TO & FROM …
- Direct flights to and from Bangkok with Lao Airline.
- Direct flights to and from Vientiane, LuangPrabang and Siem Reap with Lao Airlines
- Bus from Vientiane to Pakse daily, takes around 13 hours
- Bus from UbonRatchatani to Pakse around 3 hours. There are buses, trains and flights with Thai Airways and Air Asia from Bangkok to UbonRatchatani.
Direct flights between UbonRatchatani and Bangkok with Thai Airways, Nok Air and Air Asia
- Bus and Train between Bangkok and UbonRatchatani is 10-12 hours.
- Local bus between UbonRatchatani and Pakse takes around 3-4 hours. You usually have to change buses at the Chong Mek/Vang Tao border
Private vehicle transfer between UbonRatchatani and Pakse takes around 3 hours. The cost for this transfer is USD$115.00 for up to 2 people and USD$140.00 for 3-6 people. We are able to help you organize these transfers.
- Direct flights to and from Pakse with Lao Airlines
- Direct flights to and from Bangkok with Thai Airways, Bangkok Airway, Lao Airlines.
- Direct flights to and from and to all Lao domestic airline points, Siem Reap, and Chiang Mai with Lao Airlines
- Bus or train from Bangkok via NongKhai takes around 10-12 hours.
- Direct flights to and from Vientiane, Pakse, Siem Reap, Kunming and Chiang Mai with Lao Airlines
- Direct flights to and from Bangkok with Bangkok Airways and Lao Airlines.
- Direct flights to and from Hanoi with Vietnam airlines
- Bus from and to Vientiane takes around 8-10 hours
- Direct flights between Pakse and both Siem Reap and Phnom Penh with Lao Airlines
- Direct flights from Bangkok to LuangPrabang and Pakse with Bangkok Airways
- Direct flights from Bangkok to LuangPrabang with Lao Airlines
- Direct flights from Bangkok to Vientiane with Thai Airways, Bangkok Airway and Lao Airlines.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
It is possible to get a visa on arrival at all airports and most international borders including Houei Say. The visa is valid for 30 days and the fee varies depending on nationality. Every country has a different charge, which can be found on this list.The Laos immigration is very strict on the following two things:
- There must be at least one full blank page in your passport.
- There must be at least 6 months validity on the passport. They have turned many people away because of these two things.
Please carry at least two passport photos to be safe and a copy of your passport.
The Laos and Thai checkpoints at Chong Mek both open at 8.00am and close at 6.00pm daily.
Officially most foreigners from western countries can enter Thailand on a 30 day visa free stay. This means they stamp your passport and you can enter, but you don’t need to pay or buy a visa. To do this you need to have an onward flight ticket out of Thailand within one month. If you do not have a flight ticket, you may be refused entry without a visa, particularly if flying into one of the international airports. For more information, see amazing-thailand.com
There are only ATM machines in LuangPrabang and Vientiane. They only issue Lao kip and are quite regularly not working. There are no ATM machines in Pakse though you may be able to get a cash advance from your credit card at the bank. Most of the more expensive hotels, restaurants and shops will let you pay using your credit card, though some still add on a commission.
US dollars and Thai baht are interchangeable with Lao kip; you can pay in dollars or baht and get the change in either dollars, baht or kip.
Euros, Australian dollars and Japanese yen are also able to be changed at banks. Travellerscheques are able to be exchanged at most banks in Laos.
Crossing between Thailand and Laos is very easy. There is a bridge over the Mekong River in Laos which means it is possible to have a fully paved road access all the way from Pakse to UbonRatchatani via the Vang Tao/Chong Mek border.
We ask you to meet at Sinouk Café in central Pakse at 9.30am.
Travelling times depend on the levels of the water, conditions on the river, the number of people on the boat (larger groups are slower) and other factors. As a general rule, you should arrive back at around 3.30-4pm, but this of course can vary.
The boat has 12 cabins, each sleeping 2 people in twin beds.
The rooms are air-conditioned but if sitting on the deck, do you have extra fans in case it gets hot?
Yes, in case it is a very hot day and there is no wind blowing, the deck can be equipped with a fan.
Yes, the ship is fully equipped with safety systems meeting the international safety standards.
The boat is equipped with fire extinguishers and life jackets in adult and children’s sizes. A boat mechanic travels on every trip.
Pakse is a fairly large town by Laotian standards and there are quite a few different guesthouses and hotels that you can choose to stay at.
To see some reviews of guesthouses and hotels, check the website :www.travelfish.org.
Obviously as rain falls, the river levels rise. Even if it is not raining in Laos, heavy rainfalls in China can also affect the river. On the Mekong the difference between the dry season and the wet season is quite pronounced.
Very occasionally, the river levels dry up to the point that the boats can not travel, at least for certain sections. Should this happen, you will be notified as soon as possible. Sometimes it is just a short stretch of the river that our boats can not pass, in which case you will be transferred by shuttle boat. This does not happen very often.
Malaria cases do occur occasionally, and it is always wise to take preventative measures. Wear long loose clothing which covers your arms and legs, and wear mosquito repellent, particularly in the evenings. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of the many malaria medications available if you wish to take precautions.
Laos has three seasons.
From March to May is the hot season. It is generally hot and very dry. The water levels in the rivers sink.
From June to November is the rainy season. It may rain for a few hours during the day, and most of the night. The weather is still quite warm, and often hot and sunny.
From November to February it is the cold season.Visitors from colder climates will probably not find it too cold, but temperatures can drop to around 15 degrees during the day, and even lower overnight. A jumper or jacket is recommended for the evenings at the Lodge and while the boat is moving during any season, but particularly from November to February.
It is obviously impossible to predict the weather. However, there are a few patterns that rainfall tends to take at this time. It may not rain at all, and be warm and sunny for days at a time. If it does rain, it is often in a very heavy downpour for a fairly short period of time, perhaps for a couple of hours in the afternoons. It quite often rains a lot at night.
See www.guidetothailand.com for more information.
It is easy to include both the LuangSay and Vat Phou Cruises in a trip to Laos. Following is a suggested itinerary that can be used as a base, and expanded or moulded to fit your plans. For the purposes of this itinerary we have suggested travelling from North to South, but the trip can easily be done in the other direction.
Days 1-2. Enter at HuayXai and take the Luang Say Cruise via the Luang Say Lodge to LuangPrabang.
Days 3-4. Explore LuangPrabang.
Days 5-6. Make your way to Vientiane, either by air or by land via VangVieng. Explore Vientiane.
Day 7-9. Make your way down to Pakse. This can be done by overnight VIP bus, or by flight from Vientiane. Take the Vat Phou Mekong Cruise.
After the cruise, you can make your way from Pakse across the border to UbonRatchathani in Thailand, and across to Bangkok. It is also possible at the Cambodian border and travel overland to Phnom Penh or Siem Reap (though check Cambodian visa requirements carefully as they do change their rules regularly about visa on arrival at this land border).