How to get from Vientiane to Luang Prabang?

Lying in a valley at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers, Luang Prabang is an ideal place in Laos to stroll around, relax and enjoy the stunning river views.

There is so much to see, for example, the morning Alms Giving Ceremony by monks in yellow-wish robes, stunning Kuang Si Falls, and styling Wat Xiengthong and Royal Palace Museum.

After the discovery tour of Laos in Vientiane, you will never want to miss the old town Luang Prabang. To get from Vientiane to Luang Prabang, a flight is available. Also, you can take a bus or minivan for the shuttle transfer between the two popular tourist destinations.

Flight is the Quickest Way to Get from Vientiane to Luang Prabang

If the budget is not of your main concern, a flight from Vientiane to Luang Prabang should be your primary choice. In this way, you can save a lot of time, because less than one hour is needed for the flight between the two destinations. With more time saved, you can explore more of Luang Prabang.

Lao Airlines, Hahn Air System and Lao Skyway are the main airlines operating the flight from Vientiane to Luang Prabang. Flights take off at Wattay International Airport, located 3 km outside of the downtown city, and arrive at Luang Prabang Airport or Oudomxay Airport.

Laos Luang Prabang Airport
Most flights from Vientiane arrive at Luang Prabang Airport (LPQ).

The followings are the detailed information of the flight from between Vientiane and Luang Prabang.

Flight by Hahn Air System

Hahn Air System runs two direct nonstop flights a day, one leaves at 10 am, and the other leaves at 12:00 am. The two flights all take off at Vientiane Airport (VTE) and land at Luang Prabang Airport (LPQ). One-way flight tickets cost $96 dollars, and the flight time is 45 minutes.

Flight by Lao Airlines

Lao Airlines operates four direct nonstop flights in a day, all flying from Vientiane Airport (VTE). Except one flight landing at Oudomxay Airport (ODY), most flights arrive at Luang Prabang Airport (LPQ).

The flight landing at Oudomxay Airport (ODY) takes off at 11:40 am, and the other three direct flights depart at 9:10 am, 11:30 am and 17:00 pm respectively. Flight time takes around 40 to 50 minutes and airfares range between $96 and $98 dollars.

Flight by Lao Skyway

Lao Skyway offers two direct nonstop flights from Vientiane Airport (VTE) to Luang Prabang Airport (LPQ), taking a total of 45 minutes. Flights leave at 11 am and 12 am respectively and prices cost $111 dollars.

Bus is the Cheaper Alternative to Get from Vientiane to Luang Prabang

If you want to save the budget on Laos domestic transport, traveling by bus from Vientiane to Luang Prabang is a good alternative, which is actually the cheapest way.

Furthermore, along the way, you have the opportunity to pass by Vang Vieng, a small town north of Vientiane that is surrounded by impressive limestone mountains and caves, and enjoy the authentic countryside landscapes.

Bus Conditions

The bus condition is of great important since you have a long time to spend on the ride. With a distance of about 340 km, it usually takes you 7 to 11 hours to get to Luang Prabang from Vientiane by bus. Several types of buses are available, covering ordinary seating bus, sleeper bus and minivan.

Bus from Vientiane to Luang Prabang
Get to Luang Prabang from Vientiane by bus.

Ordinary seating buses are not recommended because of the long time journey, usually 11 hours, might cause inconvenience.

Sleeper buses, especially the night sleeper buses, require around 10 hours and allow you to stretch your legs and have a sleep when you head to Luang Prabang.

Minivans are faster, taking about 7 hours. And the journey makes stops for lunch in Vang Vieng, leisurely stretch-your-legs, and toilet.

Bus Price and Fare Booking

On the base of your vehicle type, seat position and the season of the year, the bus tickets from Vientiane to Luang Prabang range from $25 to $33.

You can get the ticket at the Vientiane bus station or book online. Most travelers book in advance e-tickets on Baolau or After the online booking, you will receive your e-ticket by email. When boarding the bus, show it at the ticket counter of the station. Or you can print it in advance.

A lot of bus companies operate the buses between Vientiane and Luang Prabang. The companies including, the King of Bus, Malany, Naga Travel, PST Transit Service, Soutchai Travel are more reliable.

Hire a Car to Do a Self-drive

Or, you can hire a car to drive from Vientiane to Luang Prabang by yourself, especially when you travel on a family tour or a small group tour with friends. The advantages of self-drive are that you are not fixed by the schedule of bus or minivan and are free to stop off where you like.

Laos Vang Vieng
Self-drive allows you to have a stop off at Vang Vieng.

Generally, tourists choose to drive from Vientiane, pass through Vang Vieng, and finally arrive in Luang Prabang.

The whole journey takes about 7 hours. You are advised to drive in the daytime just in case of any risk, so you’d better depart early and arrive before sunset. With this method, you have a higher budget than taking a bus.

River Boat is not Recommended to Get from Vientiane to Luang Prabang

It is said that there is a choice of traveling from Vientiane to Luang Prabang by riverboat as well.

However, you should pay much attention that this journey is not a leisure ride along the Mekong River and its tributaries, instead, it is an insanely fast speedboat trip and takes an average of 11 hours. If you have such a long time budget, taking a bus is more recommended just in case of safety problem.

The slow boat between Vientiane and Luang Prabang mentioned by other several websites should be a cargo or passenger ferry, which takes 4 to 7 days on the river. Therefore, in short, you are not advised to travel from Vientiane to Luang Prabang by riverboat.


For most travelers, getting from Vientiane to Luang Prabang by bus offers the best value for money.

The bus route between the two popular destinations passes through Vang Vieng that is also a deserve-to-go town. If you want to make a stop here, choose a minivan, which allows you to have lunch in Vang Vieng. And during a journey, you are able to get off to stretch your legs, while the schedule of an ordinary seat bus or sleeper bus is quite fixed.

If you are used to driving overseas, taking a self-drive from Vientiane to Luang Prabang is also a pretty good alternative. In this way, you have complete control over your journey in Laos and the ability to stop for lunch or beautiful views.

For travelers who want to save more time, a flight is the best option for traveling from Vientiane to Luang Prabang. With only 40 to 50 minutes, you can transfer between the two sites in the blink of an eye.

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