Photo: Suspension bridge in Muang Khua.

How to get to and from Muang Khua

Use the quicklinks below to jump to the desired section regarding transport in and around Muang Khua.


Bus

Muang Khua’s bus station is roughly 2km from town on route 2E heading towards Udomxai.

Sample destinations include:

Luang Prabang: Take the bus first to Udomxai, which will deliver you to the “old bus station” in town, from where you can then grab a tuk tuk to Udomxai’s new bus station and a bus onwards to Luang Prabang. If you miss the last Luang Prabang bus, you can take any Vientiane bound bus as that will pass through Luang Prabang.
Luang Nam Tha: The bus departs at 07:30, costs 115,000 kip and takes eight hours.
Phongsali: Take a bus departing at 07:30 to Pak Nam Noy, then catch the Phongsali bus passing through there. The trip costs 100,000 kip and takes around nine hours.
Udomxai: The bus for Udomxai departs at 07:30, costs 50,000 kip and takes three hours. There are also possible departures at 11:00 and 15:00 but these depend on demand and are not guaranteed departures.

If you are heading to Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam, do not go to the bus station.
Dien Bien Phu: The bus departs daily at 07:00 from opposite the BCEL bank, costs 60,000 kip and takes four hrs. Buses from other cities enroute to Dien Bien Phu will also pass through Muang Khua from 11:00 until around 14:00. Wait in the same spot opposite the bank to flag these down.

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Boat

A popular mode of travel to/from Muang Khua is by boat on the Nam Ou river. From Muang Khua, public boats only depart downriver, towards Muang Ngoi and Nong Kiaow.

To avoid the noise from the motor at the back of the boat, sit closer to the front and/or bring ear plugs. Having something to use as a cushion for the hard wooden bench is also a good idea. In the winter months (around November to February), layer up as it can be extremely cold with the wind rushing through.

Heading south to Muang Ngoi or Nong Kiaow
A public boat departs every morning, but the time depends on the season so check with the Tourism Office or your guesthouse when in Muang Khua. Arrive to the boat station for when it opens. If it opens at 09:00, expect a departure about an hour later after everyone has bought a ticket and boats have been loaded up. The price is inclusive of all transport to the final destination: boat to the dam (3 hours), ground transport around the dam (a short songthaew ride) and the second boat after the dam (1 hour to Muang Ngoi, 2 hours to Nong Kiaow). If there are less than nine passengers, a surcharge per person applies.

Muang Ngoi: costs 110,000 kip and takes 4.5 hours.
Nong Kiaow: costs 130,000 kip and takes 5.5 hours.

North to Hat Sa, Phongsali
Because of a dam upriver from Muang Khua, to head north to Hat Sa, travellers must first take a local bus in the form of a songthaew, which departs around 10:30 from the junction (spot opposite the bank) to Ban Samphan. This costs 50,000 kip per person and takes 2.5 hours.

Once in Ban Samphan, it is a short shared tuk tuk to the boat landing above Dam 5 and this costs 10,000 kip per person.

The boat to Hat Sa costs 85,000 kip and takes 3 hours. If there are not enough passengers, a surcharge applies per person. In Hat Sa the local bus usually waits for the boat arrival. Finally, it’s a bumpy journey to Phongsali’s smaller bus station, known as “Hat Sa bus station”, located in the outskirts of town—this costs 15,000 kip and takes 1.5 hours.

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Muang Khua? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Laos.


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