Photo: Classic scenery surrounds Vang Vieng.

Laos forum

Overland Luang Prabang to Vientiane.

Posted by mangie on 17/11/2006 at 22:27

G'Day,
We are Travelling Overland Luang Prabang to Vientiane. with a night stop at Vang Viang.
Best modes of transport, Please.
Bus --Boat -- or car.????????????????????????????????????????????????
Is it possible to do it by road as well as river?
To anybody who has done it, please share experiences,
Cheers.

#1 mangie has been a member since 11/11/2006. Posts: 14

Posted by Laura_B on 17/11/2006 at 23:05

Well I went by minivan, not sure about other modes of transport though. The journey from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng is stunning, takes about 5 hours and is mostly through mountains, absolutely breath taking! From Vang Vieng to Vientiane it takes another 3 hours, the road is generally straight and not as interesting.

#2 Laura_B has been a member since 30/6/2006. Posts: 54


Posted by LancasterLad on 19/11/2006 at 14:56

We came the other way by VIP bus. For the extra dollar or so it's worth taking the minivan. Agree with Laura_B about the scenery, it's stunning practically all the way to Vang Vieng. Make sure the driver keeps his eye on the road though, cos it's a fun journey!

#3 LancasterLad has been a member since 13/9/2006. Posts: 62

Posted by mangie on 20/11/2006 at 16:36

To Laura_B & LancasterLad,
Thanks for the info, guy's.
I'll look for the VIP mini bus in Luang Prabang & travel in style.
Found a great place to stay in Vang Vieng so it should be pretty cool.
Thanks again for the help,
Mike

#4 mangie has been a member since 11/11/2006. Posts: 14

Posted by roverinexile on 21/11/2006 at 02:07

Anyone done the trip (LP - Vientiane) in 1 day by bus/minivan? Is it realistic, or even worth considering flying?
thx.

#5 roverinexile has been a member since 12/8/2006. Posts: 18

Posted by somtam2000 on 21/11/2006 at 08:37 admin

Rover,

Trip takes around 9 hours -- people do it every day. Worth flying though if you don't want to spend 9-10 hours on a minibus

#6 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,500
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Posted by riki_nt on 22/11/2006 at 13:08

I would recommend NOT taking the minibus. It actually took us 7 hours from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng (as opposed to the 5 hours advertised) because of delays, stops, change of van etc. There was also no leg room - even I was struggling and I am only 5 foot 3 inches. Most people were very uncomfortable. I would recommend the VIP bus instead. We took this from Vang Vieng to Vientianne and it was much more comfortable, actually ran to the advertised time and is a bit cheaper.

#7 riki_nt has been a member since 19/9/2006. Posts: 2

Posted by mangie on 22/11/2006 at 17:02

G'Day riki_nt,
Thanks for the info. -- useful tip!!
Can I pick the VIP bus up in Luang Prabang when I arrive there or do I need to book in advance?
Cheers

#8 mangie has been a member since 11/11/2006. Posts: 14

Posted by dilakeman on 22/11/2006 at 17:32

I've recently travelled from Vientiane to Vang Vieng(Nov), and from there to Luang Prabang the next day. I would definitely recommend the minibus for both jouneys (try to get the front seat). I found that any road journey can be extended unduly for any reason, stops, delays etc, so if you have to get somewhere in a hurry, don't take any bus. I found that bus travel does not have to be booked more than the evening before travel.

#9 dilakeman has been a member since 10/9/2006. Posts: 2

Posted by LancasterLad on 26/11/2006 at 09:07

It comes down to paying your money and taking your chance. Both VIP buses we took from Vientiance to V V and V V to LP were rickety old relics, and people were sat on plastic seats in the aisle. Getting to the bus was by feeder van, and obviously if you got there first(ish) you got the pick of the seats. Most of the minivans I saw looked alright, but I suppose that people carrying excessive baggage can make it a cramped ride.

