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An update from Evaneos

Public transport in Laos

Getting around during your trip to Laos is going to be one of many adventures you'll enjoy whilst on your holiday. Here, travelling around is not about distance covered but rather the time it takes. You'll find yourself hopping on buses with no way of knowing at what time you'll arrive at your destination. The state of the roads and vehicles are one reason for this uncertainty. But at the same time, this is part and parcel of life in the country; it only adds to its typical, authentic charm. If things were any different, Laos would not be the special place it is today.

Getting around town

Apart from the capital Vientiane, which is sprawling, you can easily and safely get around by foot in the towns you visit during a trip to Laos.

Another option is by bike. You'll easily be able to rent a bike and, as the traffic isn't hair raising, it would be a shame to miss out on such fun.

And then there are always taxis. Although it's rare to find one with a meter. Taxi rides shouldn't cost much. Stick to your guns and negotiate the fare before getting in.

The cheapest option is to travel by tuk-tuk. And, as with taxis, follow the same rules. Bear in mind that collective tuk-tuks can squeeze in a dozen or so passengers. So take note of the fares paid by other passengers otherwise the ride could cost you between 5 and 10 times more (if you're lucky).

Finally, the transport option that represents the best value for money is the bus network. Unfortunately, buses only run in the capital, Vientiane. Tickets are ridiculously cheap but make sure you know where you going so you don't get on the wrong one.

A lorry in Laos

Between towns

The most popular and economic way to travel between Laos' towns is by bus. Be prepared for a once in a lifetime, authentic experience! Shame for those who insist on travelling in style...a bus trip in Laos is an adventure in itself. 4 or 5 people squeeze into enough room for 2, everyone is laden with equipment, chickens, goats or, indeed, any other farming material you find in the country and you'll bump along roads that are often in really bad condition; only 10% of roads are tarmac. You'll know what time the bus leaves, when it arrives at your destination, however, is another matter.

If you have the time, make sure you take trips along the Nam Ou and Mekong. It's an unforgettable experience and you'll wind your way through Laos' stunning countryside. It's one thing you really should do during your holiday.

If, on the other hand, you're pressed for time, then ask yourself why you came to Laos. But no matter, you're already there and you've always got the option of flying. But bear in mind delays are par for the course and flights are often cancelled.

David Debrincat
459 contributions
Updated 25 August 2015
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