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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 13, 2023
Headline for Modes to navigate during your vacation in Laos - Some ways to get by in Laos
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Joanna James Joanna James
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Modes to navigate during your vacation in Laos - Some ways to get by in Laos

There are quite a few options for transport in Laos although it can get tedious, and the quality of the road's poor. Take all that as part of the journey, and do not let it spoil you from immersing in this beautiful country.

1

Bicycle

If you're travelling throughout cities such as Luang Prabang, Pakse, and Vientiane, or in Si Phan Don, hiring a bicycle is one of the best options out there. It will save you quite a bit of money too. The cities in Laos are not extensively large one can easily bike from one end to another in about 20 minutes. Hire a cruiser or mountain bike for 24 hours for about ($1.25-USD 6.25). Make sure a lock and headgear are provided. Hotels such as Avani+ Luang Prabang may even have bikes on hire for tourists. Keep hydrated and be on the lookout for errant traffic. There are no bike racks in most cities in Laos, but make sure to lock your bike through the back wheel and frame.

2

Tuk Tuk

Tuk-tuks are a great option when travelling with groups. Typically, more affordable than taxis and widespread in places like Vientiane, Pakse, and Luang Prabang. If travelling to a destination that is out of the way, request your operator to remain for you at the location and pay him once you have returned to the city. The fare should be around USD 6.25 for a journey from the airport or bus station. It will be generally less for journeys around town. Before getting into a tuk-tuk, however, makes sure you have agreed on a fare. Otherwise, some may charge you more once you get to your destination. If you find an agreeable driver that perhaps speaks English, get their details for any future travels.

3

Songthaew or Jumbo

Songthaews, also known as Jumbos are pick-up trucks transformed into an extra-large tuk-tuk. It is a public mode of transport. They travel along a set route at various intervals. If you dare to go ahead with this kind of transport, you'll be compensated with a small fare of around $1.25-USD 2.50. It is probably the best way to go local and engage with the people. But be prepared for anything! You might end up sitting with at least 25 other passengers who are almost sitting on each other! Also, many people with boxes of food, containers of fish and sacks of rice is a common sight.

4

VIP night bus

Going somewhere in Laos by ground transport takes a while. So, take a double-decker VIP night bus. For about USD 18, you won't have to think about places to stay but rather just wake up at the new destination. Many a hotel in Luang Prabang and other cities can organise tickets along with a bus station transfer. Of course, you will have to pay more this way than just getting your ticket at the station. You usually have to wait till the day ahead or the day of the trip to confirm the ticket. This can be worrisome for many, especially throughout the high season which is from November to February. Before getting inside, remove your shoes into a plastic bag. Two people will have to share a twin bunk. The bus is air-conditioned and has a toilet on board. It also provides blankets and pillows.