The Nakai bus station is located in the centre of town at the market. To go anywhere from Nakai, get to the bus station early. Sample destinations:
Lak Xao: departs at 10:00. Costs 50,000 kip
Tha Khaek: departs at 08:00, 10:00, 12:00. Costs 35,000 kip.
The main bus station in Lak Xao is located 100 m east of the roundabout on Route 8. There’s a steady stream of buses headed to/from Vietnam—stand on Route 8 in front of the station and flag down the one you need, the destination is usually posted on the front windscreen. You’ll need to already have your Vietnam visa of course. Coming into Laos, the visa on arrival system is available at the Nam Phao border.
At the station, sample destinations:
Na Hin: songthaew departs at 09:00, 12:00, 15:00, 16:00. Costs 25,000 kip and takes 1.5 hrs.
There is one bus to Tha Khaek scheduled for 12:00, but this bus does not always depart. To get to Tha Khaek, get to Na Hin and change buses.
Songthaews to Konglor depart when full, with approximate departure times stated as 10:00, 12:00 and 14:00. Cost is 25,000 kip and takes 1 hour.
Buses don’t usually depart from Na Hin, rather, buses come from other destinations and stop to pick up en route. What that means is the schedule at best is a guess and you may be waiting for a bus that does not come. The general rule for local buses in Laos: the buses earlier on the schedule have the best chance of actually departing.
One option: take any transport heading west on Route 8 to Vieng Kham (the major junction with Route 13). From there, a steady stream of buses pass, either travelling north to Vientiane or south to Pakse.
Lak Xao: departs at 08:00, 09:00, 10:00, 12:00, 15:00, 16:00. Costs 25,000 kip and takes 1.5 hrs.
Paksan: departs at 13:30, 14:30, 15:30 (buses originate from Lak Xao).
Tha Khaek: departs at 08:00, 09:00. Departure at 15:00 originates from Lak Xao but is not a regular bus, it may or may not come. Costs 75,000 kip.
Vientiane: 08:00 (bus originates from Konglor); 18:00, bus originating from Lak Xao. Costs 70,000 kip.
Lak Xao: take bus from Na Hin.
Na Hin: songthaew departs 06:00, 08:00, 11:00. Costs 30,000 kip and takes 1 hr.
Tha Khaek: songthaew departs 06:00, 08:00, 11:00. Costs 75,000 kip and takes 5 hrs.
Vientiane: bus departs at 07:00. Costs 80,000 kip and takes 7 hrs. This bus can drop off anywhere en route such as Na Hin, Vieng Kham and Paksan.
Spring River Resort in Konglor can arrange boat transport from the resort to Konglor Cave for 200,000 kip roundtrip. River levels permitting, they also can organise a one-way journey on the Hinboun River from the resort to Ban Nong Noua on Route 13, 48 km north of Tha Khaek. Price listed is 1,600,000 kip. Inquire with the resort. T: (020) 5963 6111; http://springriverresort.com/