Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang

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Overview Compare Minivan Train To Stay

How to get from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang

Located north of Vientiane on the Nam Song River in Laos is Vang Vieng. It is set in the midst of towering cliffs and lush paddy fields. A hub for thrill-seekers and adventure junkies, Vang Vieng has a lot to offer: from rock climbing and hiking to tubing (the most popular activity!) and swimming in the famous Blue Lagoon.

Luang Prabang lies at the confluence of Mekong and Nam Khan rivers. The quaint town in north-central Laos is inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List for its well-preserved architectural and cultural heritage. Here you will find 33 majestic Buddhist temples, vibrant night markets, French-influenced architecture, Indochinese villas, and exquisite food.

2 ways to get from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang

Transport modeDurationCostsAvailability
Minivan5 hours$15Check Minivan Tickets
Train1.5-2 hours$11Check Train Tickets

There are 2 ways to travel the 183 km from Vientiane to Vang Vieng: a 5-hour minivan for $15 or a 1.5 to 2-hour train (including transfers) for $11.

The only direct way to travel from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang is by minivan. Travel times vary depending on the bus company but the journey normally takes between 5-6 hours and costs $15.

The train can get you to Luang Prabang much faster, about 1.5-2 hours. While online booking is possible, tickets are cheaper at around $7 if you buy them at the station. The train stations are also outside the city centres, which means additional travel time and costs.

Itinerary from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang

Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang travel route on map
Bus icon

Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang by Minivan

Duration: 5 hours
Cost: $15
Duration: 5 hours
Cost: $15

Since Luang Prabang is not far from the picturesque town of Vang Vieng, most companies operate this route with minivans.

The route from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang has a lot of winding roads. If you’re prone to motion sickness, make sure you take an anti-sickness tablet before the trip. Also, keep in mind that landslides are common during the rainy season.

Despite the potential motion sickness caused by twisting roads, the route has amazing views of rural life. You get a glimpse of how the locals thrive on having a simple lifestyle.

To serve as your guide in planning your trip from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang, we’ve provided you with an overview of the trips operated along this route:

Minivan schedules from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang

Bus companyScheduleCosts
Naluang08:30-13:30
09:00-14:00
10:00-15:00
14:00-19:00
15:00-20:00
$15
Check Minivan Tickets
Naga Travel*09:30-15:00
13:30-19:00
$20
Check Minivan Tickets
Laos Group Tour*
+ free pick-up
09:00-14:00
12:00-17:00
15:15-20:15
$16
Check Minivan Tickets
Thavisouk*
+ free pick-up
09:00-15:00$18
Check Minivan Tickets
*COVID-19 UPDATE: The last time we checked (October 2022), Naga Travel, Laos Group Tour, and Thavisouk minivans were unavailable. Please check the provided links to see if anything has changed.

Naluang

  • Departs from the Vang Vieng North Bus Station, north of the city centre
  • Arrives at the Southern Bus Terminal, a little south of the city centre

Naluang provides multiple trips from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang. However, they’re not known for having the best customer service.

Naga Travel

  • Departs from Malany Hotel, Vang Vieng city centre
  • Arrives at the Southern Bus Terminal, a little south of the city centre

Naga Travel is more expensive but in return, you also get a higher level of comfort.

Laos Group Tour

  • Departs from Chillao Youth Hostel in the city centre
  • Arrives at the La Poste Post Office in Luang Prabang, within the city centre

Laos Group Tour is relatively new. However, they seem to be doing well when it comes to being a good transport company.

Thavisouk

  • Departs from any hotel within Vang Vieng city centre
  • Arrives at the Southern Bus Terminal in Luang Prabang, north of the city centre

Not much has been said about this company but they do provide good service for the Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang route.

Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang by Train

Duration: 1.5-2 hours
Cost: $11
Duration: 1.5-2 hours
Cost: $11

A faster way to travel from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang is by train. While travel time is as short as 1.5 hours, travelling by train on this route also has disadvantages.

The train stations are outside the city centres and you can purchase your tickets only at the station during specific hours.

Step 1: Vang Vieng city centre to Vang Vieng Railway Station by Tuk-Tuk

Duration: 10 minutes
Cost: $2
Duration: 10 minutes
Cost: $2

The railway station in Vang Vieng is about 4kms away from the town centre. Tuk-tuks are located all over town to get you around.

