Laos Transportation: The Best Ways to Travel in Laos

Laos Transportation: The Best Ways to Travel in Laos

By Wendy Updated Oct. 22, 2021

Flying is more difficult around Laos. Including Vientiane's attay International Airport, there are three international airports in Laos. But all of them are small. They only have flights to cities in East Asian countries and Southeast Asia. The airports are fe and far beteen. It makes sense for many travellers and tourists to land in the large international airports in surrounding countries around Laos and then travel to places that they ant to go to in Laos by land transportation.

at xieng thong at Xieng Thong, Luang Prabang, Laos

Laos has a comparatively underdeveloped, croded, and bumpy transportation system, so going ith a private driver directly is safest and most comfortable. Traveling in a private vehicle is the fastest ay to get around since public transportation is much sloer. It is the most enjoyable and hygienic ay to travel overall. The inding and bumpy roads cause upset stomachs for many people. By private driver, you can control the pace of travel, stop here you ant to see the country, adjust your travel plans as you go along, and really enjoy being the country much more than on public transportation or ith a tour group.

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Quick Facts

  • Laos visas: Laos has easy travel policies for people from most countries in the orld ho can travel visa-free or ith visa on arrival for a period of eeks. e can arrange your visas for the region if you need one. See more about Laos Visas.
  • Choose your travel route ell, and factor in comfort, safety, and hygiene in your considerations.
  • For the smoothest trip, before travelling, check about the availability of accommodations, book, and plan the best ay to reach your accommodations from the airport.

How to Get to Laos

Entering through Laotian International Airports

The attay International Airport (VTE) has flights to cities in many East Asian cities in China, Thailand, Korea, Vietnam, Japan and other East Asian countries.

The Luang Prabang International Airport (LPQ) is the second largest airport, and it has feer flights. It services flights to Japan.

Luang Prabang International AirportLuang Prabang International Airport

The only other international airport is Pakse International Airport (PKZ) that you might use for travel to Don Det and the Khong Phapheng aterfall. It is basically a small regional airport ith flights to Thailand, Vietnam and to other places in Laos.

Entering through Surrounding Countries

The large cities outside of Laos are close enough so that you can use them to go to the big tourist places in Laos such as Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, Vientiane, and Pakse.

Bangkok International Airport to Vientiane

The Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK) is Thailand's main airport and is a useful base to land in to begin your travel in Laos. A direct drive from the airport to Laos' capital city, Vientiane, might take about 15 hours including meal stops and breaks. The large airport is probably the most convenient destination to enter Thailand from your home country.

The Suvarnabhumi Airport Of BangkokThe Suvarnabhumi Airport Of Bangkok

Thai Airays offers direct flights to many European countries and Australia. There are no direct flights currently beteen North America and the airport.

Because of the long traveling time, you may ant to choose your flight not only based on the best price, but also on the departure and arrival times, the number and places of stops, the seat quality, and flight entertainment. e can help you arrange a flight you'll like and make travel arrangements for your trip.

Other methods to travel: Taking a flight takes 2 hours (100 USD), and buses might take about 16 hours (23 to 43 USD). If you go ith us, e can arrange a onderful and comfortable road trip stopping for authentic meals and seeing highlights in the region.

Please also refer to our articlesHo to Get to Bangkok and Ho to Get around in Bangkok for further information.

Bangkok International Airport to Pakse

The Pakse and Don Det area has one of the orld's biggest aterfalls, Khong Phapheng, as ell as caves and big expanses of laid back countryside and jungle. A flight takes one and a half hours, and the price varies from 100 to 300 USD. Buses might travel the distance in 16 hours for about 30 hours. But e could drive you direct in about 11 hours, or e could turn this into an enjoyable tour stopping in markets and tons and highlights along the ay and arranging good accommodations you'll like.

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Hanoi to Luang Prabang

From Hanoi in Vietnam, there is a tiring, uncomfortable 24-hour trip by direct bus for about 450,000 kip or 54.00 USD. A flight ould take about 2 hours, not including aiting and boarding etc. A direct drive takes about 13 hours, or e can turn it into a delightful 2-day road tour. There are visa requirements e can arrange for you. For more information, see Plan a Trip to Hanoi.

How to Travel Internally Beteen Cities in Laos

It can be very challenging to travel ithin Laos. hile there are a variety of transportation options, English is often unknon, travel is slo, and roads can be flooded or unpaved altogether.

