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Bus from Luang Prabang to Kunming, China

Posted by jc1257 on 21/1/2012 at 09:51

I'm thinking of taking the bus from Luang Prabang to Kunming, China. However, since it's a 28 hour bus ride, I don't want to do it all in one go. Does anyone know of some good places, in either Laos or China, to stop for a day or so to break up the trip.

Also, is there a better way to do this trip? The plane tickets I've looked at from Laos and Bangkok are very expensive to Kunming.

Thanks for the help.

#1 jc1257 has been a member since 6/1/2011. Posts: 14

Posted by tf_geckozy on 22/1/2012 at 00:00


I've never taken any flight between Laos and China(Kunming) but i tarvelled northern Laos and Yunnan-China many times by overland linking them from both sides so i'll describe about overland.

First of all, i’ll show you the route from LPB to Kunming.
LPB - Oudomxai - LNT - Boten/Mohan border - Meng La - Jinghong - Kunming
(*LPB=Luang Prabang, *LNT=Luang Nam Tha)

Now you can use direct bus from northern Laos to Kunming as below.
*BUS WITHIN LAOS (=all bus services are daily)
A) bus from LPB to Oudomxai--5-6 hours
B)bus from LPB to LNT--about 9 hours
C) bus from LNT to Boten/Mohan border--2 hours

*BUS FROM LAOS TO CHINA with one booking (=all bus services are daily)
D) direct bus from LPB to Kunming(sleeper)--about 24 hours
E) direct bus Oudomxai to Meng La(day bus)
F) direct bus Oudomxai to Jinghong(day bus)--about 8.5 hours
G) direct bus LNT to Meng La(day bus)
H) direct bus LNT to Jinghong(day bus)
(*direct bus=international bus with one booking)

*BUS WITHIN CHINA=from Xishuangbanna to Kunming (=all bus services are daily)
I ) sleeper bus from Mohan(border town in China) to Kunming
J) sleeper bus from Meng La to Kunming
K) day bus and sleeper bus from Jinghong to Kunming(Dep.08:00am-22:00pm many)/205-271RMB(Oct.2011)
DETAIL above bus services
A) bus from LPB to Oudomxai--55,000Kip/09:00am, 12:00, 16:00pm from LPB northern bus station
B)bus from LPB to LNT-- 90,000Kip/09:00am from LPB northern bus station/ 110,000Kip/08:30am from LPB newly built opposite southern bus station=booking at agent or your Gh in town center is avalable and pick up at your Gh is also avalable
C) bus from LNT to Boten--25,000Kip/ 08:00am, 09:30am, 11:00am, 12:30pm, 14:00pm, 15:30pm

D) direct bus from LPB to Kunming(sleeper bus)
*operator--Naluang Company Travel
*departure day--every day
*departure time--07:00am
*bus fare--420,000Kip (at travel ageny 460,000-480,000Kip)
*arrival point--new "Kunming southern bus station"
E) direct bus Oudomxai to Meng La(day bus)--50,000Kip/08:00am (Oudomxai has only 1 bus station)
F) direct bus Oudomxai to Jinghong(day bus)--90,000Kip/08:00am
G) direct bus LNT to Meng La(day bus)--50,000Kip/08:00am from LNT southern bus station(=10km from town center and near the airport)
H) direct bus LNT to Jinghong(day bus)--95,000Kip/08:00am

I ) sleeper bus from Mohan(border town) to Kunming/330RMB (Oct.2011)/Dep:13:30pm,14:30pm, 17:30pm (*timetable-Mar.2010)
J) sleeper bus from Meng La to Kunming(sleeper)/305-327RMB(Oct.2011)/about 12.5 hours/Dep.18:00pm/18:30pm/19:00pm/19:30pm(*timetable Mar.2010--ie:.19:00pmMengLa -07:20amKunming)
K) day bus and sleeper bus from Jinghong to Kunming/205-217RMB/8.5-9 hours/Dep.08:00am-2200pm---many buses a day
*Jinghong has 3 bus stations along Meng La Road(main road )
Jinghong B/S(north) /Banna B/S(center)/Southern B/S(south). and we travellers normaly use Jinghong B/S and Southern B/S for going to direction Kunming & Laos.
*bus fares except (D) are not now but at the time of 2010 so they’ve maybe raised up with some more Kip now.
*If you go to Kunming by overland, i recomend you to take buses as below.
1)day bus to Oudomxai(A)+day bus to Jinghong(F)+day bus to Kungming(K) or
2)day bus to LNT+day bus to Jinghong(H)+day bus to Kunming(K)--LNT is very good place for breaking your trip or
3)day bus to Oudomxai(A)+day bus to MengLa(E)+sleeper bus to Kunming(J)


