Travelers from Bangkok mainly use the city of Vientiane as a jump-off point for their journey to the town of Vang Vieng. In our case, we came from Thanaleng via minivan (THB 150), and were dropped off at the Talat Sao Mall in Central Vientiane. There, we had our money exchanged to Lao Kip (LAK).
After getting our currencies exchanged, we continued on our journey to reach Vang Vieng. Below is a step-by-step guide:
1. Head to the Northern Bus Terminal.
From Talat Sao, we crossed the street near the Khua Din Bus Terminal and waited for a local bus that goes to the Northern Bus Terminal. The buses are bright green in color so they are easy to spot. They also have marquee signs that display their destinations so you’ll know if you’re boarding the correct bus.
As soon as the we spotted our bus, we got in and immediately verified with the driver if it was indeed headed to the Northern Bus Terminal, just to be sure. Better safe than sorry, right? We paid LAK 5,000 per person and were at the northern terminal after 40 minutes.
2. Ride a minivan to Vang Vieng.
Upon arriving at the Northern Bus Terminal, we headed to the ticket booth and asked where we can buy tickets to Vang Vieng. The lady at the booth instructed us to go straight to the minivans at the back of the terminal and told us to pay directly to the driver (LAK 50,000).
The minivans do not leave until all seats are occupied. In our case, the waiting time wasn’t so bad and we left after 15 minutes. The van felt a bit cramped, and we felt lucky that we were one of the first few passengers who boarded and got to choose the seats we liked.
It took us only three hours to reach Vang Vieng, thanks to our driver’s Fast and the Furious-ish driving skills.
3. Walk to Vang Vieng Town Proper or wait for your pre-arranged pick-up.
We had a complimentary tuktuk pick-up service care of our Airbnb host so we just asked our minivan driver to give our host a call to prompt her of our arrival.
Our assigned tuktuk arrived in no time, and we reached Lao Valhalla Bungalows and Restaurant in 15 minutes.
If you don’t have this kind of service, you may opt to walk from the minivan drop-off to the Vang Vieng Town Proper and from there, ride a tuktuk to your guesthouse.
How we got back from Vang Vieng to Vientiane
With the help of our awesome Airbnb host, we were able to secure minibus tickets to Vientiane for LAK 40,000 per person a day before our trip; she also accompanied us and dropped us off at the ticketing office on the day of the trip. From the ticketing office, we were given a free ride to the bus station.
Our bus ride was a bit longer than our minivan ride going to Vang Vieng, taking four hours to reach Vientiane. The ride was okay, but the ventilation could’ve been better. We were slightly sweating the entire trip. If we had a choice, we’d rather go via minivan.
A roundup of all our Indochina guides can be found here.
- Indochina Backpacking Travel Guide: 2-Week Itinerary
- What to Pack: Prepping for a 2-Week Backpacking Trip Across Indochina
- Budget Breakdown: 2-Week Indochina Backpacking Trip
- Thailand-Laos Border Crossing Guide