how to go from pakse to vientiane

How to Go From Pakse to Vientiane [PLUS Vientiane to Pakse]

The most cost-effective way to travel from Pakse to Vientiane is to take an overnight sleeper bus.  Not only do you save on one night of accommodation (although in Laos, that’s not a huge amount!), but it saves you a day of travel.   While it’s a great concept to think that if you’re traveling during the day you get to see the countryside the reality is a little different.  Because of the heat of the sun, most buses will have curtains or blacked windows to keep the heat out (even with air conditioning), so you’re unlikely to see much and photo opportunities are rare.    Overnight sleeper buses that run the route from Vientiane to Pakse and back have a good safety record, are well priced and while you won’t likely get much sleep, it’s an experience that you should add to your list of things to do in Laos.

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The route from Vientiane to Pakse

The route to Vientiane from Pakse is just under 700 kilometers (430 miles) by road.  Travel by road takes between 10 and 12 hours. There are at least five bus companies that run this route, all providing overnight transport between Vientiane and Pakse.  Buses in BOTH directions run at night. Sleeper buses from Vientiane to Pakse leave between 1730 and 2000 and buses from Pakse to Vientiane leave at around the same time.  Check your options here. 

If you’re in a hurry you can also book a flight. Flights from Vientiane to Pakse take about 90 minutes and you can book a flight here.

Where to Stay in Vientiane

There are some great places to stay in Vientiane, here are our picks for budget Vientiane hotels, mid-range hotels in Vientiane, and also luxury places to stay in Vientiane.

La Seine Hotel, Vientiane: The La Seine Hotel is a hotel located in downtown Vientiane next to the Mekong River. This five-star hotel’s 37 rooms all have their own private bathroom with bathrobes and hair dryer, LCD satellite TVs, free WiFi, air-conditioning, a mini-bar, and an in-room espresso machine; although different rooms offer different views, its either the view of the Mekong River or the view of Vientiane. La Seine Hotel also offers a great wine and dining experience at the Red Rose Restaurant, which can be reached through the lobby. This top-rated hotel in Vientiane is perfect for wine-lovers and nature-lovers with its chill atmosphere and quality services. Check out La Seine Hotel’s rooms and rates here.

Bloom Boutique Hotel and Café, Vientiane: The Bloom Boutique Hotel and Café is a three-star hotel located 1.1 km from Vientiane City Pillar Shrine, one of the capital city’s key shrines, and is near the Riverfront. This 16-room hotel offers a private bathroom with a shower, flat-screen TV, and complimentary WiFi, and some units have a dining area, a coffee maker, and a work desk. The Bloom Boutique Hotel and Café also includes breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant, views of the garden, and laundry room service. This popular accommodation is a great place to stay when visiting Vientiane. Rooms at the Bloom Boutique Hotel are popular, so book early here.

Vientiane Garden Villa Hotel, Vientiane: The Vientiane Garden Villa Hotel is located 2 km away from the center of Vientiane. This three-star rated hotel features rooms with air-conditioning, flat-screen TV, a refrigerator, and a private bathroom with a hot and cold shower. The Vientiane Garden Villa also sports an outdoor pool with views of the garden and the outdoor space, and Lao and Vietnamese cuisines are served at their Garden Restaurant. This well-rated hotel also offers free WiFi throughout the accommodation. This hotel is a fabulous place to stay in Vientiane. Check room availability here.

How to Go from Pakse to Vientiane

There are 3 ways to travel to Vientiane from Pakse.  You can fly from Pakse to Vientiane this is the most expensive way to travel to Vientiane from Pakse but it is also the quickest.  You can take a bus from Vientiane to Pakse, or from Pakse to Vientiane.  All the buses that run between Pakse and Vientiane are overnight buses or sleeper buses.  The third way to travel from Pakse to Vientiane is by van.  These smaller vans may have sit-up seats and take slightly less time than the sleeper buses but usually collect you from your hotel or hostel rather than you needing to go to a bus station.

Sleeper buses in Laos are called VIP buses rather than sleeping buses, we assume this is because no one expects to get any sleep on them…

The Cheapest Way to Travel Between Pakse and Vientiane – overnight bus

The Laos sleeper bus service is the cheapest way to travel to Vientiane from Pakse.  At this point in your travels, you’ll likely have been on sleeper buses in Vietnam or Thailand and you’ll be in for a surprise.  Instead of the molded, reclining seats on those buses, you get a flatbed here.

Book your trip from Pakse to Vientiane here. 

Booking online makes it even cheaper than paying cash.  If you haven’t arrived in Laos yet then you haven’t experienced the high cost of ATM withdrawal – read about it here and start planning how to save!

