Home Travelling How to get to Laos

How to Go To Laos

By Air:
From Hanoi Vietnam, Laos Airlines flights; three times a week but Vietnam Airlines flys to Laos every day. From Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), only Vietnam Airlines flys to Laos daily via Phnom Penh.

lao-airways

 

From Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Air Asia flights; three times a week to and from Laos every Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
From Phnom Penh (Cambodia) Vietnam Airlines flights; daily to and from Laos, but for Siem Reap (Cambodia), Lao Airlines flights; three times a week via Pakse.


From Kunming (Yunnan Province, West China) China Eastern Airlines flights; four times a week to and from Laos and Laos Airlines flights three, that make air travel to Laos more easier and convenient than before.


From Thailand, Laos Airlines flights; twice daily and they have domestic flights; twice daily to Udonthani that near Laos border,from Chiang Mai(Thailand), Laos Airlines flights; six times a week via Luang Prabang.

wattay-airport
Front view of Wattay International Airport, Vientiane:

From USA, Europe and other parts of the world:

For visitors who travel from United States, Canada, UK, Germany, France and Australia; they can book flights direct to Laos but have to make a change of planes in Thailand, Malaysia or Vietnam, since there are no direct flights from those countries to Laos yet. This is the only disadvantage about air travel to Laos.


•    Flying From Australia To Laos:
Quantas, British Airways, Thai Airways and several others airlines fly to Bangkok from Sydney, Melbourne and Perth daily. Once in Bangkok, there are trains, planes and buses heading to Laos. To save time and money most people fly from Australia to Laos, buy tickets direct to Vientiane Airport with a transit at Suvannaphum Airport in Thailand.


•    Flying From UK to Laos
Bargain from London to Bangkok is always available from Gulf Air, Emirates, KLM and Lufthansa. Once in Bangkok, there are trains, planes and buses heading to Laos.


•    Flying From USA to Laos
Depending on from which city you're flying from to Bangkok. If you're flying from Los Angeles is cheaper, and more direct, with airlines like China Airlines, Phillipine Airlines, Eva Airlines and American Airlines. Once in Bangkok, there are trains, planes and buses heading to Laos.


•    Flying From Canada to Laos
Fare from Canada are similar to those from the US. Once in Bangkok, there are trains, planes and buses heading to Laos.
•    Flying From Europe to Laos
There are many airlines flying from Europe to Bangkok daily. If you're looking for discounted seats Middle Eastern airlines are usually the cheapest. Once in Bangkok, there are trains, planes and buses heading to Laos.


Domestic flights:
In Laos at the moment there are two Airlines that serves domestic routes. Lao Airlines flies to five domestic destinations every day from/to Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Pakse, Huay Xai, Oudomxay and Xieng Khuang (Phonsavan).

Lao Air, the second Lao airline, operates two flights weekly each between Vientiane and Phongsali, Samneua and Sayaboury.

 

Getting to the city:
Getting to the city is easy and cheap. Wattay International Airport is located only a 20 minute drive to the city.

tuk-tuk

Outside there are tuk tuks waiting to take you to the city
In summary, air travel to Laos now is easy and you can fly in and out any time you like.

By Train:

laos-train2

It's easy to travel from Bangkok to Vientiane by train, using the daily overnight sleeper train direct from Bangkok to Nong Khai and a special connecting local train to the new international rail terminal at Thanaleng in Laos, some 14 km outside Vientiane. 

The train uses the new rail link over the Friendship Bridge across the Mekong river into Laos, opened on 5 March 2009. 

You can then take a local bus or tuk tuk to central Vientiane.  It's safe, cheap and comfortable.  Alternatively, you can still travel between Bangkok & Vientiane the old way, using any of the Bangkok-Nong Khai trains, then making your own way by international bus or normal bus or taxi between Nong Khai & Vientiane. 

