Travel Vientiane

Travel to Vientiane From China

In 2022, travel to Vientiane from China by high-speed rail (HSR) bullet train service named Lane Xang started. Travel from the Chinese city of Kunming to Vientiane on the China Laos railway at speeds of up to 160km/hr is now in service.

The ticket price of train travel from Kunming to Vientiane is about CNY 250. Travel time is about 22 hours by train to Vientiane. Laos.

To cope with travel demand, a conventional train also travels from China to Vientiane on the Laos China railway at slower speeds. This option is cheaper and better if you'd like to see more of the fabulous Lao countryside.

See below for plenty of flight travel options from China to Vientiane's Watte International airport. I should know because the sky above my home near Vientiane was always full of jet planes day and night.

Lane Xang Laos-China railway.


Travelling to Vientiane via Nong Khai, Thailand

Travel to Vientiane from Thailand is via the Mekong river port Thai city of Nong Khai. Travel there from Bangkok by train or fly to the big Isaan city of Udon Thani and catch a one hour Udon Thani shuttle bus to Nong Khai before crossing the Australian funded and built Friendship Bridge.

Many overland travellers to Vientiane catch big comfortable air-conditioned coaches or the train from Bangkok. A stopover stay in hotel accommodation near the Friendship Bridge in the city of Nong Khai overnight is recommended, before and after crossing the Thai Lao Friendship Bridge. The bridge was funded by Australia and built by Australian companies. Some expats from as far away as Chiang Mai fly to Vientiane via Luang Prabang or park their car in secure parking at nearby Nong Khai before their "Thailand to Vientiane visa run".  Signage near the Thai side of the border names the bridge as the "Thai Lao Friendship Bridge" whereas signage on the Lao side near the bridge names the bridge as the "Lao Thai Friendship Bridge". The nearest town to Vientiane is our home town of "Si ChiangMai", 400 metres directly south across the Mekong River from Vientiane, in the Thai border province of Nong Khai.  I've had many romantic sunset dinners at restaurants on the bank of the Mekong River at Si Chiang Mai, listening to Lao music drift across the Mekong and watching long tail boats, cargo boats and the Vientiane dinner cruise boat ply the mighty Mekong. 

E-Visa Vientiane Lao

Getting a 30 day e-visas for entry to Laos will be available in June 2019. Tourist/visitor visiting Laos on multi-entry visas or planning to stay longer than 30 days should apply for a Lao entry visa at Lao embassies or consulates abroad. 

Visa Run Thailand to Vientiane

Many tourists and expats in Thailand from as far away as Chiang Mai fly to Vientiane via Udon Thani or park their car in secure parking at the Thai town near Vientiane of "Nong Khai" to start their "Thailand to Vientiane visa run". The nearest Thai town to Vientiane is Sri ChiangMai, 400 metres directly south across the Mekong River in the Thai province of Nong Khai. About 4 kilometres west of Wattay airport at Praphutthabat is a small Thai border crossing checkpoint for ASEAN citizens ONLY. 

Youtube video of this small Sri Chiang Mai, Mekong River Port near where the proposed high speed train is to cross over the Mekong from China/Lao to  Bangkok, Thailand and on to Singapore.

Photo By Ben Grummels of cheap 20 baht (66 cents) bus fare Friendship Bridge Crossing Bus embarking Nong Khai Thailand and then over the Australian built Friendship Bridge across the Mekong River to Vien Tiane. 

How to Get a Visa at Thai Consulate in Vientiane. Prepare your Thai visa application documentation:


Travel to Vientiane by plane from Bangkok one way direct flight price is about $200.  Alternatively, travel by plane to Udon Thani, then an hour's minibus road travel to the Mekong River port city of Nong Khai. Recommend you stay in Nong Khai for the night and explore the "Indo China Market". The next day cross the Australian funded/built Friendship bridge by cheap bus to Vientiane. The price of flights from Bankok to Udon Thani is about US$70

The most popular visa run method by bus is outlined below with bullet point step by step method.  If you only want a two-week visa for Thailand, simply cross the Friendship Bridge over the Mekong from Nong Khai. Get your passport stamped in Laos. Turn around, go back over the bridge and get your 14 day Thai visa on arrival on the Nong Khai, Thailand side of the Mekong River.


Pay Lao "visa on arrival" fee of 1300 bhat ($43) to Lao immigration:

Visa At the Kingdom of Thailand Consulate Vientiane

Flights to Vientiane from Bangkok, KL, Luang Brabang, Hanoi or Ho Chi Min City etc are common as shown at the bottom of this page. Tourist visa upon arrival at Wattay Airport costs about $40. Prices vary according to nationality. The first time, I caught a flight from KL to Vientiane's Wattay International Airport near the centre of Vientiane with AirAsia for an air fare of about $50

Zoom into Vientiane Laos on the Map of Vientiane  or  BIG map of Thailand to see the location of the Friendship Bridge and where in Vientiane to get Thai visas.

The photo at the top of this webpage shows the author's  Isaan wife boarding a Mekong River cruise boat under the Thai Lao Friendship Bridge in Nong Khai. On this special Songkran festival day, the boat cruised in and out of Lao without border controls by either Thailand or Laos. At this stage travel to Lao from Nong Khai is not an option.  Isaan is the language and culture of Nong Khai and Vientiane.

A DECLARATION of more than 750,000 baht is required if travelling into Thailand. Crossing the border could be punishable by death.


If you're driving to Vientiane by car, don't let the road signs spelling of Vien Tiane put you off. Locally it's pronounced "vien chun". (VienChun)

Toll fees for crossing the Friendship Bridge from Nong Khai depend on the size of the vehicle crossing the bridge.


Below is a list of airline companies operating at Wattay International airport, Vientiane:


Travel to Vientiane from the city of Kunmin China will be available in 2021 when the high-speed train starts operation.  Laos is investing US$720 million to fund its share of the the railway.  US$470 million has been borrowed from the Export Import Bank of China. Eventually train travellers will be able to continue their train journey over the Mekong River near Nong Khai and on to Singapore via Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.


 From Chang Rai in northern Thailand, travel overland to the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge Number 4. Head north to the Lao town of Huay Xai, Slow Boat Pier to board a luxury Upper Mekong River cruise boat to Vientiane.  See the Google Map of Chang Rai, the Mekong bridge near Huay Xai and Slow Boat Pier.

Before you cruise down the Mekong River from Huay Xai, book your passage on the Upper Mekong River Cruise boat.

Luxury cruise down the Mekong River to Vientiane.