorbike)

  • Motorbike rental: 50.000 LAK/day (5€) – 150.000 LAK (15€) for the three days)
  • Tank (32.000 LAK/ full tank (3,2€) – 47.000 LAK (4,7€) to fill it up 1,5 times)
  • Parking fees (2000 LAK/waterfall or you park far from it and you walk :p)
  • Two nights on the way (30.000 LAK/night (3€) in Tad Lo and 70.000 LAK/night (7€)  in Paksong)
  • Three days
  • Freedom
  • Trekking between Tad Yuang and Tad Fane waterfall
  • Exhausting drive

 

As a conclusion, I would say that both options are similar. Personnaly, we enjoyed taking our time at the different stops but driving was a pain in the ass. From Tad Lo to Paksong, there is nothing to see and we drove 40km on a road under construction from Paksong to Pakse. Would we have to do it all again, I think we would take option 1 instead 😀

Here are the major waterfalls along the way:

  1. Tad Phasuam, Bachieng village (10.000 LAK/pp)
  2. 1000 years old trees, Phopoum village
  3. Tad Suong, San-Dong village
  4. Tad Huang (4000 LAK/pp) and Tad Lo (6000 LAK/pp), Tad Lo village
  5. Tad Yuang, at km 40 (10.000 LAK/pp)
  6. Tad Fane, at km 40 (free if you trek from Tad Yuang; 3km)
  7. Coffee plantations and Thamchampy waterfall (we didn’t go there)
  8. E-Tu Waterfall, a bit further on the road (we didn’t go there either)

 


A few pics of Pakse

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Pakse beach!
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Thaxe Mai village chinese temple (on the other side of the bridge in Pakse)

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Mango tree 😀

 


 

Pics on the road in the Bolavens Plateau

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Two pics from Tad Phasuam waterfall

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Thousands years old trees, Phopoum village
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Two pics of Tad Suong waterfall, San-Dong village

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Three pics of Tad Huang waterfall, Tad Lo village

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Two pics of Tad Lo waterfall, Tad Lo village

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Tad Yuang area
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Tad Yuang waterfall, from above
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Tad Yuang waterfall, from under
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Trekking path from Tad Yuang waterfall to Tad Fane waterfall
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Tad Fane waterfall
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Sun drying coffee in front a house along the road to Paksong

 

Our next step is going to be the 4000 islands before heading to Cambodia.

E) Ventiane (ENG)

16/03/2018 – 19/03/2018

Ventiane, Capital city of Laos.

We are not big fans of capitals and huge cities, but we decided to spend a few days there. Even though there is not much to do or see, it is still worth coming and stay max 2 days :p

 

How to reach Ventiane from Vang Vieng

You will find travel agencies all over Vang Vieng, with similar prices. Usually you can book a bus for 50.000-60.000 LAK/pp (5-6€)/pp.

The place we booked at is located along the main road, close to one of the paying bridge.

 

Where can I sleep?

Keep in mind the prices listed hereunder:

  • Dormitory: 40.000 LAK/bed (4€)
  • Mid-range Guesthouse/Hostel : 100.000-120.000 LAK/room (10-12€)

The cheapest place we found was called « Orange backpacker hostel » for 75.000 LAK/night (7,5€) for a private twin room with fan, shared bathroom. The place was not really great, with basic facilites and not that clean, but it did the job :p

 

Where can I eat?

There are literally tons of restaurants in town, with different price ranges to every budget. Backpackers can find cheap street food along Chao Anouvong Park (usually 15.000-25.000 LAK/pp). There are noodles, sandwiches, sushis, kebabs and many others.

 

Here are a few pictures of food in Ventiane:

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Crispy pork noodles soup
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Fried egg noodles soup
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Nems, peanuts, veggies and pork
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Cheesy corn
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Spicy nems with fried noodles
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Tofu and eggs salade

 

What to see?

