I have recently discovered that Lao Air has cancelled their Vientiane to Phongsali flight.
I will be travelling in June for a month and wanted to fly directly to Phongsali so I didn't need to back track etc.
Any suggestions of how to get there?? A flight to another city and bus it?
#1 Kurl has been a member since 7/9/2006. Posts: 4
Welcome to Travelfish Kurl,
Your best bet might be to fly Vientiane to Udomxai, from where it is a pretty straightforward trip onwards northwards to Phongsali.
See the Lao Airlines site for more schedule information.
#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,789
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Thanks for that!
#3 Kurl has been a member since 7/9/2006. Posts: 4
Kurl, I think the Phongsali airport is actually two hours out of town anyway in Boon Neua but sawngthaews run throughout the day. I’d hope the airport reopens and keep track of it. The bus Oudomxia to Phongsali took a lot longer than in the book claims, we arrived after dark, and for long stretches the road was unpaved. The alternative is at least a day slower but pretty. From Oudoxai a good road leads three hours to Muang Kua on the Nam Ou and from there daily boats run up to Hat Sa an hour out of Phongsali. Some people hop boats for three days out of Luang Prabang where the Nam Ou joins the Mekong.
somsai's right, airport that serves Phongsali is not in Phongsali town itself (too mountainous?), but quite some distance away in Ban Boun Neua.
there was a couple who flew to Boun Neua (late Dec 06), but by the time they reached there was only one songthaew left & they were at the mercy of the driver. didn't find out how much they had to pay to get to Phongsali.
Udomxai-Phongsali bus took more than 9 hours (dry season), reached after dark too & amount of dust comparable to Huay Xai-Luang Namtha road. pack some food with you - we stopped in the middle of nowhere for lunch.
was told that it is harder to find boats heading upriver along the Nam Ou, but maybe this is only during the dry season when water levels are lower.
downriver from Hat Sa to Muang Khua took about 6 hours (slow boat broke down thrice, & later ran out of fuel). coming from Udomxai, you might reach Hat Sa on the same day but not in time to catch the only bus to Phongsali...or you can spend a night in Muang Khua & try to leave as early as possible the next morning? unless you take the noisy & risky speedboat, which is much faster, but seeing a wrecked one might make you change your mind ;)
Thank you for the updates. It should be a very interesting trip but no doubt worth it.
#6 Kurl has been a member since 7/9/2006. Posts: 4
Muang Khua Phongsali speedboats are an option. They are expensive (about $70) and can hold four people. Slow boats cost $80 but can hold many more, if others are traveling your way, that is. Muang Khua is a charming little "dump", and we did some excellent trekking out of there!
Phongsali itself is pretty overrated - lots of Chinese trucks and Chinese personality. Fewer smiles than anywhere else we travelled in Lao. I do hear that the trekking can be good.
#7 joosh has been a member since 16/2/2007. Posts: 2