Photo: Plain of Jars.

How to get to and from Phonsavan

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


Air

Xieng Khouang Airport (XKH) is located less than 5 kilometres from the city centre. As of 2018, Lao Airlines has service to/from Vientiane once a day, promotional fare as low as US$65 one-way.

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Bus

As of 2018, Phonsavan has several bus stations and it is confusing, as a single destination can have service from multiple stations. Note: if you are taking a bus from one of the outlying stations, it is usually cheaper to purchase the ticket from your guesthouse or a travel agent, who will charge a small commission but the ticket will also include pick-up and transfer by tuk-tuk, cheaper than grabbing one privately. It also removes the headache of finding out which bus at which station. If buying directly, arrive to the bus station one hour before departure.

Map of public transport in Phonsavan

Map of public transport in Phonsavan
Legend
(1) Bounmixay southern bus station (2) Northern bus station (3) Phoukham Garden Bus Station (4) Southern Bus Station 2 (5) Xieng Khouang Airport

The Phoukham Garden Bus Station is at the market directly in the centre, less than 200 metres from the main street/tourist strip. If lucky, your bus arriving into Phonsavan may drop passengers off here. For departures, songthaews/minibuses service regional routes including Muang Khoun and Muang Kham—departure times for these are estimates as they depart when full. There are also buses and minivans for Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng and Vientiane.

Luang Prabang (minivan): departs at 08:30. Costs 110,000 kip.
Muang Kham: departs at 07:00. Costs 25,000 kip.
Phou Khoun: departs at 08:30. Costs 60,000 kip.
Phou Khout: departs at 08:30. Costs 60,000 kip.
Vang Vieng (minivan): departs at 08:30. Costs 100,000 kip.
Vientiane (sitting bus): departs at 06:30, 08:00, 17:00. Costs 110,000 kip.
Vientiane (VIP bus): departs at 19:39. Costs 130,000 kip.

The Northern bus station is on the main road Highway 7, about 4 kilometres west of the city centre. Sample fares and destinations include:

Luang Prabang: departs at 08:30, 19:30. Costs 95,000 kip and takes 7-8 hours, arriving into Luang Prabang’s southern bus station.
Sam Neua: departs 09:00, 19:30. Bus at 09:00 costs 80,000 kip, 19:30 costs 100,000 kip.

There are two southern bus stations, a kilometre apart from each other on Highway 1D which is the road leading south from Phonsavan’s main intersection.

The Bounmixay southern bus station is 6 kilometres from the tourist centre. Sample fares and destinations include:

Paksan: departs at 07:15. Costs 100,000 kip and takes 6 hours.
Pakse: departs at 07:15. Costs 120,000 kip and takes 16 hours.
Vientiane: departs at 06:00, 08:00, 20:30. Bus at 06:00, 08:00 costs 110,000 kip, 20:30 costs 130,000 kip, and takes 8 hours.

Another southern bus station, we’ll call it Southern Bus Station 2, is 5 kilometres from the tourist centre, a kilometre shy of the Bounmixay station. Sample fares and destinations include:

Luang Nam Tha: departs at 07:30, 09:00. If it’s a sitting bus it costs 180,000 kip, if it’s a sleeper bus it costs 200,000 kip.
Udomxai: departs at 07:30, 09:00. If it’s a sitting bus it costs 150,000 kip, if it’s a sleeper bus it costs 170,000 kip.
Vang Vieng (local bus): departs at 08:30. Costs 100,000 kip.
Vang Vieng (minivan): departs at 06:30, 07:30. Costs 100,000 kip.
Vientiane: departs at 08:30, 18:30. Costs 110,000 kip and takes 9 hours.
Vientiane (sleeping bus): departs at 19:30. Costs 130,000 kip and takes 8 hours.
Xayaboury: departs at 09:00. Costs 130,000 kip and takes 8 hours.

Buses to Hanoi or Vinh, Vietnam must be booked through an agent or guesthouse. The bus passes through Phonsavan and will pick up en route, so pick–up time is approximate.

Hanoi: bus picks up from guesthouses around 02:00. Costs 300,000 kip and takes 16 hours.
Vinh: departs at 06:00. Costs 150,000 kip and takes 12 hours. Price includes transfer to the bus station.

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Getting around

The main tourist strip is easy to get around on foot, and tuk tuks can be found along there as well. Guesthouses and travel agencies rent Chinese-brand motorbikes for around 120,000 kip a day.

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Where to next?

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


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