Anyone know if there’s a bus going from Phonsavan to Pakse without having to travel back through Vientiane?
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Unfortunately not – though it’d be a really long journey if you could, so you’d probably welcome the chance for a break at some point! The other option would be to bus it back to Luang Prabang, and then fly down from there to Pakse – the flight takes barely any time at all, and wasn’t too expensive last time I did it.
Thanks for your reply. Torn between the option of Vientiane – Phonsavan – Luang Prabang – Kratie, and as you say flying from Luang Prabang to Pakse or starting in Luang Prabang – Phonsavan – Vientiane – Savannakhet – Champasak and just using the bus.
Personally, I wouldn’t miss Champasak – Wat Phou was a real highlight of my last trip to Laos (it’s worth hiring a bike and cycling there), and Champasak itself is really laid-back, though there’s not much to it. I guess it depends on how much time you have and how happy you are with long bus journeys!
Apologies for the confusion under option one I would still travel from Kratie on to Champasak, I just got bored of typing location names as the main thing I’m trying to work out is what order to do Luang Prabang, Vientiane and Phonsavan and then whether to fly to Kratie or take the bus via Savannakhet.
It really depends I think on how much time you have – you’ll easily spend a day travelling between most of those destinations, with the journey between Vientiane and Savannakhet being particularly long. That said, despite sometimes being quite uncomfortable, I do have a soft spot for Lao buses – they’re a great way to get a taster of local life, and quite often you’ll be the only foreigner on there, so they’re rarely dull! That said, if you’re flying into the country, it’s hard to beat flying into Luang Prabang – the descent to the airport is pretty fabulous, and it’s certainly one of the nicest places to start exploring the country.