Laos by Rail
Travel the incredible landscapes of Laos via the most scenic route possible: the brand-new Vientiane to Boten railway line.
Stopping off at Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang, and Muang La, this overland adventure makes even Laos’ most rural areas more accessible – and with a focus on sustainable tourism, there are plenty of responsible activities woven into the mix.
Transport in detail
Entirely overland, this trip explores Laos by train. Where the train doesn’t reach, transfers (i.e. between station and hotel) will be done by private car.
Experience Laos’ new train line, which takes you through the countryside to some incredibly scenic locations – with speedier travel between destinations
Meet local people and make a difference to the places you visit as you take part in a wide variety of sustainable activities
See diverse Laotian landscapes – including limestone karsts, lush farmland and the forested Mekong – with ease
Things to consider
Some destinations do not offer accommodation at every grade, but this is all part of Laos’ simple charm
The train only has a few departures per day, so your itinerary is dictated by when the departures are
Thanks to the train line, these are all commonly visited destinations in Laos – though we can help you explore further afield if you’d like to expand your route
Your first day is all about easing yourself into Laos’ notoriously laid-back atmosphere in peaceful Vientiane – a city brimming with centuries-old religious structures, colonial buildings and red-roofed market stalls. It can be hard to know where to begin, so we’ve lined up a knowledgeable local guide to help you delve into the capital’s ancient and modern history, covering royal temples, the historic Patuxai Victory Gate and the quirky, statue-filled Buddha Park. A visit to the COPE exhibition centre will provide a moving insight into how this charitable organisation supports victims of unexploded ordnance – a still-present reminder of the bomb attacks Laos endured during the Vietnam War.
See Vientiane’s historic temples and monuments
Learn about the impact of UXOs at the COPE Centre
Roam the quirky Buddha Park and see what statues you stumble across
Lose yourself in some of Asia’s most beautiful mountain scenery as your train weaves its way deeper into rural Laos, towards Vang Vieng: a town characterised by its towering limestone karsts, lush green rice fields and bluest of blue lagoons. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to experience the full spectrum of the area’s natural wonders; bike or kayak to the idyllic surrounding villages, encounter stalagmites and stalactites in the caves beneath the mountains, and float your way back to base on a private boat cruise along the lazy Nam Song River.
Enjoy the scenery of Vang Vieng’s limestone karsts as you arrive by rail
Get active as you visit caves and villages by bike and kayak
Spend a day relaxing and soaking up the scenery
The finer detail
- Breakfast every day
- Five lunches; one at an organic farm in Vang Vieng; two at the Muang La Lodge; a picnic at Kuang Si Falls; one at the MandaLao Elephant Sanctuary
- Four dinners; three at Muang La Lodge and one at Kaiphen vocational training restaurant
- Four full day experiences; a city tour of Vientiane; boat and bike adventure in Vang Vieng; full day 4x4 tour to visit Laos’ ethnic minorities; full day trek to Ban Phavie
- Four half day experiences; city tour of Luang Prabang; farming experience; Kuang Si Falls & Buffalo Dairy visit; MandaLao elephant sanctuary
- All entrance fees to sites included in guided experiences
- All internal transport & accommodation
Logistics & journey times
Car transfer from Vientiane Airport to hotel (15 minutes)
Car transfer to Vientiane Railway Station (30 minutes), Train to Vang Vieng (1 hour) & Car transfer to hotel (10 minutes)
Car transfer to Vang Vieng Railway Station (10 minutes), Train to Oudomxay (1 hour 45 minutes) & car transfer to Muang La (45 minutes)
Car transfer to Oudomxay Railway Station (45 minutes), Train to Luang Prabang (45 minutes) & Car transfer to Luang Prabang hotel (30 minutes)
Car transfer from hotel to Luang Prabang Airport (15 minutes)
What's not included
- International flights
- Meals not mentioned
- Entrance fees to any sites not included in guided experiences
- Tips for guides & porters