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Home Travel Guide Laos Travel Guide Laos Transportation: How to Get to & Travel around

Laos Transportation: How to Get to & Travel around

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Laos, one of the popular tourist countries in Southeast Asia, has many modern transportation options, including airports, expressways, and a railroad that connects Thailand for only 3.5 kilometers. There is no doubt that plane is the most comfortable and convenient way to travel to any country.

Traveling around Laos has never been a problem. Buses, tuk-tuks and bicycles are the main modes of transportation within Laos. The Mekong River flows through Laos from north to south, making boats a popular way to take tourists through the natural scenery beneath the green mountains.

Getting to Laos

 

▶ By Air

There are three major airports in Laos, including Luang Prabang International Airport (LPQ), Vientiane Wattay International Airport (VTE), and Pakse Airport (PKZ). Currently, there are no direct flights operating between countries in Europe, North America or Oceania and Laos. Tourists can get to Laos with connections from Kunming (China), Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Singapore, and Hanoi (Vietnam).

Luang Prabang International Airport (LPQ)

Luang Prabang International Airport, the second-largest airport in Laos located in Luang Prabang, the famous ancient capital and Buddhist center of Laos, is served by Bangkok Airways, China Eastern Airlines, Thai Airways, Lao Airlines, and Vietnam Airlines, with flights to major Asian and Southeast Asian cities such as Bangkok, Kunming, Vientiane, Chiang Mai, Hanoi, Seoul, and Singapore.

Wattay International Airport (VTE)

Wattay International Airport is the only airport in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, located about 3 km west of the city center. The airport has regular flights to famous tourist cities such as Kunming, Taipei, Phnom Penh, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Hanoi. In addition, Wattay International Airport offers some occasional charter flights to destinations such as Hong Kong, Singapore, or other parts of the world.

Direct Flights to Wattay International Airport

From

To

Flight Time

Airfare

Seoul

Vientiane

5h 50m

USD 350-480

Kunming

1h 50m

USD 300-450

Hanoi

1h 10m

USD 135-180

Bangkok

1 hour

USD 100-145

Kuala Lumpur

2h 45m

USD 120-180

Singapore

2h 55m

USD 150-205

Pakse Airport (PKZ)

Pakse International Airport is served by Lao Airlines with flights to Ho Chi Minh City, Siem Reap, Luang Prabang, Vientiane, and Savannakhet. In addition, the airport is also used as a base for the Lao People’s Army Air Force.

▶ By Train

The full opening of the China-Laos Railway on December 3, 2021 enables tourists to travel to Laos by train. China-Laos Railway is an international railroad directly connected to China’s railroad network, starting from Kunming in southwest China in the north, passing through the Mohan Railroad Crossing in China and the Moding Railroad Crossing in Laos, and continuing southward through Luang Prabang and Vientiane provinces to finally reach Vientiane, the capital of Laos, with a total length of 1,035 kilometers.

Before the opening of this railroad, Laos only had a 3.5-kilometer rail link to the Thai border. With the operation of the China-Laos Transnational Railway, Laos has since entered the era of bullet trains.

This railroad allows you to travel by train around Laos. Normally, it takes about 2 hours to travel from Vientiane to Luang Prabang.

▶ By Bus

Tourists can get to Laos by bus from other neighboring Southeast Asian countries, such as Thailand and Vietnam.

Thailand – Laos

It is very easy to get to Laos by bus from Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. The bus usually leaves at 8 pm every day and arrives at Talat Sao Bus Station in Vientiane at 7 am the next day, with a fare of 1,000 baht (USD 28.5).

Vietnam – Laos

It is available to travel from Hanoi to Vientiane/Luang Prabang by bus, which is usually the preferred mode of transportation for backpackers. It takes about 15-16 hours to travel to Vientiane and about 19 hours to reach Luang Prabang from Hanoi.

Getting around Laos

In Laos, airplanes are still the main mode of transportation when travelling around popular tourist cities. Long-distance uses and minivans are also popular ways to get around in Laos. For intra-city travel, buses, private cars, and bicycles are the best options for short trips.

▶ Planes

There are 41 airports in Laos, with Vientiane Wattay International Airport being the busiest airport in Laos. Lao Airlines is the only airline that offers domestic flights.

Vientiane to Luang Prabang is the most popular route in Laos, usually taking 45 minutes, with fares fluctuating between $25 and $60 (depending on the low and high seasons). A flight from Vientiane to Pakse is available, taking about 1 hour and costing US$80. Tourists can also take a direct flight to Pakse from Luang Prabang, which takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes. The one-way ticket price is between 70-85 USD.

Buses

Since 2010, the road conditions in Laos have improved significantly, making buses the main mode of transportation for travel around Laos. There are three types of buses in Laos: Express Bus, VIP Bus and Minivan.

The VIP Bus and Minivan are the more popular ones, and the VIP Bus is a so-called long-distance bus that also operates at night. It takes about 13 hours to drive from Vientiane to Pakse and costs 70,000 Kip (4 USD) per seat. The bus ride from Vientiane to Vang Vieng takes about 3-4 hours, 35,000 Kip (2 USD)per person. From Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang by bus takes about 7 hours and costs 60,000 Kip (3.5 USD).

The Minivan is usually a 9-seater and is much more comfortable than a long-distance bus, but of course its price is more expensive.

Private Cars

Since 2010, the road conditions in Laos have improved significantly, making buses the main mode

Private cars are the most convenient way to get around, especially for families with elderly or small children.

Tourists can find private cars in most tourist destinations. A local tour operator or the hotel you are staying at can help you rent a car for the day as well as a professional driver. On average, the cost of renting a private car in Laos is about $55 per day, depending on the newness and size of the car.

Boats

Si Phan Don (Four Thousand Islands) is a famous tourist attraction in Laos. Tourists usually depart from Pakse by boat and travel all the way south to the Four Thousand Islands. Along the way, you will get a special view of Laos and immerse yourself in the tranquil and beautiful natural scenery.

Tuk-tuks

The tuk-tuks are the most common way to get around Laos and usually can accommodate 3 adults. It is not recommended if you come with a lot of luggage. Usually in cities like Vientiane and Luang Prabang, the price of a shared tuk-tuk is usually 5000 Kip (USD 0.3) per person.

Bicycles & Motorbikes

Bicycles are quite a leisurely way to get around Laos, allowing visitors to explore at their own pace. You can rent bikes from almost any hotel. It is fun to rent bicycles in Luang Prabang to travel around the area. The cost of renting a bike for a day is about 10,000 Kip (0.6 USD).

But motorcycles are more popular in Vientiane. You are required to have a motorcycle license and are advised to wear a helmet.

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