A tuk-tuk ride to the train station would cost about $2 per person and take 10 minutes.

Step 2: Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang by Train

Duration: 1-1.5 hours
Cost: $7
Duration: 1-1.5 hours
Cost: $7

The trains on this route are high-speed trains of the new Laos-China railway. Expect a scenic ride for 1-1.5 hours from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang.

Note that tickets are available only at the stations’ ticket offices. See here the opening hours of the ticket office in Vang Vieng:

  • Morning: 07:30-09:30
  • Afternoon: 14:00-19:20

Chances are high that tickets are already sold out if you’re buying them only on the day of your trip. Otherwise, you’ll still need to line up for tickets, which may take up to 1-2 hours.

A second-class ticket costs $7 if you buy it at the station. Meanwhile, a taxi + train transfer costs $15 on 12GoAsia. Note that locals often line up to buy tickets at the station and resell them for a higher price through hotels and travel agencies.

Train schedule from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang

TrainScheduleCosts
C8208:25-09:23$7
Check Train Tickets
K1209:20-10:43$7
Check Train Tickets
C8416:11-17:10$7
Check Train Tickets

Given the queue at the ticket office and the security checks, we suggest arriving at the train station early. Note that they do not allow passengers inside the station until an hour before the trip, so you might have to wait outside under the sun.

Step 3: Luang Prabang Railway Station to Luang Prabang city centre by Minivan

Duration: 20 minutes
Cost: $2
Duration: 20 minutes
Cost: $2

Similar to the railway station in Vang Vieng, the railway station in Luang Prabang is outside the city centre, about 12 km away.

Minivans are available outside the train station to take you to the city centre. A 20-minute ride costs $2 per person.

 

Our favourite places to stay in Luang Prabang

Oudomphong Guesthouse

Located just 600 meters from the amazing Night Market, this guesthouse is in the perfect spot. On-site you will find an ATM, guest terrace, shared lounge, and tour desk. Within walking distance are countless sights, restaurants, bars, and amenities. All rooms are fitted with a flat-screen TV, air-conditioning and a desk. The rooms are spacious and the beds are comfortable. A delicious breakfast is included with your stay. 

  • Great location
  • Walking distance to many sights
  • Breakfast included
  • Clean and comfortable rooms

Private rooms start at $20 per night 

Read more

Manichan Guesthouse

The Manichan Guesthouse is the perfect location, just a 5-minute walk from the Night Market, National Museum and plenty of other sights. The rooms are spacious, comfortable and clean and come with your choice of fan or air conditioning. A delicious breakfast is included daily with your stay and there is a restaurant on location for your convenience.  

  • Ideal location
  • Walking distance to many sights
  • Breakfast included
  • Restaurant on-site

Private rooms start at $25 per night

Read more

Villa Boua Thong Hotel

Enjoy the luxury of this hotel, centrally located in Luang Prabang.  This hotel provides a bar, shared lounge, garden area, and room service. You have a choice of a la carte or continental breakfasty with your stay. There is a currency exchange on location for your convenience and a shared kitchen for the guests to utilize. Within walking distance to many sights.  

  • Great location
  • Bar and lounge on-site
  • Breakfast included
  • Walking distance to sights

Private rooms start at $36 per night 

Read more

 

More routes to Luang Prabang

Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang

Pakse to Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang Airport

Vientiane to Luang Prabang

More routes from Vang Vieng

Vang Vieng to Pakse

Vang Vieng to Vientiane

Pakse Airport

Luang Prabang Airport

Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng

Luang Prabang to Vientiane

Vientiane Airport

Vientiane to Luang Prabang

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About the author(s)

Founder

Based in Bali, Maarten’s passion for travel is undeniable. In 2016, he decided to quit his job as a stock analyst and started doing what he always dreamed of: travelling through South East Asia and helping other people plan their trips. When he is not working on Gecko Routes, you’ll find him surfing in the ocean or exploring the best gems of Indonesia.

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Ela is a storyteller, content producer, solo traveller and a mermaid-in-training. When she’s not in front of her laptop, you will find her barefoot and living her best tan on some island in the Philippines… Or exploring the depths of its seas as a budding freediver. An island girl at heart, she’ll be happy anywhere there is sea, sand, sun and coffee.

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