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Buddha Park near Vientiane.  <img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click for full image
Travel Guide > Asia > Laos > Viangchan Prefecture > Vientiane

Vientiane Getting around

  
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Getting around Vientiane is generally easy, as the traffic is far less murderous than in larger Southeast Asian cities like Bangkok or Ho Chi Minh City.

Street signage is, however, rather lacking though in the center more and more signs are appearing. Where there are signs displaying street names these are bilingual Lao and French. The Lao word "thanon" on these signs is translated by "rue", "avenue" or "boulevard", in many cases without any apparent logic. Therefore the Lao word "thanon" is used throughout this article.

Maps covering a larger area are available at bookshops and some mini-marts, but are not as detailed and not always to scale. Many storefronts feature addresses in Roman letters, and these are often the best way to determine the street one is walking. People navigate using landmarks, so name the nearest embassy, hotel or temple to where you want to go.

By taxi

Vientiane has a small fleet of genuine taxis retired from Bangkok, usually found lurking at the Friendship Bridge, the airport or in front of large hotels. Fares are set by bargaining, so figure on around US$0.50 per km or US$20-40 to hire one for the day, depending on car type and distance.

By tuk-tuk or jumbo

Tuk-tuks and their bigger cousins jumbos are ubiquitous in Vientiane. To charter a tuk-tuk/jumbo, agree on the fare in advance (do not pay more than 40K Kip per hour); short hops within the city shouldn't cost more than 10,000 kip per person, although as a tourist you may have difficulty bargaining to less than that. All the tuk-tuk drivers carry a fare card for popular destinations but these fares are ridiculously inflated. Do not pay these bogus, published fares. Walking away can make the fare drop quickly. Also do not insult them with ridiculous offers such as 10,000 Kip for four people no matter how short the distance.

Share jumbos running on set routes, for example to Th Lan Xang to Pha That Luang, charge a fixed 10,000 Kip. Tuk-tuks lined in front the Mekong bank restaurants or other busy areas will try to charge you 30 to 50K even for short trips. It's not worth trying to bargain as they won't go anywhere with a normal 10Kip fare. Walk a few blocks and you bargain a much lower price.

By bus

Rattly old blue-and-white buses and newer white minibuses connect the center to the suburban districts, but they are not equipped with air-con and have no signage in English, although route numbers are usually (not always) posted on the front. The only bus likely to be of use to the casual visitor is the bus to/from the Friendship Bridge, which continues on to Buddha Park for a fixed fare of 5000K. (The bus to Wattay International Airport goes near the airport but not quite into it.)

Bus lines from from Talat Sao are 14 and 29.

By bike

Bicycles are perhaps the best way to get around the city. Most guest houses and hotels can arrange bike rental for around 10,000 Kip per day. (The cheapest is apparently Douang Deuane Hotel, 8,000 kip, though their bikes aren't the best.) Although the city's flat terrain makes for good biking, one-way streets can be difficult to identify. You can usually choose to leave your passport, your driver's license, about 1,000 baht, or a comparable amount of kip or dollars as a deposit.

Despite the poor standard of local driving, cycling is fairly safe in the city because the traffic is quite slow (maybe because of the condition of the roads). But take extra care when the roads are wet, because many are unsurfaced (even in the city center), and they can be muddy and slippery - innocent-looking puddles sometimes conceal deep potholes.

On foot

The city center can be quite comfortably covered on foot, at least in the cool season. Pha That Luang, however, is 4 km away from the center and thus a bit of a hike. Out of the city center there are few footpaths so walking can be uncomfortable.

By car

Take your free to discover the city by car, you can indepently drive yourself whenever and wherever you want.but be careful with local driving. In Laos there are alot of car rental company, but if you are looking for a international standard & Service, you can try Europcar (Asia Vehicle rental), located on Samsenthai Road just only 5 minutes from Namphu fountain.

Transport Companies in Vientiane

Airline Lao Airlines
flies to five domestic destinations (three to five flights daily to Luang Prabang; once or twice daily to Pakse, four times per week to Huay Xai and Oudomxay, and six times per week to Xieng Khuang (Phonsavan).
in Vientiane
Airline Lao Air
the second Lao airline, operates two flights weekly each between Vientiane and Phongsali, Samneua and Sayaboury (Sainyabuli) (aircraft: Cessna).
in Vientiane
 




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