Photo: What is for breakfast?

How to get to and from Udomxai

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


Air

Lao Airlines flies between Udomxai (ODY) and Vientiane once daily. It takes 50 minutes and at the time of writing, prices were US$90 one way, with promo fares as low as US$55. Ticket can be purchased online, at the Lao Airlines booking office located at the airfield, or with an authorised agent like Litthavixay Guesthouse. The airport is walking distance from town, less than 500 m east of the main roundabout.

Lao Airlines: http://www.laoairlines.com/

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Bus

Udomxai is northern Laos’ main transport hub—everyone travelling in the north has to do so via here. Most people don’t wish to stick around, preferring to transit straight through if possible. Sometimes that means having to transfer between bus stations because the city has two.

The newer southern bus station is four kilometres outside the town centre and it services southerly routes including Luang Prabang, Nong Kiaow, Pakbeng and Vientiane. You will need a tuk tuk to shuttle to/from town. The tuk tuks are organised: passengers are rounded up into one and taken into town for around 10,000 kip per person, dropping you off at the old bus station which is easy walking distance to the hotels and restaurants. To get dropped off at a specific location, it is an additional 5,000 kip.

The old bus station aka the northern bus station is 300 m south of the roundabout/main street. It is a small but busy, chaotic hub, servicing important northern routes including Phongsali, Luang Nam Tha, Bokeo (Huay Xai), Muang Khua and Muang La, as well as China and Vietnam. In fact, this is the only bus station in Laos where we’ve heard announcements in Lao, English, Vietnamese and Chinese.

Buses depart regularly, as scheduled, and if there are enough passengers on some of the more popular routes such as Luang Prabang, extra departures may be added. On the flip side of the coin, if there are not enough passengers, the departure will be delayed or outright cancelled leaving you scrambling.

Keep in mind that it is possible to stop en route. For example, the bus to Huay Xai will stop in Luang Nam Tha. Buses to Vientiane will pass through Luang Prabang. To get to Muang La, you would ideally take the bus to Muang Khua but you can try squeezing onto the bus to Phongsali or Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam.

Vehicles leave from particular platforms, major destinations are marked in English above each bus bay. You must show up to the station to buy your ticket one hour before the scheduled departure.

And as always in Laos, the trip durations listed below are optimistic estimates.

Northern bus station (old bus station)
T: (081) 212 2218
Bokeo (Huay Xai): (310 km), departs 09:00, 13:00. Costs 85,000 kip and takes 8 hours.
Boten-Borhan: (95 km) to the Chinese border, departs 08:00. Costs 50,000 kip and takes 4 hours.
Luang Nam Tha: (115 km) departs 08:30, 11:30, 15:30. Costs 40,000 kip and takes 3 hours.
Muang Khua: (100 km) departs 08:30, 11:30, 15:30. Costs 45,000 kip and take 3 hours.
Meung Lar: (162 km) by Chinese bus, departs 08:00. Costs 70,000 kip and takes 4 hours.
Phongsali: (236 km) departs 09:00. Costs 80,000 kip and takes 9 hours.
Xieng Houng: (192 km) by Chinese bus, departs 08:00. Costs 130,000 kip and takes 6 hours.


Southern bus station (new bus station)
T: (081) 312 200
Luang Prabang: (192 km) departs at 09:00, 12:00, 15:30. Costs 60,000 kip and takes 7 hours.
Muang Beng: (56 km) departs at 10:00, 13:00, 15:00, 17:00. Costs 25,000 kip and takes 2 hours.
Muang Hongsa: departs at 12:30. Costs 110,000 kip and takes 7 hours.
Muang Hoon: (96 km) departs at 12:00, 15:00, 17:00. Costs 30,000 kip and takes 3 hours.
Muang Nambak: (95 km) departs at 09:00. Costs 35,000 kip and takes 3.5 hours.
Muang Ngar: (66 km) departs at 11:30. Costs 35,000 kip and takes 3 hours.
Muang Ngern: (194 km) departs at 12:00. Costs 80,000 kip and takes 6 hours.
Nong Kiaow: (112 km) departs at 10:00. Costs 45,000 kip and takes 4 hours.
Pakbeng: (144 km) departs at 08:30, 10:00. Costs 40,000 kip and takes 4 hours.
Pakmong: (80 km) departs at 13:00. Costs 30,000 kip and takes 3 hours.
Vientiane: (583 km) Regular local bus departs 11:00. Costs 170,000 kip and takes 15 hours.
Vientiane: (583 km) Sleeping bus departs 16:00. Costs 190,000 kip and takes 14 hours.
Vientiane: (583 km) VIP bus departs 14:00, 18:00. Costs 170,000 kip and takes 14 hours.
Xayaboury: (311 km) departs at 15:00. Costs 130,000 kip and takes 8 hours.
Xieng Khouang: (456 km) departs at 10:00. Costs 130,000 kip and takes 12 hours.

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Other

Motorbike rentals are available at Sunti Travel (open Mo–Su 07:30-18:00), on the road that wraps around Wat Phu That hill (near the back). Motorbikes are 100,000 kip/day. A driver and a 4x4 truck or minivan is available for 1,200,000 kip/day.

The Provincial Tourism Information Office has one rental motorbike and some mountain bikes. They can also arrange for vehicle and driver.

The songthaew stand is located in the small street between the Kaysone monument and the bank. There are regular departures between about 06:00 until 19:00 along each of the main roads that lead out of Udomxai. These do not go as far as the public buses but are handy to get to Muang La or one of the other small local villages.

Songthaews depart when they’re full, which in the best cases means every few hours. Tuk tuk can be hired from here for the day. Adventuring around Udomxai, including as far as Muang La and Buddha’s footprint at Ban Longya, costs 150,000 kip and up.

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Where to next?

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


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