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Laos to Vietnam overland

Some info on how we did Luang Prabang to Hanoi :)
14 years ago, May 30th 2009 No: 1 Msg: #74443  
N Posts: 39
So basically we had heard lots of bad stories about crossing the northern crossings between the two countries, but since we were on a budget and didnt have all the time in the world we decided to go for it anyway.

The key part is off course the bordercrossing, and I must say it was much easier than expected. The only thing you need to do is get on the right bus. The bus leaves Phonsavan (get there by minibus/bus from Luang Prabang or Vientienne or whatever the day before) bus station at 6 in the morning and cost 136 000 Kip I think. We went to the bus station, and bought tickets there the morning we were going, but most locals just waved down the bus as it went back through the city and payed on the bus...

The bus leaves 4 days a week, find the days by google.

The reason why you want to take this bus is that it goes all the way to Vietnam (Vinh) 😊

You can make the trip with out taking this bus, but expect to pay more than the bus fare for just the moto down from the boarder to nearest town...

The boarder crossing was a bit confusing, but everything worked out well. We had to go the last leg cus some trucks blocked the road for a while, but still it wasnt any problems.

Find the lao boarder office, get your stamps in the passport, continue down the road across a bridge to the vietnam side and get the visa you allready got stamped and pay something silly (2000 VND or whatever leftover lao cash you have) for a health slip you will (probably?) never need.

You might find some customs that wants to check your bags, and then just get back on the bus.

Or wait for customs to go through all the junk other ppl got on the bus and see them fastening a live goat in a sack on the roof of the bus 😊

Hopes this helps someone, it really wasnt as scary as some ppl make it sound.

Feel free to comment if anything is unclear, or if you have some more info on this or other Lao-Vietnam boarders.

BTW: Did Bangkok to Hong Kong over land, and I would reccommend going overland if you got the time, you will see lots of places you would never see from a plane, and you will be much more flexible with dates and places. Reply to this

14 years ago, May 31st 2009 No: 2 Msg: #74461  
Hello Atle 😊

Good information, but would you please put it in a blog, unless it is in response to a forum query. That is what the blog funciton if for. 😉

Reply to this

14 years ago, June 1st 2009 No: 3 Msg: #74617  
i want to do that route this summer. vientiane to hanoi. how long does it take? Reply to this

14 years ago, June 1st 2009 No: 4 Msg: #74619  
N Posts: 39
you will need 1 day to get from vientiane to phonsavan, one day on the bus from phonsavan to vinh, you could keep going to hanoi the same night, or do it the next morning.

@Mell Im not into blogging, just posted this cus it was a stretch that lacked good info when I did my research. Reply to this

14 years ago, June 4th 2009 No: 5 Msg: #74922  
i have just done the Hanoi to Vientiene bus trip!

it took 24 hours door to door, on a seated bus!! as with a lot of tours in Vietnam, you are pretty much treated like cattle, and herded into the back seats so they can fill up the front with the locals, and anyone else they can pick up on the way for cash in hand fares. expect the aisles to get filled with luggage and, in our case, a massage table and big hair salon hair dryer!!!!!

i hated it, but flying is a LOT more expensive, (but in hindsight, perhaps worth it!!!!!!)
also, Laos Visa CAN be bought on this border, for UK and US its $35, varies for other countries, from as low as $30 to $42 for Canada. you also have to give a $ here and there for the processing of it (unavoidable)

hope this helps! Reply to this

13 years ago, December 15th 2009 No: 6 Msg: #96391  
I also crossed one of the Northern borders between Laos and Vietnam at Na Meo. It was great fun and I really enjoyed getting to see these more out-of-the-way places.

We got the bus from Phonsovan to Sam Neaua then spent a couple of nights there. The journey took most of the day but the view from the Sam Nuea bus station as the sun began to set was spectacular.

After chilling out in Sam Neaua for a few days we paid for a car transfer to take us to the border via the caves at Viengxai. We had a guide take us round which we paid for on the spot. This was a great way to break up the journey between Sam Neaua and the border.

At the border we didn't have any problems and managed to cross into Vietnam very easily. On the other side we hitched a ride to Mai Chau where we spent 2 nights. We were lucky to be in the area during the rice harvest.

