Useful information for taking the train from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng

The newest and definitely best option to travel from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng is by taking the train. Find out everything you need to know about taking the train from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng. Learn more on what train to take, what to bring, how long it takes, ticket costs, what to expect, and more!

In this article I will answer some useful questions and then tell you about my own train experience.

Important questions answered

In this section I will answer some questions regarding the train from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng.

Where is the train station in Luang Prabang?

The Luang Prabang Railway Station is located outside the city center. The station is about 12 kilometers outside of the central town area and it takes about 30 minutes to reach the station by taxi or tuk tuk. I took a tuk tuk from Luang Prabang City Centre to Luang Prabang Railway Station for 100.00 LAK (€5,49/$5,83). This price was for 2 persons.

What facilities are available at the Luang Prabang Railway Station?

At the train station you can find some sit or squat toilets, a ticket counter, a resting area for mothers traveling with babies and a few (hot) water stations.There are no shops or food/snacks corners at the train station! There are only a few vendors outside. You can bring your own cup and instant coffee or tea and make a drink yourself if you like (or instant noodles of course).

How long does the train from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng take?

It’s a short journey. The ride only takes about 1 hour.

How many trains run from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng?

The train departs daily at 13:45 PM and 16:10 PM from Luang Prabang Railway Station, so only two at the moment.

What does the security look like at Luang Prabang Railway Station?

The station has airport-style security where you have to have a ticket to enter. Then your bags are scanned, just like at the airport. Pocketknives and aerosols are listed as a banned item, so cans of deodorant will be taken. If you are bringing in water they make you drink a sip of it to prove that it is not an explosive substance.

What are the different classes on the trains from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng?

The trains from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng have three classes. When I traveled, I decided to book a 2nd class train ticket. There are power outlets under the seats, but no wifi onboard. There are trilingual signs (Lao/Chinese/English) and announcements in the trains and on the train station.

First class

1×2 and 1×1 seat configuration for First class.

Business class

1×2 and 1×1 seat configuration for Business class.

Second class

The seats in Second class are in a 3×2 configuration, so the seats are a bit narrower compared to trains with a 2×2 configuration, but you still have plenty of legroom.

What is the best train to take from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng?

I recommend taking the train at 13.45 PM. In case something goes wrong with the train or if the tickets are sold out for this one, you can still take the train at 16.10 PM.

How much does a train ticket cost to get from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng?

The prices for train tickets from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng cost between $6 and $20 per person. The price depends on a range of factors including how far in advance you book, the date you travel and the class you book. My train ticket was 119.000 LAK (€6,52/$6,91) for a seat in the 2nd class coupe.

Where can I buy a ticket for the train from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng?

Tickets can be purchased in Luang Prabang city centre (not recommended), at the train station (no later than 3 days before departure) or via a third party. Below you find the different options available:

Buying tickets at the train station (recommended)

It’s easy to buy tickets yourself at the ticket counter of the Luang Prabang Railway station. The ticket counter is located on the right side of the station. Remember to bring your passport, as this is required to buy a ticket. They will scan your passport (I am not sure why). The queues can get long at the ticket counter, so I recommend getting there on time. There are limited tickets available and sometimes they run out of (second class) tickets. It’s best to set out 2 hours before the train departs. You can pay with cash.

Buying tickets via the app (new since March 2023! and recommended)

Since March 2023 you can buy tickets via the official mobile application of the Laos-China Railway. Just search for the application called ‘LCR Ticket’ in your Appstore or Google Play. You can select tickets and pay with your credit card.

At the time I took this trip, this app was not yet available. So I have no experience yet. If you have used this app and have any helpful tips for other travelers, feel free to share them in the comment section below.

Buying tickets via your hotel or a touroperator (recommended!)

Another option is to buy tickets at your hotel or via a touroperator. Usually you pay a bit more, but they will go for you to the train station and arrange the tickets for you. It will save you time and stress and you will easily receive the tickets before you head to the train station. Most of the time, the price also includes transportation to the train station.

Buying tickets at the official ticket office in Luang Prabang city centre (not recommended!)

