Photo: The Mekong passing by.

How to get to and from Paksan

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


Vientiane’s Wattay International Airport is 150 km away.

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The Paksan bus station is on Route 13 at the market, just west of the bridge. In Laos, the bus station is usually an important hub but Paksan is an exception, as most long-distance buses simply pick up and drop off on the road in front of the station without bothering to go into it.

Buses to Vientiane pass through Paksan frequently. In fact, if you’re headed to Vientiane, you can be picky about what bus you take and hailing down an air-con VIP bus or any good-looking bus will be far faster and more comfortable than the painfully slow local bus that departs from the station. In no rush? Then the leisurely local bus departs approximately every 25 minutes, starting at 05:50 until 16:10. Costs 30,000 kip. To give you an idea, our 150 kilometre journey to Vientiane took almost 4 hours.

Likewise, buses passing through Paksan heading south to Pakse are frequent. Simply stand anywhere along the side of Route 13 and flag one down. It’s possible to be dropped off in Tha Khaek en route. There will be the occasional passing bus headed to smaller destinations such as Xieng Khouang, Savannakhet, Attapeu, Salavan and Sekong. Taking this chance is a gamble and could amount to waiting for a bus that never left to begin with.

For departures from the station, as is the case with all small towns in Laos, the buses leave when there’s enough passengers and cargo.

Other destinations:
Bolikhan district: Departs 07:30, 08:30, 09:40, 10:50, 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00, 16:00, 17:00. Costs 15,000 kip.
Junction to Lak Xao (96 km south of Paksan): Departs at 07:30, 08:30, 09:20, 10:10, 11:00, 12:10, 12:50, 13:30, 14:10, 14:50. Costs 25,000 kip.
Lak Xao: Departs at 05:00, 05:30, 06:30, 11:30. Costs 60,000 kip.
Viengthong district: Departs at 06:30. Costs 80,000 kip.
Xieng Khouang: Departs at 07:30. Costs 100,000 kip.

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Once a spectacular, off the beaten track boat journey, there are no longer boat trips from Paksan or Pak Kading up the Nam Kading river (which is now also called the Nam Theun) due to damming.

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Getting around

Paksan sprawls out quite a bit but count on having to walk as tuk tuks are scarce. Our guesthouse had to call around to find us one and even then, it took 30 minutes for the driver to show up.

For those planning on catching any bus headed south or towards Vientiane, it’s not necessary to go to the bus station: Just wait anywhere along Route 13.

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Where to next?

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

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