How to get from Vientiane to Luang Prabang
Vientiane is the capital and largest city of Laos. It has a laidback vibe and relaxed atmosphere compared to other capital cities in Southeast Asia. Despite of this, the city still has plenty of awesome things to experience: strolling the streets of its Old Quarter, discovering beautiful temples or enjoying delicious Laos food. From Vientiane, a popular next stop is Luang Prabang, a UNESCO-listed town set in north-central Laos. Luang Prabang attracts tourists by ancient Buddhist temples or a variety of recreational activities in surrounding nature. Travel between Vientiane and Luang Prabang is easy with several different transportation options available.
1. By Plane
Plane is the fastest and most comfortable way to travel from Vientiane to Luang Prabang. Flying time is only 50 minutes. So if you catch a morning flight, you will be in Luang Prabang in time for lunch!
As of 2020, there are two airlines which operate daily flights from Vientiane to Luang Prabang: Lao Airlines and Lao Skyway. Lao Skyway is low airfare airlines which charges oneway ticket from US$ 50 while Laos Airlines charges double for this route. You need to pay about US$ 100 to get oneway ticket with Laos Airlines. However, Lao Airlines’ flights are more reliable as it is a national airline.
All the flights depart from Wattay International Airport in Vientiane. It’s just 3 kilometers outside the city center, making it easy and affordable to get to Luang Prabang International Airport is also close to its city center, so travel to and from the airport do not add much time to your total journey time.
Although of many benefits you get, one disadvantage of flying is the cost. It is the most expensive way to get to Luang Prabang from Vientiane. Therefore, if flying is the way you prefer to travel, try to book your tickets as far ahead as you can for the best deals.
2. By Bus
Buses are more affordable but the journey takes very long. With the distance of 310km, the traveling time is around 12 hours due to windy and bumpy road condition. There are many companies offering bus and van services, giving you plenty of different options for day and time of travel. Prices are quite similar between the different operators. Usually, day buses are a little bit cheaper than night buses. In a day bus, you’ll have a standard seat with not much space to stretch out, while on a sleeper bus, you can stretch your legs right out and lie down.
For such a long journey, it is worth to pay few dollars more as the sleeper buses will give you a much higher level of comfort and help you to have some sleep.
Two popular bus companies are Soutchai Travel and Naga Travel. Both of them offer day and sleeper buses from Vientiane to Luang Prabang. Price range is between US$ 25 and US$ 33 per oneway ticket. Departure point in Vientiane varies depending on each operator. Most of buses will arrive in Southern Bus Terminal in Luang Prabang, except for Soutchai Bus which will arrive in Northern Bus Terminal. This could be a consideration for you as well when deciding which company to travel with.
3. By River Boat
Vientiane and Luang Prabang are both located on Mekong River bank. So, boat is also an option to travel between two cities even it is not popular option.
Traveling by boat takes around 11 hours. However, due to the lack of safety condition, no companies operate public boats at the moment. If you travel sometimes between the period from July to March, you can take part in 6-day overnight cruise from Vientiane to Luang Prabang on Mekong Sun or Mekong Pearl Cruise. Along the way, you will have a chance to discover small village and wild nature which are rarely touched by tourists. Price is from US$ 1,100 per person.
4. By private car
There’s no doubt that although of long journey, traveling on land gives you an opportunity to admire the beauty of regions on the way. You can’t get the same perspective on the scenery when looking out of the window of a plane. However, many people are worried about the comfort and not feel happy to share a bus with many strangers in such long time. In this case, private car is an ideal solution.
Renting a private car gives you the flexibility in time and schedule. You can decide what time to start, which location to be picked up and where to stop along the way. This option is good for a family or a small group of friends.
Laos Travel provides car rental throughout the country. With professional driver and high – quality car, you will have the best experience when traveling with us. Contact us if you need further information for your plan.