Getting Around Laos

  • Luang Namtha bus station, ready for the off!!
    Luang Namtha bus station, ready for the...
    by pfsmalo
  • Bathroom halt.
    Bathroom halt.
    by pfsmalo
  • Unscheduled puncture stop.
    Unscheduled puncture stop.
    by pfsmalo

Most Viewed Transportation in Laos

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    Hobo maps

    by pfsmalo Updated Apr 18, 2014

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    For anyone wanting to go to PDR Lao and needs a map or two or more about different areas could do worse than having a look at the Hobomaps website. It must be one of the best resources on transport and maps on Lao that exist. There are city maps area maps, regional maps, you name it you can find it. On top of that every bus, boat, and tuktuk timetable that you could want. Of course one needs to be circumspect with timetables in a country like Lao, but it gives you a very good idea of what is available and at what price. I printed out a few of these maps and took them with me. A very worthy resource and nothing to pay. Use the ctrl/+ or - keys and sliders to find your way around.

    http://www.hobomaps.com/

    Another useful page with maps for NW Lao is here :

    http://www.ecotourismlaos.com/maps_namtha.htm

    There's ALWAYS room for one more!!!!! This wasn't in the program... Nor was this.....

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    Motorbiking in Laos

    by jimbolta Updated Jan 26, 2014

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    Mate I didn't end up doing it because of an injury but a couple of mates did and had an amazing time. Great way to get off the beaten path and they thought the roads were suprisingly good.
    The ride from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng is particularly spectular.
    Enjoy and if you have any other queries let me know.

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    Water Transportation: By Speed Boats in Xieng Kok

    by kharmencita Updated Feb 27, 2013

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    *By Boat, whether fast or slow is another means of transportation used in going around and about Laos. If you want to experience the speed Boat it is adventurous to start it from Xieng Kok down to Houay Xai and from here catch a slow Boat back to Chiang Khong District of Thailand. This is what we did with my Boyfriend. It cost us $17.00 for every one of us from Ban Xieng Kok to Houay Xai. The Boatman wanted to charge us $150.00 but then we bargained it to $110.00. The speed boat needed more or less 6 people then the boatman is ready to go. The daredevil ride took us three hours to ride. However, please bear in mind that although speed boat is fastest means of transportation, it is very noisy that you will have hours of experiencing deafness, then due to one sided sitting position your complete body seemed to cramp and stiff after the ride. The most important thing to note is that it is a risky ride but with a great “fun” factor too!

    Empty speedboats at Mekong River by Ban Xieng Kok Start of the ride my BF with Cap on his Head me with Turban as protection Ban Xieng kok end of the Road to river Boat ride The  Headcap was blown away from speedy wind!
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    Water Transportation: By slow Boats at Laos Rivers

    by kharmencita Updated Feb 25, 2013

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    Exploring Laos by the water it is comfortable to use the traditional means of water transportations that is by slow moving boat ride. I really didn´t enjoy a long ride of this kind aside from one trip on my way to the Cave of the thousand Buddha. Just admiring the various colorful and different designs of the boats that serve as ornaments along the river banks and as they pass through the rivers of Mekong is something unique of its kind and such very long boats I never see before even in Philippine waters. The double decked Boats has two purposes: first as a Restaurant called floating restaurants and then a Cruise along the Mekong River.

    Floating Restaurant Boat in Luang Prabang Passengers Transportation  to Pak Au caves Boats to Pak Au Caves another unique shape of boat for ttansportation short boat used for fishing and and transportation
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    Land Transportation-by Bus around Laos

    by kharmencita Written Feb 25, 2013

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    By Bus is one of the most common means of transportation in Laos. Many people in Laos cannot afford to buy own cars or own conducive vehicles so by this means most people living in Laos go by Buses or mini buses. As a low budget traveler on the other hand, we chose the Bus. Starting from the bus station of Luang Nam Tha City to travel by land to Xieng Kok where we wanted to catch up the speed boat to Huay Xai back to Thailand.
    The sitting arrangement is based on “first come first serve” basis. No advance booking available. If you want to sit on the front row then it is better to come as early as possible. Ticket sales from 7:30am to 4:30 pm. From the guest house we arrived 7:00 a.m. at the station. So we were able to take the first row. The prices vary in every season. It was summer we paid Euro 5.00 each one of us. The Louang Nam Tha Bus Station +856-86-312-164 is located just close to the provincial market. From Louang Nam Tha to Xieng Kok it takes you 2 hours to ride. The road condition is upgraded and is much better than 10 years before. Since it was dry season when we visited Laos so roads are also dry and very easy to drive. But it is advisable to wear Turbans or Bandanna to protect your hair from extreme dust and wind while travelling. During rainy days there are some spots accessible to mudslides, So it is advisable to be aware.

