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Laos Transportation

How to Travel to Laos

The most convenient way for travelers to enter Laos is by air. Main airports and routes connecting Laos and other countries are shown in the table below.

Airport To/From
Wattay International Airport, Vientiane Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Kunming, Nanning, Haikou, Changsha, Guangzhou, Hanoi, Seoul-Incheon, Singapore
Luang Prabang International Airport Kuala Lumpur, Kunming, Haikou, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hanoi, Singapore, Siem Reap
Pakse International Airport Ho Chi Minh City, Siem Reap

The air tickets are generally paid in US dollars, but the national airline ticket office and some travel agencies also accept credit card payment. The airport tax is 300 kip per person. In addition, when taking domestic flights, passengers need to pay 1,100 kip to the immigration office at departure and arrival as management fee.

There are ports of entry that allow land travelers to enter Laos from China, Vietnam, Thailand, or Myanmar. International buses are available from Kunming, China to Vientiane, passing by Mengla County, Mohan Port, Boten Port, Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng. Departing from Kunming between 5 and 6 pm every day, it takes 24 hours to Luang Prabang, 32 hours to Vang Vieng, and 36 hours to Vientiane. The international buses from Thailand take only 90 minutes to Vientiane.

Travelers can also take a train from Nong Khai in Thailand along Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge to Thanaleng, which is 5.6 miles (9km) from Vientiane.

Domestic Transportation in Laos

1. Domestic Flights
There are flights between main cities in the country, including Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Pakse, Sayaboury, Ban Houayxay, Savannakhet.

2. Long-distance Buses
Travels usually take long-distance buses to admire the views along the way. The domestic long-distance tour buses are developed. Usually there are VIP buses designed for tourists, whose conditions are better than local public buses, and the price is about 50% higher than local buses.

3. Water Transportation
Boat tour is one of the most enjoyable ways to travel in Laos.

It is a popular route to take a boat from Nam Ou to enjoy the natural scenery, passing through the widest water area of the Mekong River. Three kinds of boat are provided for traveler. Large cargo ships to and from China and Thailand cost 8,000-10,000 kip each person. Barges at wharfs of Mekong River are smaller but quicker than cargo ships. The third is speedboats, the speediest way to travel by water.

There are also ferries between Luang Prabang and Huay Xai, Si Phan Don and Pakse.

4. Taxis
Taxis can be found in the airports of big cities such as Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Savannakhet and Pakse. They do not have taximeters, so before the ride travelers had better discuss the price with driver. Generally it cost about $ 0.5 per kilometer. Taxis are also available in city center, but the fare is more expensive.

5. Tuk-Tuk
Compared with taxis, tuk-tuk, a kind of tricycle, has a lower price. It is the most common transport tool in Laos, but with lower comfort level.

6. Bicycles
Bicycles are one of the most popular means of transport in the country, which are available for rental almost everywhere. The rent is 2,000-4,000 kip per day. Some hotels provide free bicycle service for their lodgers.

Further Reading: 
Things to Do in Laos   Useful Travel Tips