After we arrived Vientaine (Laos) by flying to Udon Thani and cross the border by land already, our goal of this trip is to get to Luang Prabang by brand new Hi-Speed Railway. This is new experience what every traveller would like to try at once in the life 🙂
This train can reduce the travelling time from the capital of Laos to Luang Prabang to be 2 hours (from 6-7 hours by bus).
First of all, due to The Laos-China Railway (LCR) is just open, the frequency is still less. And, the ticket can be purchased at the counter only. No online purchasing yet (Updated 6th July 2022). So, it has limited ways to get the ticket as follows.
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The train ticket is openned to sell 3 days before travelling date only !!!
- Buy the ticket directly by yourself at the counter (at railway station or ticket booth at Vientiane Center Department Store). For this way, it is very risk to be unable to catch the train on the same day as purchasing date. For example, if you want to board the train from Vientiane, you have to spare one day (minimum) in Vientiane to buy the ticket and catch the train on next day. The ticket counter can accept only cash in Laos Kip (LAK) only. We think this is the best option.
- If you have Laostian Friend, you can ask him/her to purchase the ticket in advance and make the appointment to pick-up the ticket and board the train in same day of ticket pick-up.
- Buy the ticket via reliable website. It is same method like No.2. But it will have service charge. Then, you can make the appointment to get the ticket. For us, we used to use these 2 websites, NongYhokTravel (Send message to admin and tell her your intended schedule. Then, transfer the money to her 1 day before purchasing) and Discover Laos (This is the travel agency. You can use them to buy the ticket by use their website and pay by credit card. Then, make the appointment to pick-up the ticket at their location in each city)
Only paper ticket (printed by ticket counter) is accepted to get in the passenger hall and board the train
Plan you trip carefully. We do hope that if the system is stable. Getting of ticket will be much easier in the future.
If we have the ticket, it means we are ready to get on the train. We have to arrive the train station 1 hour before departure time. The gate is open for boarding 15 minutes before departure time. It has security check at the entrance like general train station in other country.
OH !…..we almost forget. From Vientiane City Center (Bus station at Morning Market), we can use public bus to the train station. The bus number is 168. The schedule is uncertainty. It is departed 2 hours before departure time of each train. It takes 25 minutes from the city to train station. The cost is 15,000 LAK/trip/person (2 USD).
One more thing, think of your stomach. 😛 It has no food shop at train station and on-the train. Just only drink vending machine and snack. You can prepare some sandwichs or light meal before leave the city to avoid hungry on-board.
Everything was on-time, 15 minutes before departure time, the officer has annouced the passenger boarding. This trip, we booked the first class train and we were in carriage no. 1 (the front one) 🙂 The train was arrived on-time.
The seat of first class is arranged as 2-2 and it has power sockets at all seats. The width of the seat is very comfortable. It has toilet in every carriage, but we can see only squart type. The train was departed exactly on-time.
We just had a seat and enjoy the view from the window. The nature on the way to Luang Prabang is very green and fresh.
The journey time was just only 2 hours. The train brought us the Luang Prabang safely and punctually. Note : Please keep the ticket at you at all time. Because it will have to be checked at destination station. If you have no ticket, you have to pay the ticket cost plus penalty at arrival.
Luang Prabang Railway Station is located about 18 km from city center. It has taxi and public van services at the front of the station. The taxi and tuk-tuk price is depended on negotiation. But we recommend you to use public van (join trip with the other). The cost is 35,000 LAK/person (4 USD). It take about 30 minutes to get the city center. Luang Prabang has no main bus station. You can tell the driver to drop-off you at the hotel and the place where you wish. For return trip from city to Train station, you can book the train ticket and van service from the hotel what you are staying. Every hotel has this kind of service.
So, now, we arrived Luang Prabang perfectly with the new experience 🙂 It was a long journey but excited. Next, we can spend 2 or 3 days in this world heritage city to absorb and sooth the historical atmosphere and nature. We wish you have a wonderful stay in Luang Prabang !
Written By : Shipy Siwarit Tiasuwattiseth