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Border crossing from Hanoi to Laos

  • Rickster

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd April, 2008
    Posts: 3

    Hi all,

    I am planning a 16 day trip to vietnam and laos and I hope to get some advice from you guys with more experience.

    We have already book the tickets to hanoi and will be flying back from HCM. The plan is to start from hanoi travel into laos on land, covering Luang Prabang, vang vieng and vientiane. We would then go back to hanoi and fly to HCM.

    May I check with you guys which is the best/fastest way to travel into/back laos on land covering Luang Prabang, vang vieng and vientiane.

    Thanks in advance.

    #1 Posted: 30/4/2008 - 00:07

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  • CatBa

    Joined Travelfish
    5th March, 2007
    Posts: 349

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    The first thing you will need is to convert your single entry visa to VietNam to a multiple entry.

    Unfortunately you will have to use a Ha Noi travel agent. Shop around for prices - they are amongst the most amoral characters around. NOTE: Insist of paying in Dong (if convenient to you) as the VN government WILL ACCEPT Dong in payment and travel agents (and every one else) are required to accept Dong.

    Secondly, why not exit back to VN via Hue or Da Nang - then fly to HCMC thereby saving money and time?

    #2 Posted: 30/4/2008 - 00:34

  • somtam2000

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    Good advice from CatBa there. Check the Visa and Border crossings FAQ for details on the individual border crossings -- on average an overland trip from Hanoi to Luang Prabang takes two days.

    #3 Posted: 30/4/2008 - 05:45

  • Rickster

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd April, 2008
    Posts: 3

    Thanks for the replys.

    I am from singapore so visa wont be too much of a problem for our short stay there as we dont need one.

    Catba, any particular reason y we would need a guide to bring us across to laos? Also any travel agent to recomend us to?

    From the map, it seems that the most direct route from hanoi to laos is the Na Maew / Nam Xoi border area. Anyone tried this crossing before? Is it difficult to get from hanoi to Na Maew? The seems to be very little information regarding this crossing...

    I am thinking of getting back to vietnam from vientiane via the NamCan / Nam Khan border and fly to HCM via vinh. This one is a bit more convenient as there is a fair bit of information out there for reference.

    I dont have any experience travelling in vietnam or laos so this plan seems a bit challanging.. :)
    Do you guys think it is possible?


    #4 Posted: 30/4/2008 - 09:27

  • CatBa

    Joined Travelfish
    5th March, 2007
    Posts: 349

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    (1) Each time you enter VN you get a new visa-free period, so you should be OK on this;

    (2) Guides are not needed to cross the border;

    (3) If SP doesn't have a Laos visa agreement get your visa in SP, before you leave, or in Ha Noi to minimise scam opportunities in Laos. There was no visa-on-arrival at this crossing last year when I was there;

    (4) Ha Noi travel agents are notorious for their scams! REMEMBER, VN is no Singapore when it comes to consumer protection. You buy products/services as close to source as possible to avoid getting overcharged or inferior products. This means going to the bus station or a bonded travel agency (not that this means too much).

    (5) Read: Visa and borders FAQ - you'll have to scroll down to the appropriate part.

    (6) It is more reliable to get a bus from Ha Noi to Vinh (Mei linh-Ha Noi (04)-664-8261; Vinh-(039)-898-989; Sinh doesn't do Hue / Ha Noi but uses a poor operator - Ha Noi Toserco). There is an airport at Vinh if you want to head south quickly - leaving around 14.00H BUT CHECK!

    (7) Scams on this run using other operators involves promises of a ride to the border BUT getting dumped either in Vinh OR a small town just south of Vin.

    (8) If you have a low-band GSM hand/cell phone think of buying Vinafone prepaid in VN (best coverage) and Millicom < www.tigolao.com/ > in Laos. ID is required because phones have been used as bomb detonators.

    (9) ATMs are like mushrooms in VN (everywhere) but scarce in Laos - I guess the fading USD$ is the hard currency of choice.

    (9) Entering VN at land crossings usually involves a detailed baggage search - same rules apply as in SP (except they shoot them in VN rather than hanging)!

    #5 Posted: 30/4/2008 - 11:51

  • Rickster

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd April, 2008
    Posts: 3

    Thanks for the reply once again.

    I am now looking at the more expensive alternative of flying from vientiane to HCM. I just checked that Vietnam Air flys this route direct daily but it seems that they doesnt have the service of booking the flights online.

    Do you guys know roughly how much does the flight cost and anyway I can book the flight outside vietnam beforehand?

    Thanks again :)

    #6 Posted: 1/5/2008 - 01:41

  • CatBa

    Joined Travelfish
    5th March, 2007
    Posts: 349

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    There are only two gateway airports of use to you: Da Nang and TSN.

    My office GDS is off-line at this time (05/03H) so I can't check flights for you.

    You could use a online agency to help locate flights / fares < http://www.traveller2000.com/laos/international/airfares/reservation.htm > - this is a reputable agency if you want to do business with them.

    Laos Airlines and VietNam Airlines both fly to TSN.

    Another route might be AirAsia via Kuala Lumpur if your budget is tight and your baggage light.

    #7 Posted: 1/5/2008 - 05:23

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