Looks like we will spend a bit more time up North and get another flight to Bangkok, and from there go straight to Siem Reap (in Cambodia - the main city near the Angkor Wat temples). That way we avoid any trouble and blockades brewing because of the political situation. It means missing a flight and loosing the deposit on a hotel, but it's worth it. Up here there is still Mae Hong Son or Chiang Rai to explore. I also saw boats ans speedboats to the one place we wanted to visit in Laos, Luang Prabang, but looking later online it turned out to be a major Odyssey involving an 8h night drive to the actual boats, followed by at least 6h by speedboat (or 2 days by slow boat).
The "taxi" there was a pickup, so the 4 kids and I went in the back, which was really exciting. Spent time in the pools and in the (cold) swimming pool, just living in the lap of luxury. As the sun set we left to hit the market stalls again, though we made it a much earlier night this time.
Lesson learnt today: no more hotels out of town, especially if they don't do breakfast.