Laos & Cambodia or just Cambodia?

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Laos & Cambodia or just Cambodia?

Postby microfragle » Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:34 am

Hi guys

Just trying to make up my mind between the Ultimate Cambodian Adventure or the Cambodia & Laos Mekong Adventure.

Cambodia & Laos Mekong Adventure appears to involve a lot more travelling and less time in places to explore while the Ultimate Cambodian Adventure appears to have less travelling but doesn’t go to Laos.

Is Laos worth it, is there enough difference from Cambodia?

Any thoughts or opinion from people who have been on the either trip appreciated

Thanks
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Re: Laos & Cambodia or just Cambodia?

Postby tletter » Tue Jun 12, 2012 7:27 am

microfragle wrote:Just trying to make up my mind between the Ultimate Cambodian Adventure or the Cambodia & Laos Mekong Adventure.

If this is your first and only time in SE Asia then I'd opt for a trip that gives you more a taste of the several countries in that region.
microfragle wrote:Is Laos worth it, is there enough difference from Cambodia?

We thought so but there is the price to pay of the extra travel time required.
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Re: Laos & Cambodia or just Cambodia?

Postby ballu » Tue Jun 12, 2012 2:24 pm

Well, the good news is you can't go wrong either way.

I did a trip similar to the Laos/Cambodia one. There were long travel days but it was a great trip. The border crossing into Laos was the most interesting one I've experience...basically a shack at the end of some village. Don Khong island isn't exactly full of activity but a nice afternoon can be spent renting a bike and riding around (it's pretty flat). Luang Prabang is beautiful and there's plenty to do. Vang Vieng is mostly known for the tubing, which is basically a floating pub crawl...but I'm not sure about G Adventure's position on it.

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=17957

As someone who did it, I didn't find it dangerous in the least...the water is very slow moving. It's only dangerous for those who overindulge in alcohol (and possibly other substances) and do stupid things around the water. For me, that was one of my favourite travel days ever.

Vientiane I could take or leave...the scenery in Laos was pretty impressive.

If you go for the Cambodia trip, you get a few beach days in there...which would also be nice. Cambodia is my favourite country so far.
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Re: Laos & Cambodia or just Cambodia?

Postby Endless Journey » Sun Jun 24, 2012 5:30 am

ballu wrote:...the scenery in Laos was pretty impressive.


second that
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Re: Laos & Cambodia or just Cambodia?

Postby missjeanbrodie » Sun Jun 24, 2012 6:26 am

Re tubing - how strong a swimmer do you have to be?
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Re: Laos & Cambodia or just Cambodia?

Postby ballu » Sun Jun 24, 2012 12:22 pm

Maybe the river is faster at other times of the year, but I found it quite slow moving...I was there in November (a few years ago). As long as you're not planning on doing any of the swings/zip line stuff, I would say you don't have to be a strong swimmer.

if you wanted you could just float in the tube the whole way and not stop off at any of the bars. If you stop, you just kind of have to paddle over to the dock.
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Re: Laos & Cambodia or just Cambodia?

Postby onyx007 » Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:55 am

missjeanbrodie wrote:Re tubing - how strong a swimmer do you have to be?


I did the "Indochina Encompassed" in February, which includes Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. And my favourite country after the journey was Laos, which I didn't thought so before the trip. But Laos is really great, Luang Prabang was my favourite place of the whole trip, especially the Elephant riding and bathing and the dinner with a local family.
Check out the Utopia-Bar.

About the tubing: GAP's Position is that it is a dangerous thing to do. Nobody in our group did it, but some of us went Kajaking. But the dangerous thing with tubing is, that is involved with lots of drinking and jumping with ropes into the river, hitting rocks or other people in tubes. Several people die every year there.
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Re: Laos & Cambodia or just Cambodia?

Postby missjeanbrodie » Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:03 pm

Thanks for your replies - I find the whole Gap / tubing thing quite contradictory. I had read stuff early on saying absolutely no way, and sort of made my peace with that, but then people on here have mentioned doing it, while on Gap trips. I'm not sure if I would anyway, as it is dangerous, but if everyone else does, I'm a bit of a sheep. :oops:
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Re: Laos & Cambodia or just Cambodia?

Postby onyx007 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:17 am

missjeanbrodie wrote:Thanks for your replies - I find the whole Gap / tubing thing quite contradictory. I had read stuff early on saying absolutely no way, and sort of made my peace with that, but then people on here have mentioned doing it, while on Gap trips. I'm not sure if I would anyway, as it is dangerous, but if everyone else does, I'm a bit of a sheep. :oops:


As you could read, there were people doing it, but your CEO will not help you in any way to organise it. You'll have to do it by finding your own way.
It's not a thing which will bring you in trouble with your tour (as cosuming drugs will, for example), but if you get hurt, GAP is not responsible in compare with activities which are booked through your CEO or GAP and above all, because the "Show-must-go-on" in such a case, you'll left behind.
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Re: Laos & Cambodia or just Cambodia?

