Guide to: How to travel to Laos from Thailand?

Traveling between Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos is pretty common among seasoned travelers. But for those who’ve just the beginners of of this new long journey, preparation is necessary. And one important part of the preparation phase is consider: how to travel between these countries? If you get to Thailand first, the more detail question is: ‘how to travel from Thailand to Laos?’. So here we are, guide to: How to travel to Laos from Thailand?

But before we go into the details, let’s take a short look at how Laos Visa works? Or Laos Visa on arrival in particular.

Visa on Arrival Laos

Just like in our ‘guide to: how to obtain Visa to Laos?’, mostly we come to Laos with Visa on arrival. Thanksfully, getting Visa to Laos is quite easy. Places to get Visa on arrival are: international border crossings, Luang Prabang and Vientiane’s International Airports, and Friendship Bridge between Vientiane, Laos and Nong Khai, Thailand.

Visa on arrival to Laos has validity within 30 days, other countries can have different allowed times. To get the Visa, people have to pay fee. However with countries on Visa exemption list, Visa won’t be necessary (so if you have Thailand passport then… hurray!).

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The Visa on arrival process is pretty quick so there is not much to worry about. But for more details on Visa on arrival to Laos, take a look at Guide to: How to Obtain Visa to Laos?

With that done, let’s get on with our main topic!

Travel via Air

It is quite curious that there are two ways to travel to Laos from Thailand with airplanes. The first way is conventional way: from Bangkok International Airport to Vientiene, Luang Prabang, or Pakse. As always, the air trip is convenient, fast, and pleasant in exchange for the high price around 205 $USD.

travel to laos from thailand

This price can be unnerving. But if you still want to take flight to Laos from Thailand then we still have a second way: Flying from Bangkok to Udon Thani, then cross the Friendship Bridge. There are many flights from Bangkok to Udon Thani. You can book one-ticket with the total cost of 35 $USD, including taxes and luggage. As you arrive at Udon Thani Airport, you can take a bus to Vientiene with about 3 $USD. Vientiene is approximately 17 kilometers away from Friendship Bridge, so it only takes 40-minute bus ride.

Travel via Train

With the international railway from Bangkok to Vientiene opened since 2009, it has become more convenient to travel to Laos from Thailand via train.

The over-night train ride will take you about 12 hours, start from 8:30 PM to the next morning. From Hualamphong Railway Station, we will stop at Nong Khai Train Station in the next morning. From here, we just need to travel via shuttle train to Thanaleng Train Station in Laos for 15 minutes. Finally, we catch a van to Vientiene which takes about 30 minutes.

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For those who wonders about train classes, here we have: 1st Class Sleeper (38 $USD), 2nd Class Sleeper with air-conditioner (23$ USD), 2nd Class Sleeper with fan (16$ USD). You can choose from upper bed or lower bed (though the price will differ). Of course there are common class with seats only, however, it is mostly recommended to book 1st or 2nd class. The entire trip from Nong Khai Train Station to Vientiene is cheap in total of 5 $USD (including van and shuttle train).

The train trip is quite pleasant. The train car is quite clean and nicely arranged, also each bed has curtain to ensure tourists’ privacy. The trail is not rough so you can have a decent sleep at night.

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Shuttle Train

Travel via Bus

There are many border crossings between Thailand and Laos, however, mostly people choose to go via Friendship Bridge to Vientiene. That said, you can go to Laos via other locations like Chiang Khong (Northern Thailand) or Ubon Ratchanthani. Buses regularly travel between these parts so you can easily catch a bus to Laos.

The price range is often between 2 to 3 $USD. Depend on the weathers, the road can be rough or smooth but overall, your bus trip will not be that rough like in Laos.

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Friendship Bridge Thailand – Laos

* One note: Some visitors reported that sometimes there’s tuk-tuk scamming, which involves in claming that they can give you a fake visa for about 80 $USD. Though not sure how accurate or how things turn out recently.

Travel via Boat

Out of the four options, this one can be the best experience for those who prefer adventurous trip.
The trip starts from Chiang Khong, where travelers go to Laos from Thailand via Mekong River route to Luang Prabang. Commonly the trip will take about 2-3 days, in which people spend to time to visit town and other location like Pak Ou Cave. There are lots of transportation options for tourists, from common boats to luxurious cruises. Average cost for a boat is around 30 – 40 $USD, depends on boat’s quality. On the other hand, luxurious cruises can take quite the money, about 120 – 130 $USD.

While cruises are pretty good, it is not really that recommended to book a cruise ticket. Especially when you want to focus on travel to Laos from Thailand. Or, you just want to have decent boat trip experience, then cruises are not really that necessary. That said, feeling the atmosphere and sights of Mekong River from cruises is a fantastic experience.

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