PS) Bus Station in Kunming
Kunming has 5 new big bus stations now and Nan Yao bus station near the railway station that we travellers used for many years is entirely closed now, and our buses coming from Laos and Xishuangbanna arrive new Kunming southern bus station very far from city center.
Well, you have 3 options for going to city center as below.
!)by taxi--about 30mins/about 40RMB
2)by shuttle bus(microbus) betwen southern bus station and Nan Yao bus station(building itself is closed now)--bus No.C71/5RMB/about 30-35mins=almost same to taxi because this shuttle bus runs on highway
This bus(several C71 buses continuosly leave here) is waiting passengers stopping at neighbour to a 2-tier toilet(outside of bus terminal building) at the left side corner of bus station area with the big terminal building in the background.
3) local bus No.154/2RMB/about 70-90mins from public bus station neibough to the big bus station building.

Good luck!cool.gif

#2 tf_geckozy has been a member since 2/9/2008. Posts: 82

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Posted by caseyearle on 29/3/2012 at 21:09

Posted from within Vietnam.

Hi tf, great post! We will be in LNT and want to go to Hong Kong for a flight out, so the bus option to Jingjhong looks good to start, then take a plane on to HKG. 2 questions: how are the roads on this leg? Have you flown China Eastern Air and is it reliable (don't care about the food...)? Thanks!

#3 caseyearle has been a member since 20/2/2012. Posts: 2

Posted by captainbkk on 31/3/2012 at 06:40

roads: not clear what ''leg'' you mean. In China its very variable-from brand new 4-lane motorways till old-style bumpy moreholesasasfalt-with the former clearly in the winning mood-as long as it lasts.
C-East; also not quite clear what you mean by reliable: they do not fall down very often and do most flights reasonably on time. Most annoying are frequent time changes-sometimes unannounced-do not book to long before (no, that pernennial fear of youn newbies that flights are ''full'' is ungrounded). For domestic CN book via ctrip or elong-some 2-1 weeks befor for best price.

#4 captainbkk has been a member since 16/2/2012. Posts: 472

Posted by caseyearle on 31/3/2012 at 07:08

Posted from within Vietnam.

The road leg I refer to is Luang Nam Tha to Jinghong by bus, if you know anything about it. Thanks for the comments on China Eastern.

#5 caseyearle has been a member since 20/2/2012. Posts: 2

Posted by caseyprich on 31/3/2012 at 20:21

Afraid I can't comment on the route from LNT to the border. However, the road from Boten to Jinghong is new, in 2008 it was a day of winding turns and vomiting Chinese passengers - but my friends who traveled the route in 2010 say its smooth sailing now.

You may lose time but save a lot of money flying from Kunming to Hong Kong as it is a much larger airport, wouldn't be surprised if your Jinghong to HK flight passed through Kunming anyway. Not sure what your schedule is like but a night in Jinghong is not bad, you can rent bikes and head out to a local hotspring (made into a community pool - nothing rustic) nice on a clear night. Then take a bus to Kunming the next day - or take a night sleeper bus (fairly comfortable) and you'll arrive early in the morning.

China Eastern is fine - one of the more reliable Chinese airlines, I've had delays more often with China Southern. As well, out of airports like Jinghong's there aren't delays very often, it's only during the busy season that things start to clog up - very rarely is a flight cancelled in China, the departure time may be moved by a couple hours, but as cbkk says, that is usually only if you purchase months in advance. If the time is changed you'll receive an email from ctrip or elong if you book through them.

#6 caseyprich has been a member since 3/3/2010. Location: China. Posts: 1,281
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Posted by 2nomades on 30/6/2012 at 06:55


I will do a trip to China in August, and I will in Jing Hong (China) on the 10th of August.