  • Visit COPE museum. You will learn a lot about Laos war history, bombings and protesthetics (free entry, but you can make small donations if you want).
  • Temples
    • Wat Inpeng
    • Wat Haysok
    • Ho Phra Keo
    • Wat Sisaket
    • Pha That Luang / Wat That Luang Tai
  • Parks
    • Buddha park
    • Chao Anouvong park (+ night market and street food at night)
  • Monuments
    • Chao Fa Ngum
    • White Elephant
    • Chao Anouvong statue
    • Presidential palace
    • Patuxay (Victory Gate)
    • Sai Setthathirath King statue

 

COPE Museum

USAF dropped around 2.000.000 tons of bombs all over Laos in 580.000 missions between 1964-1973. That means dropping a whole loadout every 8 minutes; 24 hours a day, for 9 years!

There were 270 millions of cluster bombs and nowadays, the government estimated that 10-30% of them still have not exploded and are a huge danger to children and farmers. Countless lifes are still lost because children innocently play with them or try to get scraps to sell.

(*) Cluster bombs, or « bombies », as people call them in Laos, are dropped in canisters, which open in the sky to drop enough of these little fuckers to cover a football field area…

More info here

 

Buddha park

The park is located 20km away from the city and you can find transportations to get there close to the Central Bus station. There plenty of tuk-tuks drivers who will ask you for 150.000 LAK on the main road, but you can get way cheaper by local bus for 6000 LAK/pp (0,6€) in a perpendicular road. Look where the tuk-tuks are and you will see the road and a road map as well. Bus run really often and the one you need to take is the one heading for the Buddha Park/Friendship bridge.

Buddha park is quite a small place, but really nice and beautiful with all those statues. There is a viewpoint on a staute at the entrance, but yu will have to enter the large statue, with steep steps and without safety barriers.

 

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You will get to the viewpoint through the mouth

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Monuments

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Ventiane Presiential Palace
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Chao Anouvong staute, in Chao Anouvong Park

 

We have visited coultless statues and temples over the past few months and we are starting to feel like we have had enough :p

 

Flowers

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Next step: Sleeping bus for 15 hours to Pakse, in the South

Notre bilan du Laos: Cascades, grottes et sourires!

Administratif

  • Visa (Tourisme) valable pour 30 jours, 1 entrée
    • Attention, prévoyez des USD sinon la douane prend 20%…
    • 30$/pp + 1$/pp pour heures supplémentaires si vous arrivez après 16h… (C’est normal et officiel d’après l’Ambassade de Belgique au Laos)
  • Monnaie : Lao Kip (LAK) ; 1€ ~ 10.000 LAK (Février 2018)
  • Frais bancaires généraux : 20.000-60.000 LAK par les banques Laotiennes, selon le montant et la banque (retrait max de 2.000.000 LAK, frais de 60.000 LAK)
  • Langue : Lao et dialectes, Chinois, un peu de Français, un peu d’Anglais, …

Notre itinéraire


Période et durée de notre séjour

03/03/2018 – 28/03/2018 ; 23 jours


Nos meilleures photos

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Temple à Oudomxay
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Campagne,  Oudomxay

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Cascadde de Namkat, Oudomxay
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Grotte de Chom Ong, Oudomxay
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Trek en haut des collines, Nong Khiaw
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Point de vue en haut des collines, Nong Khiaw

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Point de vue en haut de la colline de Phu Si, Luang Prabang
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Cascades de Kuang Si, Luang Prabang

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Cascade principale de Kuang Si, Luang Prabang
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Menu dans un restaurant de Vang Vieng :p
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Trek, Nong Khiaw

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Grotte de Lu Si, Vang Vieng
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Vaches le long de la rivière, Vang Vieng
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Blue Lagoon, Vang Vieng
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Bouddha park, Ventiane

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Cascades sur le Plateau des Bolavens, Pakse

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Cascades Tad Somphamit (3)
Cascades de Samphamit, 4000 îles

Cascades Tad Somphamit (7)

Cascades Tad Somphamit (15)

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Notre budget global et budget moyen par jour pour nous deux

