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Hanoi - Vientiane route

Posted by adneilme on 3/6/2007 at 01:14

I am planning a route from Hanoi to Vientiane or reverse by bus. Is that route possible? I have been googling through any websites, they do not help me much. Any information would be appreciated

Thank you,

#1 adneilme has been a member since 4/4/2007. Location: Malaysia. Posts: 9

Posted by ernieh on 3/6/2007 at 22:18

Hi Neil,

It is possble to take a bus from Hanoi to Vietiane. However, the journey takes about 24 hours and you may be sitting on a plastic chair in the aisle on the bus in Laos. This is what happened to a Aussie girl I met in Luang Prabang.

What about flying with Lao Airlines (www.laoairlines.com)? A one way flight from Hanoi to Vientiane costs about $115 plus departure tax. It will not only save you time but the frustration and hassles.


#2 ernieh has been a member since 21/3/2007. Posts: 49

Posted by adneilme on 3/6/2007 at 23:05

Thanks a lot.

#3 adneilme has been a member since 4/4/2007. Location: Malaysia. Posts: 9

Posted by somtam2000 on 4/6/2007 at 19:43 admin

Neil there's a couple of border crossings you can use for that trip, the direct Vientiane to Hanoi buses tend to use the lakxao crossing (near Tha Khaek). As Ernie says it is a long and rather uncomfortable trip. If you're not planning on breaking the journey, then I'd suggest flying, but there's plenty to see between the two cities, so if time allows do it overland. You can read details on the ins and outs of the various border crossings between Laos and Vietnam here.

#4 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,058

Posted by freenote on 5/6/2007 at 01:05

I looked at three options from Vientiane to Hanoi
1/ direct bus ,24+hour run ,bad roads , sitting on a plastic seat , but cheap .
2/ Bus to Phonsavan (plain of jars)and then bus to Vin in Vietnam 12+ on last leg , bad roads ,plastic seat .went up and had a look at the bus ,overloaded i think would be the word ,but cheap.
3/fly, comfortable seat , quick ,trolley dollies , expensive ,Vietnam airline $120 +$10 departure tax ,so, ok , i am getting older ,the plane (for once )won !

#5 freenote has been a member since 4/12/2006. Posts: 11

Posted by neonrickshaw on 5/6/2007 at 01:15

Hello, I just took this trip .... one of the best parts about Lao is slowing down to the pace over there. Why not start in Vientiene, and take your time wandering through the beautiful mountains on the way to louang probang... then fly to Hanoi from LP (about $115) good luck

#6 neonrickshaw has been a member since 5/6/2007. Posts: 2

Posted by neonrickshaw on 5/6/2007 at 01:17

Hello, I just took this trip .... one of the best parts about Lao is slowing down to the pace over there. Why not start in Vientiene, and take your time wandering through the beautiful mountains on the way to louang probang... then fly to Hanoi from LP (about $115) good luck

#7 neonrickshaw has been a member since 5/6/2007. Posts: 2

Posted by scott0604 on 27/6/2009 at 10:21

My question focuses on the leg of trip from Vientiane-Hanoi. I've read some stories that make me want to reconsider bus travel through this stretch. I've read 24 hrs by some, others have said as long as 36. What is realistic? And how much does it cost i.e bus tickets, border fees, etc. , excluding food. I really appreciate any imput you can provide.



#8 scott0604 has been a member since 27/6/2009. Posts: 3

Posted by ellenruth on 12/12/2009 at 19:23

Ok, I just went from Hanoi to Vientiane going the Vinh -Cau Treo-Lak Sao-Vientiane route. I had a hard time deciding whether or not to take the 24 hour bus but decided not to, mostly because I dislike being herded around.
I had a pretty good trip, but it is definitely more expensive than having your guest house arrange the 24 hr bus (16 USD inc. pick up) if you factor in random motorcycle rides, guest houses etc. I got to the Gap Biat bus station quite early in the morning and there weren't really any buses to Vinh. I also got swarmed by these awful teenagers the second I got to the bus station and they wouldn't leave me alone. I've been to a lot of Asian bus stations, but I have NEVER experienced anything like this. Drivers were grabbing my upper arm and dragging me aboard their bus and I couldn't go up to drivers without the teenagers trailing me, I assume to get a cut of my overpriced bus ticket. It was pretty shitty. Eventually I got on a bus to vinh that sat around the station for an hour and a half, and then drove to a weird freight facility where it sat for FOUR HOURS while the other passengers smoked and the conductor sexually harassed me. I was about to jump ship when we finally left around 1pm. I saw a lot of other buses on the road that said GAP BIAT-VINH so maybe the Vinh buses don't leave until around 11 or noon. Vinh was great, people were kind and xe oms didn't cost too much, and I had a good experience getting to the border. I got a microbus to the village where you get a xe om to the border (I forget the name of it) and it was a fun bus ride, fresh air and the driver and conductor competing to buy me snacks. I paid 70,000 dong for a motorcycle to the border which didn't seem bad at all. It's a beautiful ride and I highly recommend it. Once you get to the border you can change money and there's a small restaurant with rice and pho. I had some trouble with the sawngtheaw drivers on the Lao side. One guy really wanted me to take a private one and when I got on a shared one with some Vietnamese ladies around my age he came over and convinced the driver to charge me 5 dollars. I ended up talking to my driver later and talked him back down to a more reasonable price. If money is a big concern you may want to walk down the road a bit and flag one down to avoid this happening to you. Again, this is a beautiful ride and it really makes the whole trip worth it.
So long story short, if you want to save money, take the straight 24 hour bus for sure, but I had no real trouble with scammers or anything and really enjoyed the slow trip. Hope this helps somebody else out!

