"There is no best way to get..." Laos Transportation Tip by sexy_sensei
Laos Transportation: 146 reviews and 157 photos
There is no best way to get into Laos....but there are a few choices depending on what you are up for. By plane, Viangchan can be reached from Bangkok (everyday), Hanoi (???), Ho Chi Minh City (???), and Phnom Penh (???)....but these (???) departure cities tend to change their schedules and 'Yes/No' policies daily. Best to check before and, most importantly, find out what airline is flying in and out. I suggest flying to Udon Thani (northeastern Thailand's closest airport to Laos) and then busing it to Nong Khai (border town with Laos). You can pick up a visa at the border (at the Immigration Office -- not the best), through a travel company (in either Udon Thani or Nong Khai) or from some guesthouses in Nong Khai (your best choice!!). Traveling by bus is my preference.....but beware of the 'drop-off' point in Nong Khai...sometimes the driver(s) just stop wherever they please -- leaving you lost and in a hurry for the border.
Getting around Laos is pretty much 'air-or-nothing' at the moment and, probably, for many years to come. It is an incredibly mountainous and lush country and, aside from foot paths, roads are few and definitely far between. Traveling by plane may be a little 'thrilling' (a nice way to put terrifying.....because you do survive) but provides service to just about every corner of the country within a few hours. Taking the bus is a nightmare and often 'not-allowed' (the bus is often hijacked and has been advised against by several embassies, etc...) -- it simply takes too long, is too painful, and, with a short visa, is not a wise choice. Stick to the plane -- if you want to see the country -- or taxi -- if you want to simply scope out Viangchan (Vientiane). The ferry is an option (for the brave of heart and those with oodles of time) but it is not reliable and often simply 'not going anywhere'.
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