  • Admission (visa, temples, cascades, grottes, toilettes) : 121€ (dont environ 28€/pp pour le Visa et 25€/pp pour les cascades et grottes)
  • Transport (Bus, minivan, tuk-tuk et scooter) : 152€ (34€/pp bus, 12€/pp tuk-tuk, 20€/pp minivan et 10€/pp scooter)
  • Food : 314€ (1,5-5€/pp pour un plat, comptez environ 6,5€/pp par jour)
  • Hôtel : 183€ (7-8€/chambre la nuit)
  • Tips (frais bancaires, de change, guides et autres frais): 36€ (21€ frais bancaires, 5€ guide et 6€ frais de change)
  • Autres (lessive, shopping et essence scooter) : 46€

Budget global : 853€

Budget moyen par jour pour deux personnes : 32€ (sans compter le visa)


Nos impressions générales

  • + + :
    • Paysages, nature, cascades et grottes fabuleuses
    • Transports bon marchés
    • Hôtels très confortables, même pour moins de 10€/nuit
    • Les sourires sur tous les visages et la gentillesse des Laotiens !
    • Le côté zen, calme et non-stressé des Laotiens (même si parfois on a envie de les réveiller un peu)
    • La nourriture et les milkshakes (Précisez sans sucre car ils en mettent pour tout le village)
    • La propreté des rues et des villes en général (bien mieux que l’Inde, mais un peu moins que la Thaïlande)
  • – – :
    • Barrière de la langue, très peu d’Anglais
    • Corruption et frais supplémentaires nébuleux (2$ pour un tampon aux frontières, fausses heures supplémentaires, …)
    • Toilettes publiques toujours payantes (quelques centimes, mais au bout du fil, ça peut compter)
    • Nourriture en général assez chère si on veut prendre autre chose qu’un plat basique
    • Ils mettent énormément de sucre dans les boissons (Précisez toujours « sans sucre » pour vos milkshakes si vous ne voulez pas devenir diabétique)
    • L’état désastreux des routes (quel cauchemar parfois en scooter)
    • Le tourisme de masse (dans certaines villes comme Vang Vieng et Luang Prabang)

Nos conclusions

On attendait beaucoup du Laos pour son côté très nature, ses cascades et ses grottes et nous n’avons pas été déçus avec les cascades de Kuang Si à Luang Prabang, de Somphamit aux 4000 îles, les grottes de Chom Ong à Oudomxay et de Lu Si à Vang Vieng ainsi que les treks de Nong Khiaw et Vang Vieng!

N’ayant pas trop trouvé au préalable beaucoup d’infos sur internet, on s’attendait un peu à s’évader des coins touristiques, mais au contraire, certaines villes comme Vang Vieng et Luang Prabang sont assez occidentalisées. On pensait se reposer aux 4000 îles, mais c’était un peu trop touristique, très isolé de la terre et certains locaux moins sympas que dans les autres villes)

Le faible niveau d’Anglais nous a parfois un peu frustré car il était très difficile de discuter avec les locaux pour en apprendre plus sur le pays, la population et leurs coutumes.

Le passage des frontières Thaïlande – Laos et Laos – Cambodge est vraiment épuisant à cause de la corruption et c’est dommage qu’ils agissent comme ça avec les touristes.

Et vous,  qu’en pensez-vous? Aimeriez-vous visiter le Laos? Partagez vos idées avec nous !

C) Luang Prabang (ENG)

08/03/2018 – 11/03/2018

 

How to get to Luang Prabang from Nong Khiaw ?

  • Nong Khiaw bus station (located in the west of town)
  • Schedule and price :
    • To LP Northern bus Station : 40.000 LAK/pp (4€/pp). Three bus/day (9AM, 11AM and 12:30PM)
    • To LP Southern bus Station : 50.000 LAK/pp (5€/pp). One bus/day (1:30PM)

 

Where can I sleep?

LP is quite a big city and a World Heritage Site, where 90% of guesthouses and accomodations located close to the city centre, around Phu Si hill. You can easily get there by tuk-tuk for 10.000-15.000 LAK/pp (1-1,5€/pp) from the bus station (Don’t worry, they will find you). Walking is also possible, as the city centre is only 3-4 km from there.

