Getting There

Entry to Laos is possible by air or land from Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and China.

By Plane

Lao Airlines
Lao Airlines

The easiest and quickest way to get into Laos is to fly. There are three international airports in Laos, with Vientiane being the main gateway into the country. The international airports at Vientiane (Wattay International Airport) and Luang Prabang (Luang Prabang International Airport) are served by the national carrier Lao Airlines as well as a few other airlines, including Thai Airways, Bangkok Airways (to Luang Prabang only), China Eastern Airlines and Vietnam Airlines. Pakse (Pakse International Airline) is the third international airport, with flights to/from Siem Reap (Vientiane – Pakse – Siem Reap by Lao Airlines).

Laos used to be off limits to low cost budget airlines, however Air Asia now flies to Vientiane from Kuala Lumpur a couple of times per week. Another cheaper option for getting to Vientiane is to fly to Udon Thani in Thailand with Thai Airways or with discount airlines Nok Air or Air Asia and connect to Nong Khai and the Friendship Bridge via shuttle bus service directly from the airport (40 minutes); from the border Vientiane is just 17 km away.

By Train

Laos doesn’t have any international train links, but the Thai train station at Nong Khai is just over the border from Vientiane which links Nong Khai to Bangkok. However, the long-awaited extension across the river to Dongphosy is finally nearing completion, and trains may start running across the border by the end of 2008.

By Land

Laos has land and/or river borders with Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, China and Myanmar. Land borders are sometimes remote and the travelling can be tough either side, but the actual crossing itself is usually pretty simple. Generally Laos issues 30-day tourist visas at crossings that are open to foreigners, however there are some border crossings which don’t issue visas on arrival and you will need to have a visa already.

Chiang Khong – Huay Xai, Chiang Rai to Bokeo Province.
Nakaxeng – Kaenthao, Loei to Sayabouly Province.
Nong Khai – Vientiane (Friendship Bridge) , Nong Khai -Vientiane Capital.
Bungkan – Pakxan, Nongkhay-Bolikhamxay Province (no visa on arrival).
Nakorn Phanom – Thakhaek, Nakorn Phanom – Khammouane Province.
Mukdahan – Savannakhet, crossing the Mekong River by boat.
Chong Mek – Vang Tao, Ubon Ratchathani to Champasack Province.

Dong Calor – Veun Kham, Cambodia to Champasak Province.

Taichang – Sobhoun, Laichau to Phongsaly Province (no visa on arrival).
Nameo – Banleui, Thanh Hoa to Huaphanh Province.
Namkan – Namkan, Nge An to Xieng Khouang Province.
Keoneua – Nampao (Lak Sao), Ha tinh to Bolikhamxay Province.
Napao – Chalo, Quangbinh to Khammouane Province (no visa on arrival).
Laobao – Dansavanh, Quang tri to Savannakhet Province.
Phoukeua – Vietnam – Attapeu Province

Mohan – Boten , Yunnan to Luang Namtha Province .
Xiangkok riverport on Mekong River in Luang Namtha Province (no visa on arrival).

Foreigners cannot legally cross the Laos / Myanmar border.

It’s possible to bring your own vehicle into Laos from Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, with the right paperwork, and Lao customs don’t object to visitors bringing bicycles into the country.

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