#9 ellenruth has been a member since 29/11/2009. Posts: 3

Posted by jojow25 on 28/12/2009 at 12:10

We just booked a $44 30 hour bus from Hanoi to LP via Viantiane... we are told that we have a sleeper bus until the last 11 hours, changing at Vietiane... hopefully its not the hell bus as people describe as we have paid a lot more than $16 for the comfort of a sleeper bus....!!

#10 jojow25 has been a member since 9/9/2009. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 29

Posted by theCATALYST on 28/12/2009 at 17:08

I was supposed to go to Vientiane from Hanoi last week but I couldn't decide since I find no one to advise me on what to do. Thanks Ellenruth for sharing your experience, I am now ready to take the chance. Where can I find the bus station in Hanoi? What us company is that?

#11 theCATALYST has been a member since 16/12/2009. Location: Philippines. Posts: 18

Posted by jojow25 on 28/12/2009 at 19:54

theCATALYST: I will let you know how our journey goes... but have been told its 30 hours from Hanoi to Luang Prabang.. I guess its 24 hours to Vientiane... will let you know!

#12 jojow25 has been a member since 9/9/2009. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 29

Posted by penny101 on 22/1/2010 at 18:58

People may be interested to know that recently (early Jan) we spotted an advert at Nong Khiaw bus station for a new bus link (3x p.w.) between Hanoi and Sam Neua . No idea how long it would take or what the buses are like....

I've done LP to Sam Neua by bus 2 yrs ago. I t was 'interesting' - 17 hrs, 9 of them on a plastic stool in the gangway. We never regretted doing it though.

We had a bad experience taking the bus from Lak Sao to Vinh in that, having paid for the whole journey, we had to change buses about 2 hrs from Vinh and the bus conductor was very unpleasant to us, trying to make us pay again, especially on the outskirts of Vinh after most other passengers had got off.

#13 penny101 has been a member since 21/1/2010. Posts: 3

Posted by wanderingcat on 23/1/2010 at 03:35

was this the advert you saw?

#14 wanderingcat has been a member since 21/10/2006. Posts: 730

Posted by Worldtraveller on 24/3/2010 at 13:18

Has anyone done either the $18 or more expensive bus from Vientiene to Hanoi recently? Would be good to get an idea of how good/bad it is!

#15 Worldtraveller has been a member since 12/2/2010. Posts: 8

Posted by amberreyn on 13/4/2010 at 03:12

jojow25: how did the trip go? We are going from LP to Hanoi.

#16 amberreyn has been a member since 13/4/2010. Posts: 1

Posted by benjward on 30/6/2010 at 23:58

We just finished this hellish journey. Vang Vieng (via Vientienne) to Hanoi, on a sleeper bus. 24 hours - 260,000 Kip each.


Bus driver was rude and very agressive. Almost started a fight with me over my flip flops.

The journey was nightmareish. We are a couple but we were shoved in at the back on two different bunks with two other strangers. All the other seat/beds are singles, so we were unlucky - but judgeing by the graffity they routinely give the worst seats to westerners. There were people on 'beds' which were just mats laid down in the isles.

The bus left at 7pm. We arrived at the border at about 3am and had to wait until 6am - engine off, no light, no aircon - before we could move on again. About 6hrs of this journey was spent waiting for one reason or another.

The 'aircon' on the bus hardly worked.

Seriously if you are considering this journey - FLY!!! If you can't afford it, try and break the journey up somehow, or prepare yourself for pain. If you absolutely have to get this bus try a different company.

Ben & Laura

#17 benjward has been a member since 30/6/2010. Posts: 1

Posted by tzaddiqim on 13/8/2010 at 16:44

We're planning to do the Hanoi -Vientienne bus next week sometime, after a few days in Halong Bay. I've heard it's cheaper to get the Lao visa in Hanoi rather than at the border, does any one know if it's true or not??


#18 tzaddiqim has been a member since 13/8/2010. Posts: 1

Posted by rileyjegou on 21/3/2011 at 10:28

We made the trip from Hanoi to Vientiane by sleeper bus yesterday and it was smooth sailing the entire way. We left Hanoi at about 7pm and arrived in Vientiane at about 3 pm the following day.
We arrived at the Laos border at 4am and had to wait until 7am when they opened to receive our visas. They charge $1 US to process the visa and on Sundays they add an additional $2 US on for overtime.
After reading the horror stories I was nervous for the journey, but it was one of the better buses I had been on.
The hotel charged $35 US with transport to the bus station, but if you buy your ticket at the bus station it costs $25 US.

#19 rileyjegou has been a member since 21/3/2011. Posts: 1

Posted by katie2906 on 4/4/2011 at 11:53

I made the trip from Vientiane to Hanoi the other day. After reading and hearing about some the stories of these buses, i was slightly nervous but thought i would give it a go and save money from flying!
I took a VIP sleeper (there was nicer VIP buses but it was what i had seen in the picture so couldnt complain), we left around 7pm and made a few stops on the way to the border as we had no toilet on the bus, this didnt turn out to be issue and probably was better as i dread to think what the smell was like. The bus arrived at the border about 2am and we had to wait untill about 630am for the border crossing to open. It cost about 50,000dong (2-3pounds and u can pay in kip too) to process it. We arrived in Hanoi about 630pm, so took 24hrs for the journey but it really wasnt that bad, i met some fun people on there and actually travelled Hanoi with and Halong bay :D
The bus driver did go a little too fast at times, which did made it slightly scary but i got here in one piece! If ur on a budget go for the bus, i booked mine through an agency in Vietiane called Green Discoery Laos, they seemed to be a little more money than what some others paid, but if u get to the bus station yourself than u get it for $25 rather than $35, although i did get picked up in a lush car and she collected dinner for me on the way for the journey...how sweet!!!
Safe travels

#20 katie2906 has been a member since 4/4/2011. Posts: 1

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