We did not book any Guesthouse to avoid Booking.com commission, but we had quite a hard time finding the one in our budget :p Most of the hotels in town cost 20-30$/night (16-25€)

Here is what to expect :

  • Guesthouses : 100.000-160.000 LAK/night (10-16€/night)
  • Hotels : 20-30$/night (16-25€/night)

 

We enquired in several places but most of them where full and we eventually chose the Viengchalern Guesthouse. Small rooms, but AC and private bathrooms that you can bargain for 10.000 LAK/night (10€). Tea and instant coffee are free to use as much as you want (until the guys at the reception go to sleep and unplung the boiler. As they say, it tastes better when it’s free, right?)

 

What can I do ?

  •  Like the other towns we went to, there are plenty of travel agencies for trekking, elephant rides and everything
  • Visit temples (a few are free)
    • Wat Aphay
    • Wat Aram, Visou and That Makmo
    • Wat Mathathat (Phramahathat) and Ho Siang Voravihane (Rajbovoravihane)
    • Wat Sene Souk Haram
    • Wat Sop Sickharam
  • Royal palace and National Museum (Free entrance if you get in through the « East entrance to morning market » on maps.me)
  • Phu Si Hill and temples (20.000 LAK/pp – 2€/pp)
  • Luang Prabang beach 😀
  • Outside town:
    • Kuang Si waterfalls (go and back and 3 hours onsite) : 20.000 LAK/pp (2€/pp)
      • Tuk-tuk : 30.000 LAK/pp (3€/pp)
      • Minivan : 30.000-50.000 LAK/pp (3-5€/pp)
        • You can find them on Chao Fa Ngum Road, south-east of the Night Market)
        • Count at least three hours to relax there. There a several viewpoints on the waterfalls, hikes to the top, swimming areas and 3-4km treks paths leading to caves and other waterfalls up the hill, but we did not get time to get there.
        • Just for the record, there was also a way to get in without paying the entrance fee, if you start where the 3-4km path ends (maps.me)
    • Tad Sae waterfalls (We did not go there)
    • Pak Ou Caves (We did not go there)

We were not lucky there either with the rain and we spent a few days in town instead of visiting.

 

A few pictures

Temples

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Wat Phramahathat and Rajbovoravihane entrance Naga
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Wat Phramahathat
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Royal Palace temple (the Palace itself is not worth a visit)
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Bouddha statue at Wat Aphay
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Wat Sene Souk Haram
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Bouddha statue – Wat Sop Sickharam
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Ceremonial boats in the temple
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Wat Sop Sickharam

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Luang Prabang beach
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Wooden bridge over Nam Khan river, in the city centre
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Typical street

 

Phu Si Hill and temples

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According to the Legend, Bouddha was protected by the rain by a king cobra when he meditated in the woods

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😀

Kuang Si waterfalls and Bears rescue centre

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Bears rescued from all over are brought at the centre by an Association. They use to be hunt and killed on a regularis basis in Asia for their paws and bile because of its use in traditional medicine

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A few pictures of Kuang Si watefalls and lagoons filled with greenish-blue waters. Just so you know, the color comes from high concentrated limestone in the area (and explains the caves!)

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Main waterfall 😀

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Kuang Si waterfalls were one of the best we have seen so far.  Even though it is a touristic place and can be pretty crowded, it would be sad to miss them!

 

What can I eat?

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Buffet for 15.000 LAK/pp (1,5€/pp) and the shop is located in a little street close to the night market.
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Luang Prabang Hot dogs
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We could not resist…
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Early bird sandwich (chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, basil and chilies with cheese)

 

Next step : Vang Vieng, city located in a karst region (similar to Guilin in China) 😀

Prochaine étape : La ville de Vang Vieng située dans une région karstique du Laos 😀

G) 4000 îles (Don Det – Don Khone)

Période : 24/03/2018 – 28/03/2018

 

Si Phan Don (qui signifie les 4000 îles) est un archipel fluvial dans le sud du Laos, marquant la frontière naturelle avec le Cambodge. Il y a un grand nombre d’îles, dont la plupart restent inhabitées, mais pas 4000 :p Les deux principales étant Don Det (plus orientées « backpackers ») et Don Khone (regroupant resorts, restos chics).

