Getting Around - Internal Travel
In the north, domestic air services operate from Vientiane to Houayxai, Luang
Nmatha, Luang Prabang, Oudomxai, Sam Neua and Sayabouti
and in the south from Vientiane to Pakse and Savanakhet. Private charter flights also
operate through Westcoast Helicopters.
The Mekong and other rivers are an essential part of the
country’s transportation system. The choice is between erratic
(and very simple) slow ferries and fun but noisy and dangerous speedboats.
Both services operate from Vientiane to Luang Prabang and from Luang Prabang to Huay Xai.
Ferries frequently depart early every morning and sometimes take
several days, while speedboats operate more often and take
about 8 hours for each leg of a journey. Times and fares change
according to request. Private jet boats are available from Lao
River Exploration Services. Contact
Lao National Tourism Authority for more information (see Contact
Traffic travels on the right. Most of the roads are paved, including
the main highway from the Thai border at Savannakhet to the
Vietnamese border; however, only some main roads are safe
for all-weather driving.
There is a road in the north that links Vientiane to Luang Prabang, Nam Dong and Tran Ninh.
Services connect all main towns and cities. Buses range from the
more traditional type to the converted pick-up truck.
To rent cars in Laos is not advisable since driving standards are
low. However, it is possible to rent a car and a driver through
tourist agencies or hotels. In Vientiane, Asia
Vehicle Rental Co Ltd can assist customers with
all the rental needs. For more details, contact them on (21) 217-493 or 223-867; fax: (21)
217-493; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Driving Licence is recommended; however, it is not required by law.
There are some old and a few metered taxis in Vientiane that might
be available at the Morning market, the Friendship Bridge and Wattay Airport
and they can also be hired for about
US$20 per day.
Tuk-tuks or jumbos (the converted motorcycles)
are plentiful in all main towns and cities and are excellent for
shorter journeys around the area. Bargaining is acceptable and expected.
In Vientiane and
Luang Prabang, there are bicycles and motorcycles to be hired by the day.
Travel to areas outside Vientiane should be prearranged with a tour