Don't miss out on V V though. Stay a few days, and you'll really enjoy the area.

#10 LancasterLad has been a member since 13/9/2006. Posts: 62

Posted by longleat on 27/11/2006 at 04:17

HI Mangie,
All the postings from LP toV are of interest to me. Also, you mentioned you found a great place to stay. What place to stay have you found? Thanks!

#11 longleat has been a member since 12/10/2006. Posts: 53

Posted by mangie on 27/11/2006 at 16:06

Hi Longleat,
Staying at the Apsara in Luang Prabang & the Thavonsouk in Vang Vieng.
thavonsouk@hotmail.com
All the best.

#12 mangie has been a member since 11/11/2006. Posts: 14

Posted by LancasterLad on 27/11/2006 at 17:26

In V V make sure you have a Mulberry Shake in the Organic Cafe.

There is a good selection of guest houses within easdy walking distance of where the bus drops you off. We stayed at the Dok Khoun1, it was US$8 a night for a big double with a/c and bathroom. It was very clean and away from the noise on Pizza Street. Next to the Organic Cafe is a place called The Babylon. Had we not been content with where we were staying we'd have definately opted for there.

All the pushbikes for hire in V V looked in good nick, are v.cheap and well worth getting out into the countryside on.

#13 LancasterLad has been a member since 13/9/2006. Posts: 62

Posted by TessaW on 28/11/2006 at 01:03

I did once hear of some people who did it by river, via some really beautiful lakes (maybe Nam Ngum???) and I think they either camped or did a basic homestay. I am not sure of the details but this seems to be a really different way of doing things ... everyone else just takes the bus.

#14 TessaW has been a member since 9/11/2006. Posts: 8

Posted by sylvia on 28/11/2006 at 15:25

Hi All

Need help on travelling from Siem Reap to Vientiane via Vang Vieng and then on to Luang Prabang. Does anyone know anything about Lao Aviation? Happy to take VIP Bus. What do you think??

#15 sylvia has been a member since 7/10/2006. Posts: 4

Posted by mangie on 28/11/2006 at 17:43

G'Day Sylvia,
We are planning to do the same trip the opposite way -- LP to SR as follows: Taxi/bus Vientiane to Nong Khong -- Over night sleeper to Bangkok (arr. 05.45am) -- sky train across the city to the Northern bus terminal -- Bus to Aranyaprathet --tuk tuk to the border -- Taxi to Siem Reap (try & share this as its $45) Turn the trip around & there you have it.
Its the long way comparerd to flying but at least you get to see a bit of the country. Enjoy the journey.

#16 mangie has been a member since 11/11/2006. Posts: 14

Posted by sylvia on 29/11/2006 at 02:42

Thanks, sounds great. Do you know how safe it is to fly with LAO AVIATION??

#17 sylvia has been a member since 7/10/2006. Posts: 4

Posted by Thai_Tripper on 1/12/2006 at 17:57

My understanding is that LAO Aviation safety record is not that hot.
When we went from BKK to SiemReap and on, last year we found the bus to be OK (as long as the roads are dry !!!) and the border crossing was easy.
As Mangie says go overland you really see the country.

#18 Thai_Tripper has been a member since 9/4/2005. Posts: 2

Posted by somtam2000 on 1/12/2006 at 22:01 admin

Sylvia - Lao Aviation is reasonably ok -- they're not perfect, but then not many airlines are. We've got a story about them here.

#19 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,500
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Posted by exacto on 2/12/2006 at 10:26

Sylvia,

I've flown Lao Airways many times and would have no concerns about doing so again. Nothing is 100% safe, but if you compare flying around Laos to other forms of transport, such as taking the bus or riverboats, then flying starts to look even better by comparison.

Read the feature that Somtam linked above and see what you think.

Also, you've got me confused on taking the bus from Siem Reap to VTE via Vang Vieng. If you are planning to stop off in Vang Vieng, then you might as well continue by bus to Luang Prabang. For the extra few dollars that it costs, the VIP bus is very much worth the cost. Cheers.