There is an official ticket office in Luang Prabang city centre. It is located on Phothisalat Road in the city centre, opposite the Provincial Administrative Office and Foreign Affairs Department Building, 650 metres from the night market. You can not find it on Google Maps, but if you use this location, you should be able to find it. The office opens from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm and then from 12:30 pm ​to 3:30 pm daily.

I do not recommend buying tickets here. You can only buy a maximum of two tickets per person and you can not pay with cash. The ticket office only accepts payments with POS (UnionPay) card swipe machine and QR code (OnePay). No VISA or Mastercard is accepted. Next to this, tickets sold at the office will be subject to a LAK 20,000 surcharge. If you decide to buy a ticket at this office, don’t forget to bring your passport as it is mandatory.

Buying tickets online (not recommended!)

The last option is to book your train ticket and transfer online. This is a great option if you don’t want to go to the station yourself. You will be picked up at your hotel and then immediately receive the train tickets. You can book your tickets online with 12.GoAsia (only up to 3 days in advance before departure). This is a booking platform I have used all throughout Southeast Asia and I highly recommend. You can even see other travelers’ reviews, so you know what to expect. I haven’t bought my tickets for this train ride via this platform, but I wanted to share this possibility with you. Keep in mind that’s probably more expensive than buying tickets directly at the station or via the official app.

You can use the search box below to find train tickets from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng:

Powered by 12Go system

What to bring with you?

It’s recommended to bring some warm clothes and snacks with you. In none of the classes you have control of the A/C, so it can be a bit cold. Just have some warm clothes in your daypack, so you can reach them easily if you feel cold.

Even though there is a drink carriage on board where you can buy simple drinks, I highly recommend bringing your own snacks and drinks.

You might also want to bring some entertainment with you like a good travel book, your favorite television show or a fun board game. If you’re planning on streaming something or listening to music, make sure to bring your headphones. It is wise to buy a local internet SIM card or Esim in advance.

A short story of my experience with the train from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng

Gambling that there would still be tickets available, we headed for the station by tuk tuk 2.5 hours before the train left. We were planning on taking the train at 13.45 PM. Within 30 minutes we managed to buy tickets. Once we had the tickets, our stuff had to go through a scanner and we were scanned ourselves. Lighters and spray bottles like deo are not allowed inside. Nothing was found on us and we were allowed to enter. It seemed like the airport!

Then we entered a huge and empty hall (the waiting area). We were the first people that arrived. After 2 hours of waiting, the hall was well filled with people.

Through the speaker it was announced that the train was about to arrive and everyone had to stand in long lines. Here and there some confused foreigners walked around. This was no surprise, because despite the occasional words in English, most communication via the speaker was in Laos and Chinese. In the distance I saw a small sign with the numbers 1-7 and I assumed it must had something to do with the numbers on our tickets: seat 01-7a. We lined up at number 7 and when the gate opened, we walked with the crowd to number 7. Still it didn’t feel quite right and we asked a guard if we were standing at the right platform. We had to be at number 1 and had to walk to the other side of the station. Luckily we made it in time.

The train was nice and luxurious inside and after 1 hour we arrived in Vang Vieng. We didn’t see much of the surroundings, because we went into one tunnel after another. In Vang Vieng our ticket was scanned, the gates opened and we were free citizens again. Together with other tourists we were taken in a fully loaded tuk tuk and drove for 30.000 LAK each to the center of Vang Vieng.


The train is in my opinion the best way to travel from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng. If you still have any unanswered questions, feel free to let me know in the comment section below. Have a great trip!

Author: Daphne

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  • Tanita

    Hi, we’ve read on one post that you can’t take liquids on the train. Do you know this to be true at all? We have a backpack that has quite a lot of toiletries that we wouldn’t want to dump (suncream, shampoo the usual)

    • Girlswanderlust

      Hi Tanita, given my experience, they don’t bother with toiletries. I had 2 bottles of sunscreen, 1 bottle of aftersun and 1 bottle of deet with me. They didn’t say anything about this. Spray bottles (deodorant) are not allowed and they check this strictly. I had a deodorant bar, shampoo bar and conditioner bar with me, so I had no problems with security. I would throw away spray deodorant in advance so they have no reason to look further into your luggage. In addition, you are not allowed to bring water or other drinks. You can bring an empty bottle and fill it for free in the hall or you have to take a sip to prove it is drinkable. Hope this answers some of your questions. Safe travels!

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