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    Vietiane to Udon Thani by bus

    by earthflyer Written Nov 21, 2011

    Their are no direct buses between Vientiane in Laos and Udon Thani in Thailand.

    What you need to do is get a taxi to the Laos border and cross over the bridge into Nong Khai in Thailand and get a bus from their to Udon Thani. The trip is less than one hour and their will be regular buses going all day.

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    Lao Aviation

    by SirRichard Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Lao Aviation is the national air company.
    They have domestic and international flights.
    I took one from Vientiane to Luang Phabang that lasted 40 minutes and costed 45 USD.

    Apart from that, you can find cheap flights Bangkok-Luang Phabang and Angkor (Cambodia) - Luang Phabang with Bangkok Airlines (www.bkkair.co.th)

    A plane in Luang Phabang
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  • bus travel laos

    by polesana Written Sep 12, 2009

    local buses in laos can be slow, crowed, noisy, unreliable but then this is not the discovery channel.
    this is national geographic live. tip; check bus "schedule" at the correct bus station the day before you go anywhere. when you arrive at your destination, at a bus station hopefully, check the "schedule" there for your next trip. buses run between your towns, huay xai, luang nam tha, udomxai etc fr bus stations, there are other means of transportation available to the traveler between these towns and wide spots along the road. these may have their own station to operate out of, usually near a market. of course talk to any other travelers you meet along the way, over a Beer Lao, they've been there already or are going the same way as you.

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    Singapour to Laos

    by cochinjew Updated Sep 3, 2009

    There is a direct flight from Kuala Lumpur LCCT to ViengCheng VTE on Air Asia on 24th december it is pricing out to be 318 myr which i would guess would be around 90 usd or 150 sgd. seems a very reasonable fare to me. There are direct flights to Luang Prabang from BKK. or you can take Tiger airways to Chiang mai from Singapore and one way to LPB for about 100 usd on Lao Airlines. and then work your way back to VTE. Good Luck

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  • getting to/from Laos from/to Thailand

    by seagypsy Written Jun 11, 2009

    1. Yes, you can fly from Bangkok to Chiang RAI on budget airlines such as Thai Air Asia or perhaps Nok Air. Chiang Rai is only 2.5 hours from the Chiang Khong to Huay Xai border crossing but the bus from C. Rai drops you off in town so you'll still have to take a short tuk tuk ride several kilometers to the Thai immigration building, exit formalities, then catch a very short boat ride across to H. Xai where you can get the Lao visa upon arrival but BEST to pay in U$35 dollars because it costs more if you pay in Thai baht. there's a small exchange booth as well but only exchange a little bit because the rate is not that great. Also, you can get by with Thai bahts and U$ until you get into larger tourists centers but it's usually best to pay in local Lao kip.
    PS--there's also a very long overnight VIP bus from Bangkok's Mochit Bus Station near Chatuchak Market (end of the Skytrain noth line and you'll have to transfer to a taxi for the bus station).

    2. While Lao Airlines operates a Pakse-Bangkok flight, this last year quite a number of these flights got cancelled on short notice due to lack of passengers. Some passengers had to re-route from Ubon Ratchathani across the border in Thailand. There's an international bus that runs between Pakse's bus station and Ubon Ratchathani several times a day. Previously there used to be VIP bus service between the Chong Mek border all the way to Bangkok's Mochit
    Station but I'm not positive now. There's certainly VIP overnight buses and the overnight sleeper compartment train to Bangkok's Hualamphong Station as well from Ubon Ratchathani. Also budget flights on Thai Air Asia between Ubon and BKK but best fares are booked well in advance via their website.

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  • Lao Airline's Discovery Pass

    by seagypsy Written Jun 1, 2009

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    Yes, Lao Airlines does offer a 'discovery pass' that's modeled after Bangkok Airway's discovery pass. I think you need a minimum of 3 flights, so you could fly: BKK to Vientiane, VTE to Luang Prabang, and Luang Prabang to Hanoi.
    Then you could fly inexpensively from Hanoi back to Bangkok aboard Air Asia. It's best to book the Lao Airline's flights via a Lao travel agency.
    I copied an article about the discounted fares and will try to look it up for you.

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  • Laos in 6 days by van/road

    by seagypsy Written May 9, 2009

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    I think you're trying to cover too much ground in 6 days but it's your holiday. What time are you arriving in Vientiane. I'm assuming you're flying from KL to VTE?
    It might be easy to have the driver meet you at VTE airport to transfer you to Vang Vieng (takes about 3 hours by van if not during rush hour--actually you'll already be on Route 13 but whereas years ago there wasn't much vehicle traffic, as Laos has prospered and especially Vientiane, more people use the 2 lane highway and thus more congestion). Or you could go into town and check with travel agencies to hire a van/driver.

    In Vang Vieng there are daily departures at 9AM headed up to Luang Prabang but you could also hire your own van which would cost more since the shared vans usually seats approx. 10 passengers.