Postby nikimarcotte » Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:40 pm

Laos ended up being one of my favorites on Indochina Discovery....was just so laid back yet lots to see and do. we were discouraged from doing the tubing..but river was super slow, we kayaked for the morning and stopped at one place that was deep to swing into the river..we hardly passed any tubes( must have been off season) and i also agree that the dangerous part wouldn't be the river itself, but the alcohol sold all along the way and the crazy swings and slides into the river with rocks down below. the tubing itself looked kind of boring to me and we would have lost the whole day if we had tubed. instead we had time for a bike ride in the afternoon.
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Re: Laos & Cambodia or just Cambodia?

Postby nox » Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:40 pm

Laos was one of my favorite countries too. Seemed very remote compared to the others and peaceful. The scenery on the river is amazing. I am a strong swimmer, but never even swam on the tubing excursion. When we were there the river was so low, we got the tubes stuck and had to walk for short distances. It was really fun and relaxing. Like others have said, I think the danger is the for the people who are getting drunk.
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Re: Laos & Cambodia or just Cambodia?

Postby michelle808 » Sat Jul 21, 2012 1:06 am

I agree with the other posters, Laos is really awesome. I wish I had spent more time there.

I travelled with G Adventures back in 2010 when they had a tour called 'Asia Backroads' that started in Beijing and ended in Bangkok via Laos. This was in June of 2010, the river at the time was totally fine. Please note, while in Vang Vieng the CEO of G Adventures will assist you with booking a tubing tour for the day w/ a local tour company but is not actually responsible for joining or assisting with that day in the event that you are injured while kayaking/tubing/swinging trapeze style over the river from the many bars that line the river. It was a big highlight of my trip after travelling accross China for two weeks & arriving into a more warm & hospitable country. The river at the time was totally calm, but you would need to gage it out once you arrive locally. The hotel at the time that we stayed at was actually on the river (not sure if it is the same place) but you would be able to tell right there if the river is to rough.

I wish I remembered which tour office my travel mate & I went with because the guys were so much fun, the British girl that I roomed with & I had a good laugh with and throughout the day with the tour leaders, they were alway trying to make us laugh.

Have an excellent trip!

Cheers
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Re: Laos & Cambodia or just Cambodia?

Postby steavesmith » Fri May 03, 2013 12:55 am

Hi Microfragle , Really all the things are very informative about Indochina tours and I went to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia through Indotrek a travel agency in Vietnam and They provided great services with in affordable budget and I would like to suggest to visit once a time all of them adventure places .
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Re: Laos & Cambodia or just Cambodia?

Postby katliney » Tue May 14, 2013 9:02 am

Hi there
I did the Hanoi to Bangkok leg of Indochina Encompassed (through Cambodia) in 2011 and the Bangkok to Hanoi leg (through Laos) in 2012.
I really recommend Laos, Luang Prabang was amazing and one of the highlights of the trip. The people in Laos are happy, smiley lovely people too. Vientiane is not particuarly interesting, but the journey down the Mekong on a boat from the Thai border to Luang Prabang was beautiful and really relaxing.
RE: tubing; I had similar internal debate about whether to do this, but in the end, I decided to go with a small group of like-minded people I met who were on an Intrepid tour.
I personally feel the 'tubing' element of tubing is not terribly risky (no more than kayaking or rowing) if you can swim and are used to being around water (I'm a freshwater biologist). The river itself was not particuarly deep or fast (I was there in late March, so it had been quite dry). The real danger to my mind is the associated drink and drugs element. Particuarly at the start of the tubing run there are lots of bars with banging techno and people with eyes like saucers. There are rope swings and zip wires into the river from the bars, which is firstly dangerous as you don't know how deep the water is, and most of the people who do this are clearly off their heads. I suspect this is where most of the accidents happen. I also heard some stories of spiking.
We were used to the chilled atmosphere in the rest of Laos, and were a bit horrified by the scene that greeted us here so we paddled past this bit as fast as possible, and once clear, it was extremely pleasant to float gently down the river in your tube.
In summary, go with some people who you like and trust (and aren't big party animals!), paddle like hell past the zombies, then enjoy! Maybe stop for one or two cans of Beerlao (opened by yourself!) in one of the quieter bars a bit further on. Wear a t-shirt and long shorts so you don't get frazzled by the sun too.
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Re: Laos & Cambodia or just Cambodia?

Postby i_schneider » Sat May 18, 2013 7:55 am

hi there, i did the cambodia & laos mekong adventure this past feb/march. I wans't sure what to expect in Laos, but it ended up being the best part of the trip. I've recommended laos as a travel destination to anyone that loves to travel. Luang prabang was excellent, we had 3 nights there, but could have stayed much longer. We went tubing in caves in Vang Vieng, and kayaked down the river. The water was low at the time so it was safe. High water, you wont be able to do the caves.

Dont pass up the opportunity to travel in Laos!
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