Laos, also known as “Land of a Million Elephants” is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, having border with Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and China. Nowadays it is much more easier to explore this land with the new opening Laos-China railway, which helps to connect the most important cities in Laos and China. Travel Sense Asia will give you detailed information about getting around Laos by train.
Overview about Laos Express Train
The new operating railway network in Laos is managed by Laos-China Railway (LCR), a joint venture company participated by Laos and China governments. It is the first express train in Laos, linking the capital Vientiane with Boten, a town on the border with Yunnan, China. Thank to it now travellers get around Laos by trains easily. The new railway network helps to connect major cities include Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang, Muang Xay and Luang Namtha.
There is two types of train services: High-speed train and Ordinary train.
The hight-speed train can run at a maximum speed of 160 km/h. C81/82 will stop at all the stations and C83/84 stops at the major stations. Passengers can choose between First Class and Second Class.
The ordinary train runs at a maximum speed of 120 km/h. K11/12 stops at all the stations and it offers only Standard Class.
Train stations and timetable
To get around Laos by train travellers should have an idea about train stations and timetable. Trains depart daily from Vientiane Railway Station bound to Boten Railway Station. The major cities served by the line include Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang, Muang Xay and Luang Namtha.
Route Vientiane – Boten
Route Boten – Vientiane
Ticket price and how to buy
Getting around Laos by train is absolute cheaper and time saving than by car or by flight. Ticket price range from 48,000 kip (~3$) to 645,000 kip (~37$) depending on route and seat class. The most popular route Vientiane – Luang Prabang costs about 381,000 kip (~$22) in 1st class and 241,000 kip (~$14) in 2nd class.
Online ticket booking is not available yet for Laos-China Railway (LCR). Passengers can purchase the tickets only at the railway station or at a ticket office in Vientiane and Luang Prabang 2-3 days before departure. The full name and the passport number will be printed on the ticket. Before boarding the train, passengers must present their identity card or passport to validate the tickets.
Transport to train station
The train station in Vientiane is 17 km outside the city centre, in Luang Prabang is about 12 km from the old quarter and in Vang Vieng is about 4 km from the town centre. To get to train station you can transfer by tuk tuk or taxi.
Getting around Laos by train is now the most convenient way in compared with flight or car. With flight travellers have only one option Laos Airline. The flight rate is quite high. Transfer by car takes a lot of time the road is quite tough. Getting around Laos by train can help us to save both time and money.