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Laos for Backpackers: Getting There on a Budget

explore, travel, laos for backpackers: getting there on a budget

Endowed with rich culture and truly natural wonders, Laos is one of South East Asia’s best kept secrets. Dubbed as crossroads of Asia, it shares borders with Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and China, making it one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the region, a melting pot of diverse races, culture, religion and tradition.

Through the years, Laos portrays itself as a low key and offbeat destination. But tourism is slowly changing the way of life of this landlocked country and those who have experienced its distinct charm will surely agree that Laos is simply beautiful!

explore, travel, laos for backpackers: getting there on a budget

At Patuxai Victory Monument in Vientiane

Filipinos who wished to visit Laos will find similarities with its country’s natural features. We are visa-free for 30 days in Laos but there is no direct flight going there from the Philippines, so how do you get there from Manila or Cebu?

The usual route is to fly to Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur and then onward to Vientiane or Luang Prabang. These routes involve at least two flights and can be very expensive. Fret not for there are cheaper options to do.

explore, travel, laos for backpackers: getting there on a budget

The main cascade of Kuang Si Falls in Luang Prabang

Option 1: Flights to Bangkok / Kuala Lumpur and to Vientiane / Luang Prabang

Avail of airline promo from Manila or Cebu to Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur and then onwards to Vientiane or Luang Prabang.

Option 2: Flight to Bangkok and Bus to Nong Khai or Vientiane

Fly to Bangkok and take a 13-hour night bus to Vientiane, bus fare is at least 20USD or 1,000PHP one way.

explore, travel, laos for backpackers: getting there on a budget

Pha That Luang in Vientiane

Alternatively, you can take the 12-hour night bus to Nong Khai, the Thai city that shares border with Laos. You can get your exit stamp at Thai immigration in Nong Khai, then take the bus to Lao Immigration (20 Baht, 10 minutes), pay the immigration processing fee (50 Baht), get your entry stamp in Lao Immigration, and take a bus to Vientiane (40Baht, 45 minutes).

Option 3: Flights to Bangkok and Udon Thani and Bus to Vientiane

Fly to Bangkok and then to Udon Thani. Airfare from Bangkok to Udon Thani costs at least 25USD or 1,250 PHP one-way. From Udon Thani, catch a van to Nong Khai (50 Baht, 1 hour), get your exit stamp at Thai immigration, take a bus to Lao Immigration (20 Baht, 10 minutes), pay the immigration processing fee (50 Baht), get your entry stamp in Lao Immigration, and take a bus to Vientiane (40Baht, 45 minutes).

explore, travel, laos for backpackers: getting there on a budget

Mount Phousi in Luang Prabang

Going to Luang Prabang from Vientiane is another 45-minute flight or 9-hour night bus. Bus fare is at least 15USD or 750PHP.

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