Does anyone know the best way to get straight to Luang Prabang from Hanoi?
I've been looking around at buses and I've heard stories of buses starting at Hanoi, and instead of just going straight across, they go all the way down to Vinh, then going to Vientiene then go up to Luang Prabang.
This seems like a ridiculous detour. Anyone know of any direct routes other than flying there?
#1 lodge has been a member since 17/2/2009. Posts: 17
You need to get to Dien Bien Phu and catch another bus from there. There's quite a bit of info on this site related to this trip, just sift through the message boards a bit and you'll find it.
The road to Dien Bien Phu from Hanoi is horrendous. Don't do it by public bus.
If you need to go via DBP, take the train to Lao Cai, and go to DBP via SaPa, and Moc Chou.
The route via DBP isn't well travelled, so not many reports (see Laos Forum for comments).
You can also enter from further south, Vinh, even Hue, to get to Luang Prabang. There are other posts on this (in reverse) on the Laos Forum. I haven't done those trips, but the reports suggest it may be easier.
Now there exisｔs no direct bus from Ha Noi to LPB as far as I checked while I was travelling, but direct bus from Phonsavan to Ha Noi via Vinh available once a week on reverse route, but it doesn’t mean that direct bus from Ha Noi to LPB or Phonsavan exist because bus to Ha Noi on reverse route entirely depends in demand by Vietnamese & Vietnamese migrants who return to Viet Nam from Laos side.
As for the way of going to LPB from Ha Noi, now exist 3 different routes by “direct bus” passing different international border crossing as below.
①Ha Noi→Vinh→Nam Can(VN)/Nam Khan(Laos) border→Phonsavan→ Luang Prabang ---（by direct bus from Vinh to LPB)
*Direct bus from Vinh to Luang Prabang leave every Wed & Sat 2 buses a week/Departure time-06:00AM/Price:350,000VND(foreigners)
*Bus to Vinh from Ha Noi (My Dinh or Giap Bat=south bus station) are many, it takes about 5 hours.
Trains leaving Ha Noi and stopping at Vinh is not many and it’s only 1 train(**) having good connection with the bus to LPB if you don’t like staying at Vinh with 1 overnaght.
*Bus to LPB & Phonsavan leave Vinh bus station--1.5 km from railway station, along NR.1.
Time table of train from Ha Noi to Vinh (Train no.---Departure/A.arrival)
②Ha Noi→Vinh→Nam Can(VN)/Nam Khan(Laos) border→Phonsavan→Luang Prabang ---( by direct bus from Vinh to Phonsavan→then to LPB by local bus)
*Direct bus from Vinh to Phonsavan leave every Tue, Thu, Fri , Sun 4 buses a week/Departure time-06:00AM/Price:200,000VND
*Bus from Vinh to Phonsavan, it takes about 11～12 hours.
③Ha Noi→ Thanh Hoa →Na Meo(VN)/Nam Xoi(Laos) border→ Sam Neua →Luang Prabang---(by direct bus from Thanh Hoa to Sam Neua)
*Direct bus from Thanh Hoa to Sam Neua(Laos) crossing Na Meo/Nam Xoi border leave every Friday 1 bus a week/Departure time-08:00AM/160,000VND
*Local bus from Thanh Hoa to Na Meo(border town) 3 buses a week but I'm not sure recent time table-which days of the week?(before--Tue, Thu, Sat).
*Bus from Lao border gate to Sam Neua is only 1 bus(return bus)a day/Departure time-10:00～11:00AM. After that no transports and you need helping by immigration officers.
④Ha Noi→Dien Bien Phu→Tay Trang (VN)/Sop Hun(Lao)border→Muang Khua→Nong Khiaw or Oudom Xai→Luang Prabang---(by direct bus from DBP to Muang Khua)
*Bus from Ha Noi to DBP is now running nomally with no problem except meeting spots of re-construction & reparing.
*Direct bus from DBP to Muang Khua(Laos) has now(=this year) become daily service = 7 buses a week = every day/Departure time-05:30AM from DBP bus station/Price:80,000VND.
*This route from Ha Noi to LPB is not the fastest route but many travellers have already traced, so it’s becoming a very popular and easy route now, but it needs 3～4 days for enjoying this route sufficiently.
*Vinh---There are 2 GHs inside of Vinh bus station and several small GHs at the left sid of b/s(Vinh has many big & middlesized hotels, but GHs for tourists very few)
*Na Meo(border town)--There are 2 GHs and 1 very small GH(=dormitory)
*DBP---many in the city, and around DBP bus station within few minuites walk there are 4 GHs.
*for entering into northern Vietnam passing Tay Trang / Na Meo / Nam Can border gates, no VOA at Viet Nam side.
*Tay Trang/Sop Hun border from DBP---VOA available at Lao side, no VOA at VN side
*Na Meo/Nam Xoi border from Thanh Hoa---no VOA available at both sides of Laos and VN
*Nam Can/Nam Khan border from Vinh--- VOA available at Lao side, no VOA at VN side
(I wrote all above at the time of Jan.2009)
#4 tf_geckozy has been a member since 2/9/2008. Posts: 82
someone give tf_geckozy a medal.
no further questions.
#7 lodge has been a member since 17/2/2009. Posts: 17