Vientiane Bus Guide: Destinations, Schedules, Prices, and Tips

THéo COurant

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Vientiane Bus Guide: Destinations, Schedules, Prices, and Tips

Navigating Vientiane’s modest yet strategic capital is a breeze with our comprehensive bus guide. Uncover key destinations, schedules, prices, and essential tips for a seamless journey through Laos and beyond.

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Vientiane bus stations

Although Vientiane may seem like a modest capital with limited infrastructure, it holds a unique geographical position. In fact, it is at the center of an archipelago of countries that it can serve with a fleet of buses. In fact, Vientiane has three bus stations:

Vientiane Southern Bus Station

Vientiane South Terminal is the most recent station. The area designated for passengers is spacious and well-maintained. Prices and timetables are clearly displayed. Buses operate to towns in the southern part of the country as well as to Vietnam and Thailand (Bangkok).

There are several ways to travel to and from the terminal:

  • Taxis (please note that for better rates, especially when heading to the city center, it’s advisable to move away from the main entrance of the station).
  • Tuk-tuk! Negotiation required.
  • Songthaew - very affordable but relatively slow.
  • Public bus - inexpensive but slow.
  • The Local app.

Vientiane Northern Bus Terminal

Vientiane North Terminal is located more than 10 km from the city center. It’s an old station that has undergone some restoration but remains in its original state.
The main destinations served are towns in the north of the country, including Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang. You can also reach the Chinese border.

Minibuses, vans, and buses are available, all having undergone extensive use.

There are three options for traveling to and from the terminal:

  • Tuk-tuk and taxis: be cautious with bargaining!
  • City buses to Talat Sao, which is right next to Khua Din station.
  • Via the Local app.

Khua Din Bus Station

[The Kua Din bus station (https://goo.gl/maps/o7CGGFbuj6utuSnm7) is located in the city centre. It’s not a large station but it has the advantage of being in a very busy shopping area with the Khua Din Market (https://goo.gl/maps/hukUk6MtEfsgwGcy5) and the Talat Sao Morning Market (https://goo.gl/maps/R7Qw9NnfyMGejpuy9). It is also Vientiane’s public bus station.

From the station, you can travel to

  • to the centre of the country,
  • to the Friendship Bridge to go to Nong-Khai (Thailand),
  • direct departures to Udon Thani (Thailand),
  • Buddha Park.

Buying a bus ticket in Vientiane

Finding agencies offering bus tickets is easy, but finding an honest one that won’t charge a minimum 20% mark-up can be challenging. To avoid this, it’s simple to go directly to the bus station from the city centre and purchase tickets there, although it’s crucial to ensure you are heading to the correct station!

If, for the sake of convenience, you opt to utilize an agency, ensure that your ticket comes with a designated seat number. In the absence of one, do not hesitate to request it.
Agencies often sell tickets even when the bus, including VIP buses, is fully occupied. Consequently, the unlucky passenger might end up on a stool, enduring hours of discomfort while having paid for a supposed VIP seat.

For long-distance bus journeys within Laos, it’s crucial to keep in mind that the road network is in poor condition. Consequently, trips are frequently lengthy.

National buses from Vientiane

Here are the most popular bus routes.

Bus Vientiane - Luang Prabang

Bus Vientiane - Vang Vieng

Bus Vientiane - Pakse

Bus Vientiane - Savannakhet

International buses to/from Vientiane

Laos shares borders with Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, and China. From Vientiane, it’s relatively easy to find a bus serving one of these countries—except for Myanmar, where foreigners are not permitted to pass through the limited checkpoints. Additionally, Vientiane is strategically situated halfway between the northern and southern regions of Laos.

There are numerous bus companies to choose from, each offering services with significant variations. At times, opting for a straightforward local bus might be preferable to an overcrowded VIP bus. Therefore, gathering as much information as possible becomes crucial in making an informed decision.

Bus Vientiane - Bangkok (Thaïlande)

Bus Vientiane - Chiang Mai (Thailand)

Bus Vientiane - Chiang Rai (Thailand)

Bus Vientiane - Udon Thani (Thailand)

Bus Vientiane - Ho Chi Ming (Vietnam)

Bus Vientiane - Phnom Penh (Cambodia)

For more information The Guide, How do I get to Bangkok?