1. Savannakhet – 1 night. Why did I choose to start my journey in Laos from here? Simply…I didn’t find another bus from Da Nang to Laos. I’ve spent almost one week to research and ask about the buses to Laos, my initial plan was to start from Pakse but due to the Luna New Year and to the crisis with the Corona Virus, I consider myself lucky that I found this option. The bus was 400.000 VND and the travel was around 11 hours with the stop at the border too. I applied for a visa on arrival at Densavanh crossing point that cost me 30 dollars. Savannakhet was a location where I’ve met my first Lao people and where I realized that google maps won’t be too helpful in Laos.
2. Thakhek – 3 nights. I decided to skip the south of Laos for this trip and I continued my journey from Savannakhet to Thakhek heading north step by step. This is one of the oldest French cities in Laos, along the Mekong River. The center is quite picturesque full of old french houses but the city is known as a starting point for the loop of caves and hikes in central Laos. Traveling alone this loop didn’t attract me too much but in Thakhek I got in touch with some locals and I could have visited Buddha Cave and some villages around.
3. Pakxane – 3 nights. One of the girls met in Thakhek was from Pakxane so I decided to have a stop in this town too. If in Thakhek, I’ve met a few backpackers willing to ride around, Pakxane is not touristic at all. So I could say that for three days, I lived like a local. This place is so special for me because of the people that opened it to me.
4. Vientiane – 4 nights. The first big city of Laos visited after one week in this country. As I expected, even the capital has a lot of rural vibe in a good way. I loved that it wasn’t too crowded and that they preserved many historical buildings. I’ve visited some museums to get in touch with the history of Laos and I took my time to relax. Vientiane is a chill city, Touristique but not too much so for me it was a great time.
5. Vang Vieng – 3 nights. In the beginning, it wasn’t on my list but other backpackers recommended it to me. I understood why there…this place is designed as a party zone. I avoided this but the nature around it’s amazing and the activities proposed are pretty cool. As I wrote before, Vang Vieng was a place where I decided to face some of my fears.
6. Luang Prabang – 5 nights. I ended my travel to Laos with the most famous city and the most tourist place in Laos. I wasn’t so annoyed by the presence of so many tourists because somehow I’ve always found a place of quiet there. Even in the heart of the city, I found a historical house with a beautiful garden where I could spend some time on my own. You have a vast list of choices with things to do in Luang Prabang but it depends on your budget, read my other article where I shared more pieces of information about my time there.
My objective after Laos was to reach Myanmar but the border between them is closed for foreigners or it could be open but you need to find your way by yourself, that’s why I considered it easier to cross firstly to Thailand. So from Luang Prabang, I took a bus to Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand. I booked it at my hostel for 340.000 KIP. Attention!!! The bus is not direct… the journey is chaotic. We left Luang Prabang at 17.30h and the bus announced to us that we should go out around 06.00 am. We waited for more than two hours for a van to take us to the Lao border, then we changed the van to reach the Thai Border, and afterward, we took a minibus that drove us to Chiang Mai with a stop first to Chiang Rai. All in all the trip was exactly 24 hours when I reached my hostel in Chiang Mai.