I would like to take a direct bus from Jing Hong to Luang Parabng (Laos) on the 11th of August. Could you say me if there is a direct bus between these two places, if yes, what time it leaves, how much it costs, and how to book it in advance (bus company website, agency...) please ?

Also, I saw that there is a bus between Kunming and Luang Prabang which stops in Mengla.
Could you say me what time it leaves from Mengla, how much it costs and how to book please ?

Thank you very much.

#7 2nomades has been a member since 30/6/2012. Posts: 1

Posted by tf_geckozy on 3/7/2012 at 05:10

First af all:
At least till now, there is is no direct bus service between Jinghong and Luang Prabang except direct sleeper bus from Kunming to Luang Prabang and Vientiane that pass through Jinghong.

As for sleeper bus from Kunming to Luang Prabang , it passes Jinghong & Mengla but doesn't stop at(=enter into) Jinghong B/S and Mengla B/S for picking up passengers and i think it’s difficult for you to know whether bus has enmty seats remaining and book it at Jinghong or Mengla so you had better abondon your hope to catch it at Jinghong and Mengla.even if it’s possible, and if you want to go to Luang Prabang from Jinghong or Mengla, normally you have to change bus at Luang Nam Tha or Oudomxai after one overnight staying there.

#1.Take a direct bus from Jinghong to Oudomxai first then take a local bus going to Luang Prabang from Oudomxai bus station next morning
*Direct bus from Jinghong to Oudomxai , it takes about 8 hours/Dep.time:08:30am/95RMB
*Local bus from Oudomxai to Luang Prabang, it takes about 5-6 hours/Dep.time:08:30am/11:30am/15:00pm/55,000Kip
#2.take a direct bus from Jinghong to Luang Nam Tha first then take a local bus going to Luang Prabang from Luang Nam Tha southern bus station(10km from touristy area where there are many Ghs and near the airport).
*direct bus from Jinghong to Luang Nam Tha, it takes about 6 hours/Dep.time:10:40am
*local bus from Luang Nam Tha to Luang Prabang, it takes about 9 hours/Dep.time:08:00am (it's also OK by local bus or Vip bus going to Vientiane through LPB/08:30am/10:00am)
#3.(in case the first your departure point is Kunming and if you wish both of saving your time for going to Luang Prabang and avoiding a long time bus riding from Kunming to Luang Prabang by breaking up your journey at some place)
Take a sleeper bus from Kunming to Jinghong, and next morning, take a direct bus going to Oudomxai---then #1

>and how to book it in advance (bus company website, agency...) please ?
bus company? Web site? Agency?—sorry, i’m not sure because i haven’t needed them till now.

Accommodation at Jinghong if you will stay there—my recommendation.
*Xishuangbanna -“Manytrees International Youth Hostel” ---very close to "Jinghong bus station" for taking a direct bus to Laos.
Address: No.5, Manyun Lane, Galan Road, Jinghong, Xishuanbanna, Yunnan
Reservation on line is available(after resistering) – but reservation by telephone is only within a week before you arrive. -- (map) ---(map)
This YH locates between Peack Hu(lake) and Jade Market in above map and oppsite slightly to the Gymnasium Municipal) and has easy access to Jinghong bus station in above map.
If you need a private room/family room/female room, it’s available besides dormi-room here.

Jinghong has 3 bus stations---Jinghong B/S, Banna B/S, Southern B/S
*Jinghong B/S—along north of Mengle Main Road
*Southern B/S—at south end of Mengle Main Road

#8 tf_geckozy has been a member since 2/9/2008. Posts: 82

Posted by TonyJamesSlater on 12/7/2013 at 08:24

Hi TF!

Sorry to butt in, but I'd love it if you could help me with a very similar question!
I need to take the sleeper bus from Kunming to Luang Prabang in a couple of days.The only thing is, I can't find ANY information about it online!
Do you know where I could get tickets for this bus? And where in departs from in Kunming (and when?)
It would also be very useful to know how much the bus costs, and how far in advance I need to buy a ticket (I am worried the bus will be full, and I will be stranded in China and overstay my visa!)
Thanks so much, for any help you can give me. I don't speak Chinese, and my hotel in Kunming hasn't replied to my emails asking for help in buying the tickets!
Best wishes,

#9 TonyJamesSlater has been a member since 11/6/2013. Location: Australia. Posts: 2
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