RENT A MOTORBIKE
We rented a good quality motorbike from Sabaidee GH, but unfortunately when we returned it the owner of the GH noticed it was slightly damaged so we went to the distributor together and the guy informed us it would cost $20 but the owner of the GH bargained him down to $10. Really nice not to be ripped off.
Get on your bike and ride!
A scooter is a perfectly viable way of getting about Phonsavanh and it's environs, indeed a bicycle would suffice for the city itself as it is not that big. During my current trip, I have been riding scooters about everywhere and they are great but a little uncomfortable for my 6'5" (1:93) frame so when I was talking to the friendly guy in Amazing Lao travel about a brand new 125cc Shineray (Chinese make) I saw and he told me it was for rent, I resolved to have a go on it.
I know at 125cc it is hardly a Harley Electraglide but, believe me, it was much more comfortable than the scooter and the chance to use a 5-speed manual gearbox was a great joy. The bigger tyres made it a lot easier on dirt tracks and I put it through it's paces nicely. Actually, it was a half-decent little bike. All this, of course, comes at a premium, and it cost 150,000 kip rather than the standard 100,000 for a scooter. Well worth the extra, I thought.
By the way, it was spotless when I got it, I put all the dust on it off-roading.
The rental shop is on the North side of the main drag, directly opposite the Don Khoune guesthouse.
- Road Trip
Phonsavan to Vietnam
Options are very limited to get from Phonsavan to Vietnam. I know this because the two people I was traveling with continued to Vietnam without me since I had to return to work. During three days of searching, here's what we found:
During the peak season, there is a direct bus from Phonsavan to Hanoi, but this operates only once per week on Monday mornings. (~18 hours for ~160,000 kip)
Otherwise there is a ~2 time per week bus to Vinh. Travelers must then back track from Vinh to their Vietnam destination as needed. The buses and trains from Vinh leave during all times, so spending a night there is not required. (~15 hours for ~130,000 kip)
If neither of those are attractive options, you can take a slow local bus to the border towns of Nam Kanh or Nam Xoi. At which time you can cross the border on foot and then get local bus on the Vietnam side. Many people I spoke to said that these were popular truck routes, so hitchhiking was a possibility to Hanoi or Vinh.
Regardless of how you cross the border to Vietnam, crossing overland requires that you have a Vietnam Visa already stamped in your passport.
- Budget Travel
Within Laos to/from Phonsavan by bus
The buses to Phonsavanh run daily. However, as the rumor goes, the VIP and public bus run on opposite days.
Most tour shops may not clarify that and will charge up to 140,000 kip regardless. You must shop around because costs can vary 30%!
A minivan seat should be no more that 95,000 kip but may be cheapest directly at the minibus station (buy the day before), but factor in tuk-tuk cost.
Prices between Phonsavan and Vang Vieng or Luang Prabang are almost the same cost and time. Assume about 6 hours for either. If coming from Vientiane, add another ~4 hours minimum.
Fly to the plain of jars.
Lao airlines fly once a day from the tine airport just outside Phonsavan.
It's the smallest airport i have ever flown from and there were chicken on the runway and no tazfree shop at the airport.
It was very charming flying from there though and loa airlines have always been very nice when i have flown them.
- Historical Travel
- Business Travel
MINI-BUS TO LUANG PRABANG
The minibus leaves from a small park just across the road from the SABAIDEE guest house, not a bad place to stay too as ir's near the market, restaurants and UXO offices.
Flying into Xieng Khouang
Ok, I cheated and flew in and out of Phonsavan. Flights to/from Vientiane were $44 US. Flights to/from Luang Prabang were $35 US. Xieng Khouang Airport is 5km from the town on Route 4.