Luang Prabang Transportation Tips by thedouglas Top 5 Page for this destination
Luang Prabang Transportation: 75 reviews and 93 photos
Complete with Beerlao!
After our last holiday, and taking a 2 day boat from Luang Prabang back to Huay Xai, and having more than a few mishaps, we were rapt to find this fairly new service.
A package arrangement with River Hill Hotel in Chiang Saen includes Laos visa, overnight accommodation and breakfast prior to the trip, transfer the 40km or so to Chiang Khong to catch the boat, transfer across the border, and onto the boat at Huay Xai. A very large packed lunch was also available from the hotel for 150Baht. There was also a bar on the boat, selling Beerlao, soft drinks and other snacks.
The one day trip was very easy - and smoothly run - until a passenger fell in the water! This caused some delay, whilst he was "retrieved" safely into the boat. The result of this was travelling in the pitch darkness for more than 1 hour at the end of the trip! We were very impressed with the navigational skills of the skipper.
First class transport
With the aim of keeping our itinerary flexible, we had no reservations for leaving Luang Prabang during our recent holiday. However, this resulted in a somewhat longer visit, due to limitations in transport. The increased number of tourists and the cessation of the fastboat service meant that the pressure was on airlines, slowboats and buses to get people to and from Luang Prabang.
We took a first class bus to Vientiane - which took a day's wait to get a booking. This bus cost about $1.50 more than the ordinary air conditioned bus, and included lunch.
The trip was very mountainous, slow and arduous and the airconditioning hardly rated, at least on the top - nor did lunch. So, message is, don't delay a day, and pay the big bucks! for the first class bus! Be aware if you are tall, that a front or aisle seat is highly desirable. The seating is allocated when you buy tickets.
Another small mentionable, was on the first stop into the trip, we noticed a plain clothed man with an AK47 amonst the passengers. There were soldiers placed periodically along the road as well. Apparently, there had been some shootings aimed at tourist buses over the past few months. We had no problems, nor felt threatened during our trip.
AS OF FEBRUARY, THIS MODE OF TRANSPORT TO AND AWAY FROM LUANG PRABAND HAS BEEN CANCELLED. This has caused a large amount of congestion in other services, and planes were booked out for several days.
We did not use this method of transport to or from Luang Prabang! We flew in from Bangkok - and decided to leave by slow boat - which I will address in another loooong post! The fast boats are absolutely deafening to those around, and can be hear coming from a long way off - and then as they depart. I can only imagine what it must be like for the passengers - none of whom looked enthralled.
I also can't imagine that they actually see anything. Every time I saw riverkill in the water, I just imagined the whole spectacle and smellacle of hitting one in one of the fast boats! We subsequently saw debri from these boats in the water, and wrecked ones in villages we entered - enough to convince us that the stories of weekly crashes are true.
Tiny little airport
Lao Airlinesis the national carrier and monopolises most flights into Laos. We flew with Bangkok Airways, and had our usual great flight with them. The airport is very small, but was remarkably efficient when we landed. We had our visas already stuck in our passports, having purchased them in Oz, and we were processed through very quickly.
Exiting the terminal (barely big enough to call it this!), we were ushered to a waiting jumbo, and taken into town in this airy transport.
If you take the slowboat, its 2 days full travel to either Vientiane or Huay Xai - and, while the scenery is beautiful, you really can't amuse yourself gawking at this all day. So, take a book. We didn't, although I caught up on my trip diary entries, I would have preferred a good book to absorb myself in.
Also, make sure you take FOOD - our boat sold drinks, but no food available, and there were no stops on our day 1 trip!
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