a VirtualTourist member from New York City
Going to be there March 17th-19th. Can't find information online about how Vang Vieng is in March, so thought I would ask on here :) is it a dead time? Popular time?
I was there in March last year. Plenty of tourists, dry season so the river is fairly tame for tubing. I hired a mountain bike & explored some of the countryside & caves. It's very pretty there, once you get out of town & away from the backpackers watching "friends" in the bars.
As mentioned it's dry season. You're fine. Just bring bug spray, and get out and enjoy the town. Don't just veg out watching Friends and Family Guy. If you check out my Vang Vieng page you'll find directions to the Blue Lagoon, definitely go and swim there. Any guesthouse you stay in should provide you a map of the caves and attractions in the area.
That said, go tubing at least once.
Have a great time!
Thanks to both of you! I will be there for my birthday, probably 2-3 days. I do want to tube, drink, zipline, etc, but I also love the bike riding and caves idea. I am both a legitimate backpacker looking to explore the culture, and a party fiend who likes to have fun on vacation. How was the weather in March? Biking seems like a swampass fest but I'm willing to do it for sure.
My route is Hanoi to Bangkok... got about 6-7 days for that :) (I'm also doing Malaysia and much of Thailand before that portion of the trip)
Yes, for sure cycle to the blue lagoon. It's quieter on weekdays, as the locals love this spot too.
The weather is March is dry & hot, getting cooler as you head north to Luang Prabang. The only down-side to this time of year is that they burn off the mountainside and this can be a problem to asthmatics and photography (visibility).
There are plenty of travel blogs on Vang Vieng eg:
www.travelfish.org is also a good source in info on SE Asia.
How long of a cycle is it to the blue lagoon?
The motorbike is about 10mins. I would say give it an hour or 45 mins of a cycle depending on how fast you cycle.
Remember to ask your hotel/guesthouse owner for a map - they all have the exact same map.
Thanks a lot! You seem to know a lot. I'm saving Vang Vieng for my birthday, going to stay there three days. Actually I'll be flying into Hanoi on the 17th and leaving Bangkok the 24th so working my way down. Should be some gnarly bus rides and some long travels... Might need to add another day in there to see more of Hanoi. Thoughts?
18 Luala Prabang
19 Vang Vieng
20 Vang Vieng
21 Vang Vieng
Not too shabby an itinerary...
The only possible way you'd get from Hanoi to Luang Prabang in time is flying. I believe Lao Airlines and Vietnam Airlines codeshare flights there, but Lao Airlines is cheaper. An overland journey between Hanoi and LP would be like a two-day minimum kind of thing.
Other than that, Your itinerary does well to see the sights based on the time you have. I was going to say you could take 2 days in LP because it's got some amazing waterfalls and river longboat cruises, but then I realised your birthday might be on the 20th and you'd really want to be in Vang Vieng and rested/ready to party up.
Yeah, like on my Laos travel page the bus between these places is a bit of a dangerous activity, and I hope you don't get carsick because it's going to be a hell of a day. That's why I don't plan on doing much the day you arrive - 6 hours on a smelly, broken-down bus going breakneck speeds around poorly constructed roads near unstable cliffs leaves me wanting to do nothing but relax for the rest of the afternoon. But who's complaining? :P
I've chucked in travel times just for your convenience.
17 Hanoi (1.5 hour flight to Luang Prabang)
18 Luala Prabang (6 hour bus to Vang Vieng, rated 7/10 on the scared for life meter)
19 Vang Vieng
20 Vang Vieng
21 Vang Vieng (5 hour bus ride, rated 5/10 on the scared for life meter)
22 Vientiane (overnight train - mine left 8pm and arrived 10:30am)
Alright, let me know if you need anything else mate.