Luang Prabang to Vientiane by bus

Travel Forums Asia Luang Prabang to Vientiane by bus

1. Posted by KJHawkins (Budding Member 8 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Can anyone tell me how it is to travel to Vientiane from LP by VIP Bus. Is it a safe journey and how long does it take?
Are the buses air-conditoned and reliable also.

2. Posted by Marsh (Budding Member 9 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

I did the trip several years ago, so would presume its slightly easier now.
We had an a/c bus, but we broke our trip with a 2 x night stay in Vang Vien, which was an absolute gem of a place then. (one of the best places i have ever stayed in) The trip was about 4 hrs from Vientiane to VV, and then about 9 tortuous hours from VV to Luang Prabang. As usual the buses seem to roar off and cover some distance initially, but then the stops become regular and the passenger numbers and livestock increase hourly!!!
We saw a couple of guys on the ridge with long rifles, not sure if they were bandits or security!!
I found Laos an extremely safe country for a tourist, but that may have changed.

3. Posted by OlliOreo (Budding Member 9 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!


I took the bus from Vientiane to LP a couple of months ago. Like Marsh I found very safe travelling in Laos. That being said We did hear about the bus on that route sometimes got robbed by armed BOYS.... We didn't seen any of it and felt safe all along. Another hazard is the road, its not the best or safest road but i guess thats what you can expect in rural country in s.e. asia... all in all a very beautiful trip... but long... its like 10 hours... dont know if there is any vip bus like the ones you would know from thailand...

4. Posted by KJHawkins (Budding Member 8 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Many Thanks for your replies, I think I will be taking the bus plus some motion sickness tablest and a good long book for the journey!

5. Posted by bex76 (Moderator 3932 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

its a beautiful drive. we did see a couple of guys walking around with AK47s but it's very rare for tourists to be involved in anything along route 13. I felt totally safe in Laos.

6. Posted by gandk (Full Member 100 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

hi there the bus ride is fine no worries just go into a travel agent buy a ticket and get on the bus, the road is very windy but stunning scenary and cool little villages on the way. But the best bit of advice i can give you is do not miss vang vienne this for most people is the highlight of there whole trip. Its half way between LP and Vientiane so spend a few days there if you dont have time make time!!!!!! and go tubing as it rock. we planned on 3 days there and 7 days later we were still there!

have fun

7. Posted by KJHawkins (Budding Member 8 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Thank you so much for all replies again. It sounds like a wonderful part of the country and it's always great to have feedback from people who've travlled this route.

8. Posted by clarife (Respected Member 294 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!


we were really worried about this trip because of all we'd heard about route 13 - the part between LP & Vang Vieng - but it was a stunning journey. You are literally driving around the edge of mountains and pass rural villages and it is beautiful. You should really think of stoppin in Vang Vieng & trying tubing. its a great backpackers town - really laid back and a great place to just chill out for a couple of days!

This also breaks up the journey!

9. Posted by jokar (Budding Member 27 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!


I just got back from Laos and Vietnam, and took the VIP bus to Luang Prabang from Vientiane. No problems, although do note that once you hit the mountains, its quite windy (though not as bad as from Luang Prabang to Phonsavanh). The scenery is beautiful.

Oh, they turn off the air-con once they hit the mountains, because, well, mountain air is cooler than what the air-con can give you anyways, so open your window! The VIP bus doesn't stop to pick people up, so it's straight all the way.

We had a guy in the bus who carried an AK47, we later learnt that he was the "security guard" in case anything happened. Nonetheless, we arrived in Luang Prabang safely, albeit late because the bus broke down quite a number or times. :)

10. Posted by KJHawkins (Budding Member 8 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Thanks very much for all your advice. I have now taken the bus from LP to Vientiane on Route 13 and can say I had no problems whatsoever. It's windy for the first five hours but despite a few people being sick (locals bizarrely!) I didn't find as bad as expected. I would recommend taking this route at least once as the scenery is beautiful and on the VIP bus they even stop at a road side cafe for a free lunch for all passengers. Regarding safety I found it complete safe and it must be even safer than previously as I didn't see an armed guard on my bus.