How to travel from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng?

Laos is well-known among tourists for its natural beauty. It is special to see the nature hasn’t been touched much by the hand of tourism (like many other developing countries). But due to the same reason, the transportation in Laos can be rough. Traveling from one place to another in Laos is a common question among visitors, especially from Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng. So here we are, Guide to: How to travel from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng!

One thing many people might have noticed is that: there is no direct flight from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng. If you want to go to Vang Vieng via airplane, sadly you will have to fly from Luang Prabang to Vientiane. Then, from Vientiane you have to take a bus to Vang Vieng. This might be a ‘viable option’ for those who wanted to go to Vientiane also. But for the others, this entire process is pricey and takes considerable time.

And so… despite liking it or not, we have to go by bus…

How to get ticket for bus?

From Luang Prabang, it is quite easy to purchase bus tickets since there are many bus services all over the place. In case you don’t want to search for the bus stations by yourself, you can simply ask your hotels instead.

There are 3 types of bus trips from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng: Mini bus, Express bus, and VIP bus. Costs might be varied depend on different sources (generally around 100.000 Kip or more). ‘Sounds good! Seems we have considerable options!’ That’s what we tend to think in the first time, but in reality, things can be just simplified like this: 2 choices – VIP bus or normal bus.

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Frankly speaking, The VIP bus is similar to normal bus. The only differences are: the build-in toilet in VIP bus (which is said to not really function); an included bottle of water and meal ticket at bus stops for each people. AND, VIP bus only takes booked passengers (still, mostly foreign travelers), unlike normal bus in which you will see lots of passengers trying to cramp in… That said, still it is most recommended to take VIP bus to make things easier. For those who would like to experience the locals’ way of moving then welcome to normal bus.

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If you’ve already booked the VIP bus ticket, a tuk-tuk will come to pick you up from your hotel to the bus station. On the other hand, you have to come there by your own if you book normal bus.

With all that information, now let’s start the trail!

How’s the ride?

If you ask other tourists who’ve came to Laos before, probably many will tell you that the ride is ‘tough’, or extremely ‘tough’. So why’s that? Thing is, there are two main problems when traveling from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng on bus:

Firstly, as we mentioned many parts in Laos don’t have decent transportation facilities. The road from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng is full of bumpy sections, twisted paths, and potholes. Though the drivers seem to be pretty skillful in these kinds of road, some of us may still feel anxious and worry about the safety.

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Second, this is the results from the first problem. The bumpy roads often lead to ‘puking’. Due to this reason, some seasoned tourists may advice you to get pills before get going. Sadly, not all people can withstand the puking pressure, especially on normal buses. On VIP buses, things are better since only booked passengers can get in.

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In case of normal buses there is a third problem: cramping. The locals often take normal buses, and they can just try to get in the bus even if it’s full.

‘So… this entire trip from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng is always this bad?’. No, it’s not. As harsh as it may sound, what you can see and experience along the way is simply breathtaking. The spectacular natural beauty of Laos can help you forget all the hardship. After all, it is one of the main attractions of Laos. The only note is that we need to shape our expectation. Laos is a developing country, there is no surprise that the facilities here are limited. By tuning our expectation down a bit with a decent preparation, the trip from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng can be pleasant.

And one more good news: Until now, there has been many services establised to support tourism. As the results, there are good bus services and if you’re lucky, you entire ‘hellish’ ride can be a ‘heavenly’ trip.

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