Timetable for Buses from Vientiane to Pakse

Bus CompanyTime of Departure from VientianeTime of Arrival into PakseVientiane Departure LocationPakse Arrival LocationDuration of JourneyBooking details
Chanthachone Transportation20300630Vientiane Southern Bus Station (but pick up from centre included)Chitpasong Bus Station within Pakse city centre
10 hoursBooking and prices here
King of Bus20300730Vientiane Southern Bus StationChitpasong Bus Station within Pakse city centre11 hoursBooking and prices here
Sengchaleun20300700Vientiane Southern Bus StationChitpasong Bus Station within Pakse city centre10.5 hoursBooking and prices here
PTS Travel17300430Vientiane Any hotelChitpasong Bus Station within Pakse city centre11 hoursBooking and prices here
Soutchai Travel20300630Vientiane Soutchai Travel Office - Vientiane City CentreChitpasong Bus Station within Pakse city centre10 hoursBooking and prices here
Kirangkai - sleeper bus20300800Vientiane Southern Bus StationPakse Bus Stattion11.5 hoursCheck prices and book here

Timetable for Buses from Pakse to Vientiane

Bus CompanyTime of Departure from PakseTime of Arrival into VientianeVientiane ArrivalPakse Departure LocationDuration of JourneyBook details and price
Chanthachone Transportation20300630Vientiane Southern Bus Station (but pick up from centre included)Chitpasong Bus Station within Pakse city centre
10 hoursBooking and prices here
King of Bus20300730Vientiane Southern Bus StationChitpasong Bus Station within Pakse city centre11 hoursBooking and prices here
Sengchaleun20300700Vientiane Southern Bus StationChitpasong Bus Station within Pakse city centre10.5 hoursBooking and prices here
PTS Travel17300430Vientiane Any hotelChitpasong Bus Station within Pakse city centre11 hoursBooking and prices here
Soutchai Travel20300630Vientiane Soutchai Travel Office - Vientiane City CentreChitpasong Bus Station within Pakse city centre10 hoursBooking and prices here
Kriangkai Sleeper Bus20300630Vientiane Southern Bus StationChitpasong Bus Station within Pakse city centre10.5 hoursCheck prices and book here

Overview of VIP buses in Laos on the Pakse – Vientiane route

There are no seats on Laos sleeping buses.   These sleeper buses are double-deckers.  They have partitions dividing the bus.  These create boxes, or beds, for you to sleep in.   They’re optimistically called double beds.   Put it this way you’re going to be cozy with who you’re sharing a bed.

inside sleeper bus laos

The beds are not quite long enough (I’m 5 feet 6 inches and it was a cramp for me), and they’re not quite wide enough for two, so snuggle up, it’s cozy.  If you’re a single traveler and don’t want to share this cozy space, then you’ll need to book two seats.  You will get a blanket and a pillow.  The A/C is usually fierce on these buses, so you’ll likely need both.

Book your bus to Vientiane from Pakse now

The roads between Pakse and Vientiane are not straight.  You’ll want to wedge yourself in somehow (remember to always keep yourself between your valuables and the rest of the world!) and be sure to have earplugs and an eye mask.

VIP buses in Pakse

Our beds, pillows, and blankets were all clean (it was, however, dark and we used our sleep sheet too).  Most buses leave from either Pakse or Vientiane between 1730 and 2000 and are scheduled to arrive between 0600 and 0700 the next day.  Whereabouts you arrive in Pakse or Vientiane depends on which bus service you booked on.

It is likely that the bus you take from Pakse to Vientiane will arrive at the Vientiane Southern bus Station, which is around 10 kilometers ( 6 miles) outside of central Vientiane and you’ll need to take a tuk-tuk into the center.

Vans from Vientiane to Pakse and Pakse to Vientiane

The Soutchai transport company run vans between Pakse and Vientiane.  These run where there are smaller numbers of travelers on the route.  You can book these smaller vans here.  Note that if the company gets a lot of bookings you may end up on a sleeper bus.

The vans are sleeper vans (usually), and are lie down, but don’t be surprised if they’re not.

How to Fly from Vientiane to Pakse and Pakse to Vientiane

The flight time from Vientiane to Pakse is around 1 hour and 15 minutes.  There is usually one direct flight a day and the easiest way to book flights to Vientiane from Pakse is to use 12goAsia

The airport in Pakse is around 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the city center and the airport in Vientiane is about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the city center.

Popular transport routes in Laos

Major Sites and Locations to visit in Laos

Travel Tips for Exploring Laos

Final Words on Overnight buses in Laos

This was our only overnight bus in Laos.  They’re very different from sleeper buses in Vietnam and Thailand.  Will you like sleeper buses in Laos?  I don’t know.  But you won’t know until you try!  Let us know how you get on!  Now don’t forget to plan your time in Vientiane – check out our itineraries and must-see Vientiane here.

One of the other routes that is popular here in Laos is going from Vientiane to Vang Vieng – so we’ve covered that here

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