Get in

06/05/2013 16:31

Getting in by Air
The national airline of Laos is Laos Airlines (website: . There are no direct flights from the USA or Europe; flights are mainly via Bangkok, China or Cambodia.

Main Airports
Vientiane (VTE) (Wattay) is 3km (2 miles) from the city (journey time – 20 minutes). To/from the airport: Taxis are available (be prepared to bargain). Facilities: Bank/bureaux de change, bars, post office, restaurants and car hire.

Departure Tax
US$10; children under two years of age and transit passengers are exempt.

Getting in by Water
It is possible to travel from Chiang Mai (Thailand) to Luang Prabang by speedboat, slow boat or by a deluxe one-day boat. The slow boat takes about two days and usually involves an overnight stay in Pak Beng. The speedboat goes from Houei Xay on the Laos border to Luang Prabang in around six hours.

It may also possible to travel the Cambodian part of the Laos-Cambodia crossing by slow boat or speed boat, instead of by bus or taxi (see Getting There by Road). Visitors should be aware that accidents can and do happen when travelling at high speeds along the unpredictable Mekong river.

Getting in by Rail
There are no railways in Laos, but the Thai system stretches from Bangkok via Nakhon Ratchasima to Nong Khai on the Laos/Thailand border. A ferry and a bridge link the Lao side of the Mekong, 19km (12 miles) east of Vientiane.

Getting in by Road
It is possible to enter Laos from Thailand at Nong Khai over the Friendship Bridge. Other border crossings include Chiang Kong (Thailand)–Houei Xay (Laos) in the north; Mukdahan (Thailand)–Savannakhet (Laos); Chong Mek (between Pakse and Ubon Ratchathani); Nakorn Phanom (Thailand)–Tha Kek (Laos) and Jouay Kone (Thailand)–Xaingnabouri (Laos).

It is possible to enter Laos by road from Vietnam either at Quangtri or at the border post of Lak Xao near Vinh. Laos can also be entered from China, from Mengla in Yunnan province to Luang Nam Tha.

Overland travel to Myanmar is not feasible owing to security risks.

Despite the official line, some travelers have managed to enter Laos from Cambodia between Strung Treng (Cambodia) and Don Det (Laos) with some degree of hassle, although this crossing is by no means reliable. Check for the latest information locally. The best place to try to arrange this is from Si Phan Don (Four Thousand Islands).

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