The Thailand-Laos border crossing

Luang Prabang, Vientiane and a lot more: the Laos podcast

Laos is a truly beautiful country, with high, mist-covered mountains dropping into steep river valleys. We were lucky to have Stray Asia take us on a lightening-fast 10-day tour through Northern Thailand and Laos. And we loved it…

To listen, hit play below or find episode 177 in iTunes, Stitcher or Soundcloud:

Laos travel – the video!

This video contains all ten days of the Tom Yum pass in just 12 minutes. Getting an action-packed period into just over one minute per day is pretty impressive if you ask me.

The Thailand-Laos border at Chiang Khong

The Thailand-Laos border crossing

The Thailand-Laos border crossing

We had no problems checking out of Thailand, and caught a small boat across the river to Laos. Border control there was hectic and badly organised but, although it took forever, we had no hassles. Every ATM in the country was out of operation for the first two days were were in Laos, so we were glad Dave had recommended we carry cash in from Thailand.

Meeting the Stray Asia bus in Laos

Meeting the Stray Asia bus in Laos

Luang Namtha to Nong Khiaw

Day two of our time in Laos brought us up-close and personal with the desperate poverty found outside the city centres.

Live bats for sale at a roadside market in northern Laos.

Live bats for sale at a roadside market in northern Laos.


Boys play with massive wooden spinning tops

Boys play with massive wooden spinning tops in a Lao village

We spent the night in the stunning scenery of Nong Khiaw. Amazing hiking and climbing opportunities here.

Linda relaxes at our bungalow in Nong Khiaw

Linda relaxes at our bungalow in Nong Khiaw


Young monks cross the bridge at Nong Khiaw, Laos

Young monks cross the bridge at Nong Khiaw, Laos

Nong Khiaw to Luang Prabang … by boat

Morning mist shrouds the river valley at Nong Khiaw, Laos

Morning mist shrouds the river valley at Nong Khiaw, Laos


Chom takes a break from the boat in northern Laos

Chom takes a break from the boat in northern Laos

Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng

Luang Prabang is one of the most beautiful towns we’ve visited, and the night markets there held some of the highest quality handcrafts we’ve ever spotted in a market. Vang Vieng, however … let’s not talk about Vang Vieng.

Delicious streetfood at the night markets of Luang Prabang, Laos

Delicious streetfood at the night markets of Luang Prabang, Laos

Vang Vieng to Vientiane

We explored Vientiane with an iPhone app courtesy of Travelfish. It was a great day-tour, but we had too little time before bribing the border guards to allow us to leave and returning to Bangkok.

There are over 2,000 Buddha images in this temple. We found it using the Travelfish Vientienne app

There are over 2,000 Buddha images in this temple. We found it using the Travelfish Vientiane app


The visitors' centre at COPE is a stunning demonstration of the damage land mines are doing in Laos

The visitors' centre at COPE is a stunning demonstration of the damage land mines are doing in Laos

Ventiane to Bangkok

No going back! The "Arc de Triomph" of Laos

You really should have a listen to the show. It’s episode 177 in iTunes.

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9 Responses to “Luang Prabang, Vientiane and a lot more: the Laos podcast”

  1. No sin mi mochila December 6, 2010 at 5:54 pm #

    I travelled around Laos one year ago. Great memories about the brigge of Nong Khiaw!

  2. Chris December 9, 2010 at 8:24 pm #

    Really enjoyed the podcast!

    I made my 2nd trip to Laos in Nov/December of 2009. Came down from China to Louang Namtha for about a week, then to Oudom Xay, Muang Khoua, boat down to Nong Khiaw, another boat to Louangphrabang, Phonsavan, Muang Vangviang, and lastly Viangchan … (christmas in Nong Khai, 2 overnight trains down to Malaysia, New Years week in Penang, and then an $80 flight to India… But that’s another podcast 😉

    I wanted to comment on the 2000 kip incident that occured at your border crossing.

    I’m not really sure about the policy – and the 3 times I’ve exited Laos there (the 3rd was a visa run in May) they’ve never asked me for it. However I have noticed signs for the fee at the border and at the bus station service window (can’t remember name – station by Viangchan morning market) The notice/sign is next to the international border bus ticket prices and times. I’ve asked about it and was told not to worry.

    So I’m really not sure what to make of it :/ The Bangkok train leaves pretty late – were you crossing the border after hours?

    • Craig and Linda December 11, 2010 at 9:43 pm #

      No, not leaving late … just a mid-afternoon crossing (around 3pm, I think). We just had the wrong guards, perhaps :(

  3. Steve December 10, 2010 at 1:32 pm #

    Again your podcast was of the highest standard. Southeast Asia is a area I want to discover in the coming years. The videos have inspired me again. Time to start saving for 2012.

  4. Desiree December 11, 2010 at 9:03 pm #

    Laos is such a wonderful place to travel.. I’m just thrilled with the girls selling the live bats.. Do they eat bats in Laos?

  5. Craig and Linda December 11, 2010 at 9:41 pm #

    Thanks for the comments, everyone. It was so much fun travelling through and we’re just glad to able to share it with you.

    Desiree, yes people do eat bats. Along with them we’ve seen moles, rodents and all sorts of bugs and critters on offer.

  6. the candy trail ... | Michael Robert Powell December 15, 2010 at 4:49 am #

    … am certain that you stayed in the very same bungalow as me – in Nong Khiaw; RE: Linda on the hammock. But, yeah Laos still remains a lovely place, despite the big tourism changes of the last decade or so …(3rd visit; recently, 2010). The north-east is still pretty quiet, thou

    the candy trail … a nomad across the planet, since 1988

  7. Liana January 30, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

    Hi!
    I would like to work as a volunteer in Luang Prabang, but I was advised not to, because it is deemed a dangerous destination. I’ve been doing some research on the internet and I found out that there are land mines from the Vietnam war that still kill lots of people in Laos. Is this the case of Luang Prabang? And is there any other danger that people are faced with when travelling to this destination? Your answer would be very helpful, as I would really like to join this volunteer program.
    Thank you!

  8. Mary March 11, 2012 at 1:56 am #

    Liana, I’m in Luang Prabang now. It’s a lovely, well-connected little city with booming tourism and you would be fine here.

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