Use the quicklinks below to jump to the desired section regarding transport in and around Attapeu.
Opened in 2015, Attapeu International Airport cost 289 billion kip (US$36.9 million) to build. Lao Airlines operated a Vientiane to Attapeu via Pakse flight. As of January 2017, service has shut down. It’s unclear how temporary is this temporary shut down.
Attapeu bus station is located on Road 11 (same road coming in from Sekong) just 600 metres before the junction at the beginning of town.
Pakse: Local bus departs at 06:10, 06:55, 07:40; costs 40,000 kip. VIP 1 bus departs at 15:00, 16:00; costs 60,000 kip. VIP 2 bus departs at 08:25, 10:30, 11:30, 12:30; costs 60,000 kip. For bus to Paksong, take Pakse bus.
Salavan: local bus departs at 09:00, 14:00. Costs 50,000 kip.
Sekong: local bus departs at 06:10, 06:55, 07:40, 10:30. Costs 20,000 kip.
Vientiane: local bus departs at 08:25; costs 140,000 kip. VIP 2 bus departs at 11:30, 12:30; costs 170,000 kip. VIP 1 bus departs at 15:00, 16:00; costs 220,000 kip.
From the bus station there are no buses to Vietnam. Vietnam bound buses originate from Pakse and swing through Attapeu but do not pick up passengers from the station. Instead, Attapeu Tourism Information Centre informed us a pick up could be arranged at (Vietnamese-owned) Duc Loc 1 Hotel, located at the eastern tip of the town peninsula. When we inquired at Duc Loc 1 Hotel, buses to Da Nang passed through at around 07:00, we were quoted 350,000 dong. Buses to Kon Tum are at 06:00 but they could not tell us what the price would be.
With a new sealed road connecting Attapeu with Sekong, it’s a lot faster, cheaper and safer for locals to travel by bus than by boat. It’s a pity because the boat trip between the two towns on the Xekong River was by all accounts quite an adventure, even if not always all that safe.
With bridges now connecting Attapeu with the other side of river, even the short ferry across is all but obsolete. Locals know the telephone number of the boat captain and will call when they’ve had one too many lao-laos and can’t drive, but it’s not like yesteryears where you could show up to the boat ramp and get a lift.
Tuk tuks hang around the bus station and we’ve even spotted a few green “Attapeu Taxis”, the cars clearly hand-me-downs from Vietnam’s green Mai Linh taxis. By far the best way to arrive to Attapeu and to get around is with your own vehicle, be it motorbike, bicycle or car. Off-road motorcycles are necessary for exploring those rural roads that spider off into the hinterlands.