After our time here we hitched a lift to Hanoi. An awesome trip! Reply to this

13 years ago, March 27th 2010 No: 7 Msg: #107370  
B Posts: 4
I am traveling through Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Veitnam. I have allocated six weeks in total. I feel it will be a little rushed but enough time to soak up what each place has to offer. I want to travel by land, but because of time i might jump on a few flights to speed it up. (only if i need too)
With regards to visas for each country are they purchased at the boarders or do i need to purchase them from an embassy in a major city before arriving at the border?
Are there any discount airlines for south east asia besides Air asia?
Whats the best way to find places to stay in SEA?

Im Traveling through in May/ June i know it is the wet season but really dont mind. If anyone has advice on any topic, please share.

Salute Reply to this

13 years ago, March 27th 2010 No: 8 Msg: #107383  
N Posts: 39
Laos and Cambodia gives 30 day visas at borders, (20-35 USD depending on bribes/what country you are from) Thailand gives 15 days at land borders, 30 days at airport. Vietnam have visa on arrival in airports too I think, but not at all land borders (or maybe they do, it did actually seem like you could get it on arrival over land for a list of countries. Mine (Norway) was not on the list though but other Europeans were, maybe because we are not part of EU?)

Anywho, you really want to check all this with the embassies, as it changes now and then.

6 weeks will leave you a tight schedule, so its all about choosing what is important for you. (And pray you don't get any serious food poisonings or other unforeseen problems that will set you back.) But you should be able to see lots of nice places without rushing too much if you plan wisely.

As for places to stay, you will always find somewhere. No need to book in advance at all. Any guidebook will help you, or you can just pick at random. Reply to this

13 years ago, March 28th 2010 No: 9 Msg: #107413  
For a Vietnamese visa on arrival you need a preapproval letter from a travel agent.

It's just as easy to arrange a visa in advance from the country you are in beforehand: i.e. if you travel to Vietnam from Laos get it from Laos, if you come from Cambodia get it from Cambodia.

Reply to this

13 years ago, May 1st 2010 No: 10 Msg: #109979  
im wanting to travel from laos to vietnam by road but as above heard so many stories about it being terrible!! bumpy roads, cramped and scams of people getting stopped and mugged along the way, so not sure what too do friends of ours are not risking it and just guna get a flight but its the cost thing is it really worth the two day trip by road for cheapness? or just folk out for the flight and be there in an hour saving the hassle

im not sure what to do its the whole cost thing although if it is bad as everyone says do i just get the flight or just put up with the journey and forget the budget?

Reply to this

13 years ago, May 2nd 2010 No: 11 Msg: #110041  
N Posts: 39
Id go for the over land option again. It may be some annoyances, but its one of those experiences that you wont soon forget 😊

Check message #6, that was one of the crossings I ruled out because of bad rumors, but reading that post makes me think different. Maybe the horror stories is a thing of the past?

I would try to take a bus within Laos instead of a minibus though as I assume they will go slower on them winding roads. (A crappy old) Bus from Phonsavan to Vinh was a better experience than the newer minibus from Luang Prabang to Phonsavan...

Roads was paved btw, so just winding, not bumpy as I recall it.
Only scam we had was the minibus driver wanting another 10 000 kip (about 1 usd).
Mugging in Laos? Sounds unlikely too me. Reply to this

13 years ago, June 9th 2010 No: 12 Msg: #112763  
oh nice info mate. Reply to this

12 years ago, June 10th 2011 No: 13 Msg: #138087  

In response to: Msg #74443


Do you know where is the closest border crossing to Vietnam from Bangkok ?

Where to cross to Lao or Cambodia then to Vietnam if I want my overland trip to Vietnam to be the shortest ?

Thanks a lot.
Reply to this

12 years ago, June 12th 2011 No: 14 Msg: #138191  

Probably where Laos is the narrowest. So Murkadan in Thailand to Savannaket in Laos and then through to Hue in Vietnam.

However, you will still have to buy a visa for Laos which is around $25, so I would consider flying. There are budget airlines doing this route. Check out Air Asia. When you work out the cost of the buses and the visas and the time involved, flying may be a better bet.
Reply to this

11 years ago, May 24th 2012 No: 15 Msg: #156681  
will charge 1 day to get from vientiane to phonsavan, one day on the bus from phonsavan to vinh, you could accumulate traveling to hanoi the aforementioned night, or do it the next morning. Reply to this

10 years ago, December 12th 2012 No: 16 Msg: #164217  
N Posts: 5

In response to: Msg #138191

Thanks for the tips, I was looking into this precise route next year. Reply to this

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