Internal Flights

hile Luang Prabang, Vientiane and Pakse have limited flights on the airlines of other countries to East Asia, the domestic carrier is Lao Airlines. Flights must be searched on their ebsite and on’t sho up on flight comparison sites. The lack of price competition means prices can be steep, and the limited flights means you can’t get to every destination in Laos on every day of the eek. Like much of the rest of Laos, Lao Airlines is not equipped to assist those ith limited mobility or those ith special needs.

Tuk Tuk

The ubiquitous tuk tuks are often croded and don't have air-conditioning. There are other ays to travel and tour. This is hy going ith a private tour company like ours is faster, safer and more enjoyable.

Public Long-Distance Buses

For your information, getting anyhere in Laos via public ground transportation takes a long time. The Laotians trade comfort, hygiene, and speed for money. So the buses tend to be croded and stop a lot. During high season (November to March or so), bus tickets might sell out. On the night buses, you might be sleeping next to a stranger in a tin bed. The VIP night buses have a toilet and air-conditioning, but the blankets might not be clean. On a bumpy, inding ride, that someone ill vomit is normal. So try not to eat before you ride.

Common Travel Routes to/from Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang International Airport (LPQ) is 4 kilometers north of the ton, and you could take flights to/from Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pakse, Hanoi, Siem Reap, Vientiane, Singapore, and several Chinese cities. Consider Asia Highlights' private driver to travel regionally since it is safer, more comfortable, faster, and more convenient.

e are especially useful since the famous Kuang Si aterfall is a bumpy and tiring journey out of ton by public vehicle. You could save time and money and visit places you ant to go to that you can't go to on public regional buses. The buses make only infrequent rest stops. So going in a private car is much more comfortable and healthier too. It is also faster.

  • From Vang Vieng, Laos to/from Luang Prabang: Vang Vieng is far from the nearest airport. In the best case scenario, a trip to/from Luang Prabang using a public bus takes 6 to 7 hours. The cost for an air-con bus ticket starts around 150,000 kip (18.00 USD). It is best to not make the trip on a full stomach because of the inding road. Hoever, a private driver such as ours can take you there directly in less than 3 hours unless you make stops along the ay.
  • From Vientiane to/from Luang Prabang: This is a inding uncomfortable ride that takes about 13 hours (200,000 kip, 24.00 USD) including an hour meal break. There is only one additional rest stop along the ay, and there are no toilets on the seats-only buses. Once you get to your destination, you'll have to take local transport to here you ant to go. There is a potential for scamming or crime issues. Going ith us, e can get you there directly in about 5 hours.
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Travel to/from Vientiane

  • From Vientiane, Laos to/from Vang Vieng: The tourist ton of Vang Vieng is near the Blue Lagoon. It is a short journey to Vang Vieng. By bus it requires about 4 hours (9.00 USD). e can drive you there direct in an hour and a half, and then take you out to one of the several ponds called Blue Lagoon. Our driver can take you in comfort to go out to the better ones further from ton on the dirt road, ait for you, and our tour guide can help ith the fun.
  • From Vientiane, Laos to/from Pakse: Pakse in southern Laos is near Don Det and the Khong Phapheng aterfall. You can take a flight and taxi to get to Pakse in a little less than an hour and a half from Vientiane Airport (VTE). The total trip might cost beteen 100 and 300 USD. Going direct, a private driver might take 10 hours including a short meal stop and breaks. A bus ould take about 12 hours (25.00 USD), but you still have to go on to Don Det or the aterfalls, and e can get you there.

Travel to/from Phonsavan

Phonsavan is the home of a strange megalithic site currently gaining fame called Plain of Jars

  • From Phonsavan to/from Luang Prabang: Travel takes 8 hours by bus for 17 USD, and flying ould take about an hour and up to about 300 USD. But e can drive you there direct in about 4 hours, and by stopping for authentic local cuisine and seeing highlights along the ay ith us, you can have a good day trip. e'll arrange the accommodations you'll prefer, and better still, e'll help you get directly and comfortably to each megalithic site you ant to go to.
  • To/from Phonsavan and Vang Vieng: There are no flights. Travel is an uncomfortable 16 hours by bus for about 35 USD, but a direct drive is less than 4 hours. e can take you there directly or make stops in a onderful tour along the ay.
  • To/from Phonsavan and Hanoi, Vietnam: Driving direct takes about 9 hours. A flight might take even more time since you have to transfer at Vientiane to go to Phonsavan (XKH) Airport. Most people ouldn't ant to deal ith a bus ride that first goes to Vientiane. The total bus journal ould take more than 33 hours.

