How to get to Laos? - The complete guide from local experts

How to get to Laos? - The complete guide from local experts

With its culture, its grandiose landscapes, and its rich historical heritage, Laos attracts a considerable number of foreign travelers each year. However, for visitors from Europe or America, it is not easy to get to the kingdom of a million elephants because there are still no direct flights to this country. How to get to Laos? Follow our guide for more information.

Written by Tieu Bao (Local Expert) Updated on 12-07-2024

1. Getting to Laos by plane

Going to Laos by plane is what most travelers do. However, there are still no direct flights from Europe to Laos. Travelers wishing to visit Laos must fly into one of the three international airports (Luang Prabang, Vientiane, and Pakse), but are required to stopover at one of the airports in neighboring countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, or China.

If you have a stopover in one of these countries, it is best to transit through Thailand before going to Laos, as Thailand has two airports, Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang in Bangkok, which offer fast and direct flights to Laos.

  • From Vietnam, there are flights to Laos from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (Hanoi - Vientiane/Luang Prabang and Ho Chi Minh - Pakse).
  • From Cambodia, it''s easy to book flights from Siem Reap to Pakse or Luang Prabang.

  • Travelers also opt for flights with a stopover in China, in the cities of Kumming, Guangzhou Jinghong, and Nanning. We advise you to check directly on the airlines'' websites.
  • Since 2016, Air Asia, a low-cost airline based in Kuala Lumpur, also offers direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Vientiane.

This is the list of airlines that travelers usually take: Laos Airlines, Cambodia Angkor Air, Vietnam Airlines, Nok Air, Thair Airway, China Eastern Airline, Air Asia... Fares and flight duration vary depending on the dates, the country of departure, and the airline.

2. Getting to Laos by road

Laos shares a border with several neighboring countries: Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and China. Thus, travelers can easily enter Laos through several border crossings through one of these countries. However, they will need a visa on arrival or a visa requested in advance at the Lao embassy.

>>> How to get Laos visa

Laos visa

2.1 Getting to Laos from Vietnam

It is easy to reach Laos from Vietnam through the border posts located in the north of the Vietnamese Highlands region:

  • In the north: 3 border posts: Tay Trang in Dien Bien, Na Meo - Nam Suay in Thanh Hoa and Nam Can in Nghe An and the one at Tay Trang allows entry into Muang Khua, Nam Ou, Muang Ngoi, Nong Khiaw and Luang Prabang. You will have the opportunity to follow an itinerary off the beaten track in the high mountains of these two countries, both part of former Indochina.
  • In the center: From Quang Binh, Hue or Hoi An, you can head to Nam Phao/Cau Treo in Ha Tinh Province, Napao-Chalo in Quang Binh or Lao Bao in Quang Tri Province to enter Laos. You will have the opportunity to discover the beautiful caves of central Laos: Konglor Cave and Tham Khounxe/Xe Bang Fai.
  • From the Kon Tum plateau, you reach southern Laos via Phou Keua or Bo Y. This is a good option to discover Pakse, the region of 4000 islands and the Bolovens plateau of Laos.

Please note that a visa on arrival to Laos is not accepted at the mentioned border crossings. You must apply for a visa in advance at the Lao Embassy before traveling to the country.

2.2 Getting to Laos from Cambodia

Travelers can go from Cambodia to Laos through the only border crossing between both countries: Dom Kralor - Veun Kham. Visa on arrival is accepted.

2.3 Getting to Laos from Thailand

Get to Laos

There are many border crossings from North to South:

  • By Huay Xai (near Chiang Rai): Travelers who like off-the-beaten-path excursions can go from Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai to Laos via Chiang Khong and Huay Xai. You can choose to enter by car/bus via the Friendship Bridge or by boat. By choosing a river trip, which lasts about 2 days, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful landscapes on both sides of the river and the life of the local population.
  • By Nong Khai (near Vientiane): you have to go to Udon Thani and then to Nong Khai where you cross the Friendship Bridge to reach Vientiane, the capital of Laos.
  • Through Nakhon Phanom (central Laos): This border crossing leads to Thakhet, a city in central Laos, from where you continue south or go north to Vientiane, Luang Prabang
  • By the Chong Mek border in the south: accessing Pakse via Ubon Ratchanthani in Thailand is a good option if you want to go to the south of Laos to discover Bolovens, the region of the 4000 islands...

3.  Other information - Means of transport in Laos

Laos offers several transportation options for travelers, including buses for long distances between cities, taxis in major cities, tuk-tuks for short-distance travel within towns and villages, motorcycles which are popular for short-distance travel, and boats to travel on rivers, especially the Mekong.


If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact us for more information.

Laos travel guide

>>> Also read to prepare your trip to Laos:

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<div class=fs18>Mrs Duong Thi LAN</div>Travel Consultant
Mrs Duong Thi LAN
Travel Consultant
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