This section explains both options.
Bangkok ► Vientiane
Km     Train number:    133    77    69
Classes:    2,3    DRC    1,S
0     Bangkok (Hualamphong) depart:    20:45    18:30    20:00
22     Don Muang depart:    21:31    19:13    20:50
71     Ayutthaya depart:    22:17    19:47    21:41
624     Nong Khai arrive:    09:45    05:05    08:25
624     Nong Khai (Thailand) depart:    -    -    09:00
630     Thanaleng (Laos) arrive:    -    -      09:15 *
643     Vientiane (Laos) arrive:    ***    ***    **


* Change trains at Nong Khai. Originally, through 2nd class sleeper cars operated between Bangkok & Thanaleng, but the Nong Khai to Thanaleng train is now run as a totally separate connecting train with 2nd & 3rd class seats.  You've a couple of hours to change trains in Nong Khai and buy onward tickets, which is easy.
** Use a local transfer bus, taxi or tuk-tuk between Thanaleng & central Vientiane, as explained in option 1 below.
*** Use local transport (bus, taxi, tuk-tuk) between Nong Khai & Vientiane, as explained in option 2 below.

 

A second local train also links Nong Khai and Thanaleng, departing Nong Khai daily at 14:45 northbound, and departing Thanaleng daily at 17:00 southbound, journey time 15 minutes.  Handy if you feel like a quick return trip across the Bridge!


Option 1:  Take the Bangkok - Nong Khai sleeper train, then the shuttle train to Laos... 


The easiest option is to take the overnight train (train 69 northbound, train 70 southbound) between Bangkok & Nong Khai, and the connecting local train across the Friendship Bridge between Nong Khai & Thanaleng in Laos, just outside Vientiane. 

An extension of the railway to the suburbs of Vientiane was planned, although may not now go ahead.  The new Thanaleng station is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, you can pre-arrange a taxi transfer into Vientiane via us.

 


VISAS:  'Visas on arrival' for Laos are now issued at Thanaleng station, costing US$35 + 1 baht entry fee.

 

Option 2:  Use any train between Bangkok & Nong Khai, then internationalbus or normal bus or taxi to Vientiane...


The other way to travel from Bangkok to Vientiane is to take any train from Bangkok to Nong Khai, overnight trains 69 northbound or 70 southbound being the best choice. 

Nong Khai is just a few kilometres from the Friendship Bridge over the Mekong River into Laos. 

You then use road transport across the Friendship Bridge into Laos like this:

(1)  Take a local tuk-tuk taxi from Nong Khai railway station to the Nong Khai bus station. 

(2) A shuttle bus runs from the bus station across the Friendship Bridge to Laos every 20 minutes throughout the day, fare about 30 baht.  It stops at Thai immigration 5 mins after leaving the bus station then crosses the Friendship Bridge to arrive at Lao customs & immigration some 10 mins later (a 30-day visa on arrival available for Laos at this border point).

(3) Take a international bus from bus station across the Frienship Bridge to central bus station of Laos(this is the cheapest for you to Vientiane).

(4) You now remove your luggage from the bus luggage hold and go through Lao customs. . 


By Bus:
From Bangkok you can take VIP bus to Vientiane. The bus is quite comfortable with air-con, reclining seats and movies, and the price includes a stop for supper.
From Hanoi you can take a bus to Vientiane, but bear in mind that it's a 24 hour ride - a night and a day. 
Hanoi ► Vientiane          Vientiane ► Hanoi
Bus type:    Modern
sleeper bus    Older
sleeper bus        Bus type:    Modern
sleeper bus    Older
sleeper bus
Days of running:    Tues, Thurs, Sat    Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun        Days of running:    Tues, Thurs, Sat    Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun
Hanoi depart:    19:00 day 1    19:00 day 1         Vientiane depart:    19:00 day 1    19:00 day 1
Vientiane arrive:    19:00 day 2    19:00 day 2         Hanoi arrive:    19:00 day 2    19:00 day 2
The modern bus has sleeper bunks & toilet.  The older bus also has sleeper bunks but no on-board toilet.  Are the bunks long enough to sleep in?  See the travellers' reports below!  The bus operates via the Nam Phao - Cau Treo border point.