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How to get to Luang Prabang? July 6, 2006

Posted by Guido in flights, travelling.

Now suppose you’re thinking of coming to the wedding, how would you get there? Luang Prabang is a bit out of the way and definitely not a mass tourism destination, but the effort to get there is more than worth it. It’s located in the nothern parts of Laos and you won’t be able to find a direct flight there. You’ll have to get a ticket to Bangkok first. From there you can do several things:

  • Direct air travel to Luang Prabang. Easy enough, and a good choice if you don’t have much time before the wedding or if you don’t want to spend too much time travelling. It’s more expensive than ground travel, though. You will also miss seeing the capital Vientiane and other places on the way, but you can still decide to see them on the way back. Bangkok Airways is the only airline I know that flies between Bangkok and Luang Prabang. One way is about $125. Return is double that. I don’t know how fast these flights fill up, but December is a busy month, so don’t wait too long. Their daily timetable is:

    From Bangkok to Luang Prabang:
    – depart 9.50 – arrival 11.50
    – depart 12.40 – arrival 14.40

    From Luang Prabang to Bangkok
    – depart 9.50 – arrival 11.50
    – depart 12.40 – arrival 14.40 (not every day, check their website)

    Keep these times in mind if you are booking your flight to Bangkok and you want a same day connection to Luang Prabang.

  • Ground travel. There is a comfortable night train from Bangkok to Vientiane that leaves every evening and arrives in the morning. We usually do this. The first class cabins for 2 people are about $25 per person. Second class is a bit more communal and beds are only about $15. If you decide to come before/around Christmas, this would be a good choice. You have some time to see Vientiane and other places on the way to Luang Prabang. From Vientiane you can take a bus to Luang Prabang (about 9 hours, $8). Many travellers break the trip in two, stopping in Vang Vieng (3 hours from Vientiane) for a leisurely day or two of exploring caves, floating down the river in an inner tube, or just lounging.
  • Indirect air/ground travel. You can also first fly to Vientiane (Thai Airways: $135 one way, $230 return) and then to Luang Prabang (Lao Aviation: about $60 one way). Of course you can also mix and match ground and air travel. You could for example take the night train from Bangkok to Vientiane and fly from Vientiane to Luang Prabang (total about $85 one way).

It all comes down to how long you want to stay. If you want to stay 2 weeks or longer I’d recommend to take the night train and join us on our mini trip to Vang Vieng. 🙂

Click here for a map of the South East Asia with the places mentioned above.

Luang Prabang
Downtown Luang Prabang



1. Keo - July 14, 2006

You don’t know how many times have I looked at these lovely photographs of Laos. My heart is aching to be there, especially more than ever… today. I’m having a rough day and I know the one place that will help me feel better is Laos. Sanh post up some of your pix. I like to see them.

Laos……… my happy place in the world 🙂

2. Nona - July 18, 2006

Yeah, I guess that’s great Aunt K. But, you will get to see Laos soon, so the all the pictures will become real.

3. Marcel Morel - March 27, 2007

Hi there,

I am planning to go to Luang Prabang with my Thai boyfriend, actually we have tickets from Zurich to Vientiane on 9 of may 2007 but didn’t know there was a train from Bangkok to Vientiane, does it really go to Vientiane or does it finish at Nong Kai and then must hire a taxi to Vientiane ? Then to Luang Prabang I would like to take the bus. Could you please tell me if that train really goes to Vientiane? I know that 10 years ago there were no trains in Laos.

Best Regards , Marcel Morel

4. Guido - March 28, 2007

Hi Marcel, you can read more information about the train from Bangkok to Nong Kai on this page.

5. Ruth - December 15, 2011

Hello there! thank you for tips. I’m planning to go to Luang Prabang on january 2nd, 2012. But still haven’t decided on taking the plane or the train/the bus from Bangkok to Luang Prabang. Do you know where to buy the train or bus ticket in Bangkok? Thank you.

6. Gori - January 8, 2012

Hai Guido!
I’m planning a trip to Luang Prabang with my friends.Btw we r from Kuala Lumpur…should we fly to bangkok n take the night train or we board the the train all the way from Kuala lumpur???it’ll be 6 days trip inclusive of travel time….

Guido - January 9, 2012

Hi Gori,

Taking the train from KL would take to long. You should fly to Bangkok and take a train from there. But that would only bring you to Vientian and not Luang Prabang yet. From Vientiane it is still a long bus ride north to Luang Prabang. The information on this page is quite old by now. There may be better options available now. Perhaps you can now fly directly to Luang Prabang.

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