Use the quicklinks below to jump to the desired section regarding transport in and around Udomxai.
Lao Airlines flies between Udomxai and Vientiane once daily. At the time of writing, the flight from Vientiane to Udomxai departs at 11:40, the return departs Udomxai for Vientiane at 13:00. It takes 50 minutes and costs US$128 one way. Lao Airlines frequently have promotional rates not advertised or available on their website. Do a price comparison or buy at the Lao Airlines booking office, located at the airfield, or with authorised agent Litthavixay Guesthouse.
The airport is walking distance from town. The whole set up is quite sleepy but the staff are helpful and the flights seem to arrive and depart on time.
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. The bus station has afternoon departures to most destinations to facilitate this but connections just got trickier with the opening of the new bus station.
The new 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 and from town. The tuk tuks are organised: passengers are rounded up into one and taken into town for 10,000 kip per person, dropping you off at the old bus station, which is easy walking distance to the hotels and restaurants. If you want to get dropped off at a specific location, it is an additional 5,000 kip.
The old bus station, once a busy, chaotic hub, now sees less traffic but it still services important northern routes including Phongsali, Luang Nam Tha, Bokeo (Huay Xai), Muang Khua and Muang La.
Buses depart regularly, as scheduled -- although if there are enough passengers on some of the more popular routes such as Luang Prabang, extra departures may be added. Likewise, 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 and Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam.
Vehicles leave from particular platforms. All major destinations are clearly marked in English on the windows with ticket prices and above each bus bay. You must show up to the station to buy your ticket at least one hour before the scheduled departure.
And as always in Laos, the trip durations listed below are optimistic estimates.
New bus station T: 081 312 200
Luang Prabang: (192 km) by Mini Bus, departs 08:30, 11:30, 15:00, takes 5 hours, 60,000 kip
Meung Beng: (56 km), departs 09:00, 15:00, 17:00, takes 2 hours, 25,000 kip
Meung Hongsa: by minibus, departs 12:30, takes 7 hours, 110,000 kip
Meung Hoon: (96 km) by minibus, departs 12:00, 15:00, 17:00, takes 3 hours, 30,000 kip
Meung Nambark: (95 km)by minibus, departs 09:00, takes 3.5 hours, 35,000 kip
Meung Ngern: (194 km) by minibus, departs 12:00, takes 6 hours, 30,000 kip
Nong Khiaw: (112 km) departs 09:00, takes 4 hours, 45,000 kip
Pakbeng: (144 km) by minibus, departs 08:00, 10:00, takes 4 hours, 40,000 kip
Pakmong: (82 km) departs 13:00, takes 3 hours, 30,000 kip
Vientiane: (583 km) Regular local bus departs 11:00, takes 15 hours, 130,000 kip
Vientiane: (583 km) Express bus departs 14:00, takes 13 hours, 150,000 kip
Vientiane: (583 km) VIP bus departs 16:00, takes 13 hours, 170,000 kip
Vientiane: (583 km) Sleeping bus departs 18:00, takes 13 hours, 190,000 kip
Old bus station T: 081 212 2218
Bokeo (Huay Xai): (310 km), departs 09:00, 90,000 kip
Boten-Borhan: to the Chinese border, departs 08:00, takes 4 hours, 70,000 kip
Luang Nam Tha: (115 km) departs 08:30, 12:00, 15:00, takes 3 hours, 40,000 kip
Meung Khoua: (100 km) departs 08:30, 12:00, 15:00, takes 3 hours, 40,000 kip
Meung Lar: (162 km) by China bus, departs 08:00, takes 4 hours, 70,000 kip
Phongsali: (236 km) departs 08:30, takes 9 hours, 80,000 kip
Xieng Houng: (192 km) by China bus, departs 08:00, takes 6 hours, 130,000 kip
A 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 if you want 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. You can also rent a tuk tuk from here for the day. Adventuring around Udomxai, including as far as Muang La and Buddha's footprint at Ban Longya, costs about 150,000 kip and up.