#20 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,630
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Posted by longleat on 4/12/2006 at 03:27

Is it feasible to hire a car with driver from LP to VV? Any idea of the cost? Also can we hire a car with driver from VV to Vietienne? Cost? Since we are three people traveling, sometimes it is cost effective to get the car instead of a bus. What do you think? Many thanks!

#21 longleat has been a member since 12/10/2006. Posts: 53

Posted by LancasterLad on 5/12/2006 at 21:45

Hi Longleat

Don't know, but it sounds an A1 idea. The journey between LP and V V has endless superb scenery, though if you are driving you'll need to keep your eyes on the road! That said, I'd go for a self-drive if possible, do a bit of research and take two or three days to do the journey as there's probably lots to see off the main road, and I did notice the odd guesthouse along the way. The trip between V V and Vientiane is unremarkable in comparison.

#22 LancasterLad has been a member since 13/9/2006. Posts: 62

Posted by puneh on 10/12/2006 at 11:35

I had read in a Laos guide book that the road from VV to LP is not very safe due to rebels and drug trafficking.. Can anyone comment?

#23 puneh has been a member since 1/12/2006. Posts: 4

Posted by puneh on 10/12/2006 at 11:36

I had read in a Laos guide book that the road from VV to LP is not very safe due to rebels and drug trafficking.. Can anyone comment?

#24 puneh has been a member since 1/12/2006. Posts: 4

Posted by puneh on 10/12/2006 at 11:36

I had read in a Laos guide book that the road from VV to LP is not very safe due to rebels and drug trafficking.. Can anyone comment?

#25 puneh has been a member since 1/12/2006. Posts: 4

Posted by Manticore on 12/12/2006 at 20:44

I read that in a guide book too. I took the road from LP to VV last April and only found out once I was enroute. I heard the previous year a bus full of ppl were sprayed with machine gun fire and a couple of tourists on pushbikes who saw the whole thing copped a bullet each too. Well thats the story given to me..

that said, i wouldnt hesitate taking that road again!

#26 Manticore has been a member since 9/11/2006. Posts: 67

Posted by g13john on 22/2/2010 at 02:08

hi there i am going to luang praabang on around the 1st november, i am going to fly from bangkok, does anybody think it would be wise to book accomodation for my route thats going to take me from LB to vang vien for a few days then down to vantiene, i much prefer looking round instead of booking ahead, (i do in thailand anyway) but i have never been to laos so any advice would be great..
thanks

#27 g13john has been a member since 22/2/2010. Posts: 1

Posted by christay2009 on 22/2/2010 at 03:11

I wouldn't bother booking ahead, looking around is a better plan. There are loads of accomodation options in Luang Prabang , Vang Vieng and Vientiane. Might be a good idea to find a few on travelfish that look good then check them out in person. If your flight arrives after dark in Luang Prabang then it might be a good idea to do some research before you arrive. I saw quite a few groups of people arriving in the evening, looking lost, wondering which direction to head in for accomodation.

Hope that helps

#28 christay2009 has been a member since 8/2/2009. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 414

Posted by loominpapa on 30/7/2011 at 17:40

We heard a few rumours about the bus from Luang Prabang to Vientiane being dangerous so asked a local guide. He told us that it isn't safe in the rainy season and to fly instead. Apparently three weeks ago 700 vehicles ended up stuck because of a large landslide which happen quite regularly at this time of year. As much as I hate to fly it does seem like the better option when it's chucking it down.

#29 loominpapa has been a member since 15/6/2011. Posts: 1

Posted by sylvia on 30/7/2011 at 22:01

This is not a good time of the year to travel in the area. However, it seems that Laos Air is your option if roads are blocked due to land slides. We hired a private driver from Vientienne to Luang Prabang and stopped at Vang Vieng along the way.. It was fantastic, four of us shared the cost and it was very reasonable, comfortable, air conditioned, clean and very informative. I would love to do it again, but not at this time of the year. December, January, February are good. So I guess your only option is to fly, or go at a different time of the year. Hope this helps your dilemma. Cheers.

