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Laos forum

Slow boat Vientiane to Pak Lai then Luang Prabang

Posted by mandyoz on 2/11/2010 at 10:52

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 mandyoz has been a member since 29/10/2010. Posts: 4

Posted by wanderingcat on 3/11/2010 at 08:41

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 wanderingcat has been a member since 21/10/2006. Posts: 730
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Posted by mandyoz on 4/11/2010 at 11:03

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 mandyoz has been a member since 29/10/2010. Posts: 4

Posted by GillesFromFrance on 13/12/2010 at 18:56

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 GillesFromFrance has been a member since 13/12/2010. Posts: 6

Posted by fairysafar on 26/2/2014 at 20:19

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 fairysafar has been a member since 30/1/2012. Posts: 2

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