    In Luang Prabang, you really don't need a van/driver since the town is relatively small and easy to tour via walking or bike rentals (U$1/day for 1-speed Thai made LA bikes). And if you're going to Kuangsi Waterfall, again you can hire a shared van (departures at 11:30AM or 1:30pm) or hire a tuk tuk to share amongst yourselves.

    It'll certainly be cheaper for you to hire a van to take you back down to Vientiane than flying but there are good VIP buses (minimum 9-10 hours) or seeking out a shared van as well.

    If you need a travel agency, I can recommend All Lao Travel Service which is my regular travel agent when I'm living in Laos. Their email is info@alllaoservice.com or you can check their website out at www.alllaoservice.com or via their www.mahoutlodge.com

    It's still part of the rainy season which means it could rain for several hours, or have a deluge in half an hour to raining for half a day to sunny days. Very hard to predict that time of the year but the hills and mountain are very lush and green making road travel visually stimulating.

    Also, should be pretty easy to just show up and find budget accomodations this time of the year. If you need suggestions, let me know.

    Cheers and selamat pagi!

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    from laos to vietnam

    by sahita7 Written Apr 16, 2009

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    well honestly I heard lots of bad news about the bus from Vientaine to Hanoi.
    but it was not as bad as I expected. I was expecting something terrible but we were just 14 ppl then I had 4 seat for my self to lean on them. it was good . with ac & I think It worth to give it a try.

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  • Vientiane to Siem REap in 1day

    by seagypsy Written Jan 27, 2009

    It will take you at a minimum, 2days to reach Phnom Penh from Vientiane if you're travelling overland through Laos. The fastest land option is to go to Siem Reap overland through Thailand. You can go across to Nong Khai and take a VIP bus to Khorat (or Khon Khaen first) where you can transfer for a train or VIP bus to Arranyaprathet and cross over into CAmbodia aat the Poipet border where you can get forward transport to Siem Reap. There is even a Vientiane to Khon Khaen bus that leaves the Morning Market Bus Station at 8am.

    BUT in order to reach either PP or SR in 1 day from Vientiane, you would have to fly either Lao Airlines, Vietnam Airlines or perhaps Bangkok Airway's if they're still ofering the foights via their subsidiary Siem Reap Airways (which was 'closed' for a while).

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  • traveling Laos in 1week from BKK

    by seagypsy Written Jan 27, 2009

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    When are you travelling to Laos?

    First off, as above, both Lao Airlines and THAI Airways operate flights between VTE and Bangkok. Both Lao Airlines and BANGKOK Airways operate flights between Bangkok and Luang Prabang. Lao Airlines is almost always cheaper than their foreign airline rivals for international and of course domestic flights. They give small discounts for RT flights and even more discounts for multi segment flights.

    However, if your'e on a tight budget, you might consider flying budget airlines Thai Air Asia or Nok Air to Udon Thani (about 1 hour from Nong Khai, the town across the Mekong River from Vientiane) from where you can take a bus or minivan to Nong Khai or the border. Another good and cheap option is to take the overnight slepper train to Nong Khai (9am arrival, usually arrives a little to sometimes an hour or so late). There is also the VIP bus option that goes all the way Vientiane and Vang Vieng (including time at the border to get your Lao visa upon arrival).

    Since you're posted 3 questions/threads on Laos:
    1. While the Mekong journey is scenic at some points, since you've only got a week for your travels in Laos I would NOT recommend taking the 2 day slowboat from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang. It's scenic but it's not worth 2 days of your travels. As above, you can take the boat while in Luang prabang to some of the tourists sights. And I don't recommend the speedboats because they're dangerous, uncomfortable, and bad for the environment.
    2. For a 1 week trip, you've only got time for Luang Prabang (2-3 days)
    Vang Vieng (1-2days)
    Vientiane (maximum 1 full day)
    3. It takes 10 hours by VIP bus between Vientiane and Luang Prabang.
    It takes 5-6 hours by VIP bus or shared minivan between Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng.
    It takes 3-5 hours by bus or shared minivan between Vientiane and Vang Vieng.
    4. YOu can take an overnight VIP bus from Vientiane to Bangkok and there are several bus companies that offer this route. Cost is approx. U$20 or 750bahts.
    5. Another option for a quick return from Luang Prabang to Bangkok is to fly Luang Prabang to Udon Thani on Fridays and Sundays ONLY and connect with budget airlines Thai Air Asia or Nok Air to Bangkok. At present Lao Airlines chargesU$95 for the oneway flight. However, Lao Airlines have cancelled their flight due to lack of passengers in which case, they've flown their passenger to Vientiane and provided a free van transfer to Udon Thani.
    6. And of course you could also take the VIP bus or night sleeper train from Udon Thani to Bangkok. The VIP busfare from Udon Thani to Bangkok's Mochit Bus Station is 400baht's or approximately U$11-12.

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