Laos Photo Essay: Luang Prabang-Vang Vieng
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Laos Photo Essay: Luang Prabang-Vang Vieng

Traveling by “VIP” bus from northern to southern Laos through unpaved jungle roads and picturesque mountainous passes makes the perilous journey all the more pleasurable

170 kilometers (105 miles) is the pittance of a distance that separates the Laotian cities of Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng. In Laos, however, that’s a five-and-a-half hour journey. On the “new” highway. Our bus took off from Luang Prabang at about noon and as the backpackers boarded the bus, I hung back to grab a quick smoke before we departed.

For High-Resolution Photos of my journey to Luang Prabang: Click Here

For High-Resolution Photos of my journey to Vang Vieng: Click Here To check out my trip in Luang Prabang, click here. For the epic road trip to the Kuang Si Falls, click here. For wild times in Vang Vieng, click here.
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The journey began on the same decent roads leading out of Luang Prabang
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The roads in Laos vary in size, shape, condition, paved-ness and overall composition
For those unfamiliar with this leg of my trip, I was joining my mate from South Africa who was backpacking Southeast Asia and had only a week and a half off from my day job in Yangon, Myanmar. As he and the rest of the backpackers piled into the crowded back of the bus I’m assuming out of habit, I quickly realized no-one was going to take shotgun next to the driver. My conundrum: squish in the back or spread my legs, tilt the seat back and relax in the comfort of the front. Easy answer.
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The steady climb began early and it was readily apparent that there are no streetlights on this entire highway
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Limestone “Karst” mountains dot the luscious green landscape

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A bright blue day gave way to plenty of views yet clouds gathered around the mountain peaks

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“Roads get washed out from time to time” – The Driver

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Hmong Villages line the roads and the poverty is tough to see
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The Hmong People are scattered throughout the Laotian, Thai and Vietnamese mountains

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Ah, Route 13. The old Route 4 takes 7.5 hours to traverse the 105 miles from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng!

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No matter how steep the slope, the Hmong and Lao people manage to cope, build and grow on it

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Watch out for boulders! They line the roads and with the size of some of them, woe to those whom they hit!

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Clouds obscure the view at the top like the heaviest fog you’ve ever seen
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No signs of bandits, just boulders

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On the way down, the view was breathtaking

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Halfway break at a local village

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The “VIP Minibus”

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Traveling the route with no impediment due to traffic or wild animals is almost unheard of but we got lucky!

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Finally arriving in the bustling small tourist-centric village of Vang Vieng

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Fresh air and a beautiful view from our hostel, the Melany Villa
For High-Resolution Photos of my journey to Luang Prabang: Click Here For High-Resolution Photos of my journey to Vang Vieng: Click Here To check out my trip in Luang Prabang, click here. For the epic road trip to the Kuang Si Falls, click here. For wild times in Vang Vieng, click here.

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Phillip Harbor

Author, blogger, photographer, all-around world traveler

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Israeli Abroad

IsraeliAbroad (formerly SidepieceDiplomat) was started as a passion project by amateur photographer Phillip Harbor as he travels from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Yangon, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) and throughout the world. Named for the adventure, the photoblog seeks to give followers a unique insight into life from a nation that was until recently closed off from the rest of the world for more than half a century. This blog is half photo-half information-half experience-driven. Yes that’s more than a whole… and yes that makes about as much sense as anything else you can find on this half of the globe! Feel free to follow us on social media and right here on the blog as we explore the incredible wonders of Myanmar. Updates will come as regularly as possible and don’t forget to share with your friends!

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Wiloke

IsraeliAbroad was started as a passion project by photographer Phillip Harbor as he travels from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Yangon, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) and throughout the world. Named for the adventure, the photoblog seeks to give followers a unique insight into life from a nation that was until recently closed off from the rest of the world for more than half a century. This blog is half photo-half information-half experience-driven. Yes that’s more than a whole… and yes that makes about as much sense as anything else you can find on this half of the globe! Feel free to follow us on social media and right here on the blog as we explore the incredible wonders of Myanmar. Updates will come as regularly as possible and don’t forget to share with your friends!