Ho to Go to/from Don Det and Khong Phapheng Falls

The tourist ton of Don Det is in southern Laos. It near Khong Phapeng Falls. It is one of the orld's biggest aterfalls. The closest airport, Pakse Airport (PKZ), is 3 and a half hours aay from the aterfall, It makes sense to go the aterfalls and Don Det by road from many places far aay, perhaps even from as far as Vang Vieng.

  • From Siem Reap, Cambodia to/from Don Det: In the best case scenario, a trip to the aterfalls using a combination of public transport and a flight from Siem Reap to Pakse Airport can take 6 hours total including 1 hour for the flight in the best case situation if there are no flight delays. The total cost might be up to 600 USD. Hoever, a private driver such as ours can take you there directly and comfortably in about 10 hours including a stop.
  • From Da Nang, Vietnam to/from Don Det: The trip by our private driver might take about 10 hours including a meal stop, but taking public transit and a flight ould take about the same amount of time or more if things go ell, and it ould probably cost more than 300 USD. The reason hy is that you'd have to transfer at Ho Chi Minh City.
  • From Vang Vieng, Laos to/from Don Det: The popular northern Laotian tourist ton is far from the nearest airport. For example, if you first go to Vientiane Airport by public transport in four and a half hours, take a flight to Pakse, and continue ith public transport, the total trip ould be 11 hours in a best case scenario ith costs approaching 300 USD. Going direct, a private driver might take 15 hours including meal stops. If you take a bus from Vang Vieng, it takes 48 hours! And you still have to go on to the aterfalls!

e can turn this otherise tiring and long trip into a to or three-day scenic road tour ith stops at highlights along the ay and restful accommodations. Having a personal driver and expert tour guide is a great benefit.

Air-conditioned car: The climate is very hot and humid in southern Laos. Temperatures often rise above 35°C or 100°F. e'll provide comfortable and cool transport.

Consider Private Driver for Regional Travel

e are a reputable travel company that handles private tours regionally throughout Southeast Asia and China. So consider travelling in the safety, speed, and flexibility of our air-conditioned private vehicles instead of croded buses,noisy tuk tuks, and regional flights. You can stop herever you ant for rest and authentic local dining.

You might see that our drivers can take you to the highlights much faster than even flights because e go directly to the places you ant to go and the airports are fe, small, and far beteen. Once in a location, our guide and driver ill help you go to the best places to shop.

The roads in the region tend to be bumpy and ind a lot, so a lot of people in cramped buses get vertigo and feel sick. Also, the buses make only infrequent rest stops. So going in a private car is much more comfortable and healthier too. It is also faster. Here are some examples

Going ith us is an excellent ay to tour the hole region since airports are fe, and the attractions are far aay from each other. So you might as ell go by road vehicle all the ay from numerous locations in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

e can turn your trip to Laos into a great inland tour ith stops, meals, accommodations and things to do along the ay as you specify. It is safer than public travel, and more enjoyable. Contact us, and e'll provide the expert advice to help you design your on tour. e can handle the multiregional trip and turn it into an enjoyable adventure.

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Visit Laos in Comfort ith Us

There many travel agents and tour companies offering tours to various attractions, but most of these ould only give limited time at an attraction or you'd have to go in a tour group. But if you go ith us, e'll provide reliable transportation that ill ait for you, and you can travel at your leisure. ith us, it is you ho decides the agenda.

So if you ant to book a private tour that has an English-speaking guide and ant to go to arrange for other things that interest you such as shopping or enjoying various regional cuisines, contact us and see this tour idea for a regional tour.

Why Travel with Asia Highlights

  • Tailor-made experience: All of your ideas/needs will be carefully considered to create your ideal trip.
  • Worry-free planning: Every step of your trip, you will be looked after by your 1:1 travel consultant based in Asia.
  • No-risk booking: We refund as much as we can and adapt flexibly to unexpected changes.

14-Day Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos Tour

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