Getting There in Laos

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speedboats, Mekong River

speedboats, Mekong River

Cindy Nowicki

There are many ways to get to Laos but almost all tourists go by train to the border and then take a bus into Laos. This is by far the easiest way even though it can be quite crowded and some waiting times before you get through customs.

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January 06, 2005 new by blink

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By road

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It is possible to enter Laos from Thailand at Nong Khai over the Friendship Bridge. Other border crossings include Chiang Kong (Thailand) – Houei Xay (Laos) in the north Mukdahan (Thailand) – Savannakhet (Laos) and Chong Mek (between Pakse and Ubon Ratchathani). It is possible to enter Laos by road from Vietnam either at Lao Bao or at the new border post of Lak Xao near Vinh. Laos can also be entered from China. Overland travel to/from Cambodia is conducted by river only, from Stung Streng, via the border town of Veunkham.  It's a bit tricky, and you can easily pay more..

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By River from Cambodia

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It is possible to cross from Stung Treng (Northern Cambodia) to Voen Kham (Southern Laos) (and vice versa). You will already need your Laos (or Cambodian) visa as these are not available at these border crossings. However, check this is still the case. As of June 2006 both Laos and Cambodian tourist visas were being issued on the border.

During the dry season this trip is only possible from Stung Treng (if coming from Cambodia) due to low river levels, however during the wet boats can be taken from as far down river as Phnomn Penh.

It costs US$25 more..

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By river

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speedboats, Mekong River
speedboats, Mekong River
photo by: Cindy Nowicki

To enter Laos via this border crossing, you take a ferry from Chiang Khong (20 baht, or U.S. 50 cents). First, in Chiang Khong, you must go to the customs window, which is right by the ferry, and get your departure stamp from Thailand. This is free. The ferries leave frequently throughout the day, basically whenever someone needs one. It is by longboat with a motor attached.  On the Laos side, you can get your Laos visa (up to 15 days--30 days visas take longer and cost more) on the spot for about U.S. $30 and a stamp saying when you more..

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By train

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There are no railways in Laos but the Thai system stretches from Bangkok via Nakhon Ratchasima to Nong Khai...
Laos will be connected to the outside world for the first time by rail in march 2009
See:
http://www.thailandqa.com/forum/showthread.php?t=27318

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By air

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The national airline of Laos is Lao Aviation (QV) which serves the international routes from Vientiane to Hanoi (Vietnam) Bangkok Phnom Penh (Cambodia) Chiang Mai (Thailand) Kunming (China) and Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam). Thai International flies from Bangkok Vietnam Airlines flies from Hanoi and Royal Air Cambodge flies from Phnom Penh.

A new air route into Vientiane from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) has been established by Air Asia (AK) with 4 weekly flights into Vientiane from the Malaysian Capital's LCC Terminal at KL International Airport.

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