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Slow boat Vientiane to Pak Lai then Luang Prabang

  • mandyoz

    Joined Travelfish
    29th October, 2010
    Posts: 4

    Can anyone give me some idea if this route is still operating by cargo passenger boat. I am going in June 2011 and interested to know some details and personal experiences.

    #1 Posted: 2/11/2010 - 10:52

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  • wanderingcat

    Joined Travelfish
    21st October, 2006
    Posts: 730
    Total reviews: 4
    Places visited:
    At least 67

    VTE-Pak Lai boat:
    even so, i wonder how long passenger boats will continue to ply this route since the Pak Lai-Xanakham-VTE road has been improved & is now served by buses (including one that goes all the way to Sayabouly town). maybe check again closer to June 2011.

    between Pak Lai & LPB:
    hasn't been any regular passenger boat service for years (even back in 2006).
    there are cargo boats, not sure how frequent (might have to wait for days before the next one sets off) & how easy/possible it is to negotiate for a space on board (do you speak Lao?).

    cargo passenger boat
    cargo boats & passenger boats (that take on a bit of smaller cargo) are quite different - see pics here:

    #2 Posted: 3/11/2010 - 08:41

  • mandyoz

    Joined Travelfish
    29th October, 2010
    Posts: 4

    thanks wanderingcat.

    I have read the recent links you gave me and they were all interesting, at least they are still operating. Will check it out more as I do have plenty of time before i start the trip.
    Hopefully will get some feedback from someone who has done the trip
    thanks again

    #3 Posted: 4/11/2010 - 11:03

  • GillesFromF-

    Joined Travelfish
    13th December, 2010
    Posts: 6

    Following advice of Lonely Planet guide (and some research on internet) I was in Paklai today (Monday) hoping to find a regular boat for Vientiane. Sadly the boat no longer exists - I cannot assert with certitude it is definitely over, it might be a seasonal problem, but it seems likely this boat is dead.

    Note that I took the bus ride instead, and that it is quite nice (forested hills, beautiful stretches along the Mekong) though a bit tiring (half the route is on unsealed roads).

    #4 Posted: 13/12/2010 - 18:56

  • fairysafar

    Joined Travelfish
    30th January, 2012
    Posts: 2
    Total reviews: 2

    In April 2011, we've chartered a boat from Luang Prabang to Vientiane . It was a rather small boat, we were 4 people on board and it cost us 800 USD (quite expensive, but the journey was worth it !). We left Luang Prabang around 8h30 in the morning, sailed until sunset and stopped somewhere for the night (maybe in PakLai, I don't remember). We slept on the boat : mattresses were put on the floor and we were provided with mosquito nets. The following morning, we continued our trip to Vientiane, reaching there around 5p.m.
    So, to answer your question, there is no regular boat service between Luang Prabang and Vientiane or the other way round. The only way is to charter a boat (our boat could take up to 6passengers). Unfortunately, I don't remember the name of the travel agency which organised that trip, but it was a small travel agency on the Mekong banks, near the boat landing in Luang Prabang.
    Hope this can help other travellers !

    #5 Posted: 26/2/2014 - 20:19

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