Dernière destination avant le Cambodge, dont une frontière terrestre se trouve à environ 14 km des deux principales îles, Si Phan Don est connue pour sa tranquillité et la vie paisible qui s’y est développée. Si vous aimez glander dans un hamac, c’est là qu’il faut aller 😀

 

Comment s’y rendre depuis Pakse?

Comme mentionné dans un article précédent (Voir notre article sur Pakse ici), vous pouvez réservez un ticket de bus auprès de l’agence « Laos Adventurer travel », pour la modique somme de 50.000 LAK/pp. Le trajet dure environ trois heures et le bus vous déposera à la station de Nakasang, située à environ 500m de l’embarcadère pour Don Det/Don Khone. Le prix du bateau est de 15.000 LAK/pp pour Don Det et 20.000 LAK/pp pour Don Khone, mais il est généralement compris dans le ticket remis par « Laos Adventurer Travel » à Pakse.

PS: nous en reparlerons dans un prochain article, mais on vous conseille également d’y réserver votre bus qui part au Cambodge, si jamais vous avez l’intention de passer la frontière, car tout est plus cher sur les îles.

 

Où loger?

Ce n’est pas trop compliqué de trouver un endroit où dormir car en fait il n’y a que ça à faire sur les îles! Privilégiez un bungalow avec vue sur le Mékong pour y admirer les couchers de soleil. Le prix moyen d’un bungalow avec salle de bain privative est de 40.000 – 50.000 LAK/nuit). On ne vous cache pas que ce n’est pas le grand luxe, mais après tout, vous vous rendez là-bas pour juste vous la couler douce pendant quelques jours pas vrai? Le principal est qu’il y ait un hamac devant la porte et c’est bon :p

 

Où manger

Il y a des restaurants un peu partout le long des côtes sur les îles et les prix sont généralement un peu plus élevés que sur la terre ferme, mais vous trouverez un plat entre 15.000 LAK et 30.000 LAK. Attention, ici les bières sont à 12.000 LAK au lieu de 10.000 LAK partout ailleurs au Laos ! Comme les Thaïlandais, les Laotiens sont très têtus et il est difficile de négocier (on a réussi à obtenir 11.000 LAK mais pas en-dessous)

Voici ceux qu’on a particulièrement apprécié:

  • Pudi restaurant (très bon et pas cher, sauf les milkshakes)
  • Mama Phouwan (Assez bon, mais surtout les milkshakes à 8.000 LAK)

 

Bouffe (1)
Sandwich aux œufs et légumes
Bouffe (2)
Dessert local: bananes au miel et riz gluant
Bouffe (3)
Riz sauté au bœuf et légumes

Que faire aux 4000 îles?

Il y a plusieurs petites choses à faire:

  • Tubing tranquille (comprenez faire bronzette sur une bouée en vous laissant porter par le courant)
  • Cascades Tad Somphamit sur l’île de Don Khone (35.000 LAK/pp) – Elles sont un peu plus chères que les autres, mais elles valent vraiment le coup d’œil 😉
  • Louer un vélo pour faire le tour des îles (10.000 LAK/jour). Sans se fouler, on peu également le faire à pied (environ 15km de marche)
  • Bronzer
  • Se la couler douce dans un hamac… Déjà que le Laos, c’est pas le pays le plus stressé au monde, ici c’est encore un cran en-dessous :p Parfois on a quand même envie de les secouer un peu car c’est limite s’ils ne demandent pas qu’on fasse aussi la cuisine 😀

 

Quelques photos des îles

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« Voilà la seule solution quand tu dois te battre avec le chat pour avoir un hamac »

 

Quelques photos des cascades de Somphamit

Cascades Tad Somphamit (2)

Cascades Tad Somphamit (3)

 

Cascades Tad Somphamit (7)

Cascades Tad Somphamit (9)

Cascades Tad Somphamit (11)

Cascades Tad Somphamit (12)

Cascades Tad Somphamit (15)

Cascades Tad Somphamit (16)

Cascades Tad Somphamit (17)

 

 

Prochaine étape: Direction le Cambodge et la ville de Siem Reap, où nous visiterons le célèbre complexe de temples d’Angkor !