#30 sylvia has been a member since 7/10/2006. Posts: 4

Posted by Captain_Bob on 1/8/2011 at 18:25

There's a tropical depression hitting the region right now and extra heavy rain always means landslides in the hilly north of Laos. Be prepared for delays of an hour or even a day if roads are blocked. Gorgeous drive but sitting by the roadside waiting for something to happen kind of sucks. Lao people are used to it, but they probably don't have fixed travel plans. Fly if you want to be sure.

#31 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,872

Posted by chopin on 17/8/2011 at 16:38

Hi Sylvia, can you let us know the price of the private driver? a contact number would be greater if you highly recommend his service.

#32 chopin has been a member since 28/4/2007. Posts: 154

Posted by sylvia on 17/8/2011 at 20:31

Sorry I don't have this information any longer as we did this trip in 2006 and I'm sure a lot of things have changed. In Vientiane we went to a few travel agencies as well as contacted three private drivers and chose one after we spoke with him for a while. We were lucky with the driver we picked out, he spoke English, his car was air conditioned and it was very clean. To us it was worth every single cent. But do remember we were there in December- January. NO RAIN! Good luck. .

#33 sylvia has been a member since 7/10/2006. Posts: 4

Posted by emileye on 23/11/2011 at 07:00

Hi Sylvia,

Thanks for the useful information. May I ask, how long did you stay in VV? We would love to go but just don't have much time, and I didn't know whether spending a few hours/half a day tubing and enjoying the scenery would be worth it. We were planning to fly from Bangkok to LP then travel overland (hopefully with a private driver as you did if they are still available!) to Vientiane and pass by VV.

#34 emileye has been a member since 23/11/2011. Posts: 1

Posted by Dyno on 17/5/2012 at 05:37

Hi all,

Don't mind I hijack this thread for a quick question... :)

Can i know the bus schedule and total traveling time from Luang Prabang to Vientiane ? There seems to have a 1930 bus and it will take 7 hours to Vientiane, can someone verify this?

I am going to catch a flight out of Vientiane at 0830 in the morning and will not mind spending some hours at Vientiane airport :)

#35 Dyno has been a member since 24/4/2012. Posts: 6

Posted by busylizzy on 17/5/2012 at 05:50

Hi Dyno - I knew that one of the regular posters had a link in their signature, but I couldn't remember who! After a bit of digging around, I came across this thread that has various bus timetable links:

http://www.travelfish.org/board/post/laos/8507_my-northern-laos-trip--beginning-to-end

Not sure how current or helpful they are, but it's a start!

#36 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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Posted by busylizzy on 17/5/2012 at 05:50

Hi Dyno - I knew that one of the regular posters had a link in their signature, but I couldn't remember who! After a bit of digging around, I came across this thread that has various bus timetable links:

http://www.travelfish.org/board/post/laos/8507_my-northern-laos-trip--beginning-to-end

Not sure how current or helpful they are, but it's a start!

#37 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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Posted by msimojoki on 18/5/2012 at 22:14

Hi all,
I'll be in Luang Prabang in July 2012 and want to travel to Hanoi. I've heard the horror bus stories but am looking for alternatives to flying. Any ideas out there? thanks, MikeS

#38 msimojoki has been a member since 18/9/2011. Posts: 11

Posted by TonyM on 15/6/2012 at 21:18

Hi guys,

Thinking of a boat ride from Luang Prabang to Vientiane, is it possible if so how, would you do it, how long does it take or am I best going overland to take in Vang Vieng, time of year, mid July.

Thanks in advance,

#39 TonyM has been a member since 22/5/2012. Posts: 31


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