LAO TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM
Transportation plays an important role in the development of the country’s wealth as well as tourism. Lao Transportation System recently has been improved a lot. This article will give you a general view about Lao Transportation System to have wise choice for the trip.
Travelling by boat in Laos is highly recommended. By boat you can make routes from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang crossing the Mekong River. During the trip, you will enjoy the breathtaking view such as the beauty of the river life, village farms, water buffalo, fishermen and karst mountains shooting out of the water. Sharing the boat with locals is also a great chance to add more flavor of the trip and it’s also entertaining to see the cargo which they transport.
Another special type of boat for people like challenges is speedboat. Up river speeds are typically around 55 kilometers an hour and downriver speeds about 60 kilometers an hour, although in fact they can go significantly faster than this. Sitting just centimeters from the water, you will fly over rapids and zooming past rocks. You are usually provided with a helmet but taking consideration carefully before you make decision. Speedboat is more dangerous, especially when it rains.
Bus is the most common means of Lao Transportation System during your trip in Laos. A very good option to save time and gain in comfort is to use the sleeper bus (bus with beds) traveling at night. Make sure you choose your bus wisely, if possible, avoid local public buses. However, buses in Laos are quite slow. The roads are narrow and they stop very frequently to pick up passengers.
There are some advice for you when travelling by bus:
– Don’t pick seats in the back of the bus.
– Bring a flashlight and tissue wipes for the “bathroom” stops.
– Keep the business card or contact number of the guesthouse/agency which booked your tickets
3. Car and motobike
Hiring a private car is not a saving money way for tourists unless you travel with your family in town or have very specialized needs. In term of motorbike, you can find larger endure-style dirt bikes for hiring a long-term in travel agents. Prices are reasonable, but make sure to carefully check the bike.
4. Songthaew and Jumbo
Songthaew covers pick-up trucks with two rows of wooden benches inside that transport people along set routes. You will easily to catch sight of Songthaew in almost all urban areas and in lots of beach areas. Only people are 16 or more can commute this means. It costs a small budget to getting around from village-to-village. However, this often involves riding in a dark and hunched space with no view.
Meanwhile, local mini-van buses are much more comfortable than songthaews. When it comes to a long journey (3 hours or more), you should choose to commute by VIP tourist bus to enjoy a clearer view and more cushioned seats even though it costs you more money.
We also find the Jumbos which are three-wheeled tuk-tuks, especially in urban areas. It brings customers the cheapest and most convenient way to get around the city.
Although it is expensive in comparison with other transports in Lao Transportation System , plane is usually the best option used by travelers who do not want to waste so much time traveling overland and it is more comfortable way to move. Lao Airlines is highly recommended to travel in or out of Laos. They offer cheap deals on flights and serve customer meals and drinks on-board. Laos has three international airports: Wattay International Airport in Vientiane, Luang Prabang International Airport in Luang Prabang and Pakse International Airport in Pakse.
You’ll need a passport with at least six months of validity remaining to enter Laos.
The vast majority of foreign tourists enter Laos on a tourist visa. This visa can be organised via a Lao embassy or can be organised on arrival. The typical visa is valid for 30 days. Visa extensions are possible.
Useful tips to travel Laos
– There’s no seat reservation on local buses, so get to the station early to book tickets for local buses which go on sale about an hour before the bus leaves. If you book your tickets through a tour agency or your guesthouse, they’ll provide you with a tuk-tuk to the bus station.
– On the local buses, there are aisle seats which fold down from the sides and are incredibly uncomfortable, try to avoid ending up in one by getting to the station early.
– If you don’t book through an agent, you’ll have to make your own way to the bus station. It costs about 10,000 LAK (£0.80) per person if you share a tuk tuk.
Some noticeable drawbacks
– There aren’t many ‘proper’ toilet stops on Laos bus journeys, often you’ll be expected to just go by the side of the road in the bushes.
– The bus can break down, so you might take at least an hour or two later than expected, so make sure you bring something with you to pass the time.
– Bring some travel sickness pills if you get car sick yourself as the roads in Laos are extremely windy.