Are you planning to travel from Laos to Vietnam by land, then there are a number of things to take into account. You have to see with which visa you need to enter Vietnam, which country border you will use and how you to get there.
With the new Vietnam e-visa you can use other international border crossings in addition to the international airports.* For example, with a Vietnam e-visa you can use 5 land crossings between Laos and Vietnam. There are two types of border crossings, international and local. As you may suspect, international borders are generally open to all travelers who have a valid passport and visa, while local borders are only accessible to locals (on each side of the border). The international borders are the only ones covered here. If you miss a border crossing or important information, let us know in a response at the bottom of the page.
* Not all countries can apply for Vietnam E-Visa.
- The bus trips from Vietnam to Laos are a cheap alternative to flying, but long and tiring. If it fits your budget, always choose a flight.
- When you travel from Laos to Vietnam you must have an E-visa or a valid Vietnam visa.
- There are border crossings where an e-visa is not valid; so you must already have a valid visa here.
- You cannot use these border crossings with a VOA (visa on arrival). With a VOA you always have to arrive at one of the 5 international airports in Vietnam.
- With an e-visa you can travel to Vietnam once (single entry) and is valid for a maximum of 30 days.
- If you travel from Vietnam to Laos you can arrange the visa at the border. Make sure you bring enough cash in US Dollars.
Arrange visa for Vietnam
You can arrange your Vietnam visa before you travel at the Vietnamese embassy in your country. Are you already traveling, you have 2 options to arrange this:
- Vietnam E-visas
- Arrange a visa through a Vietnamese embassy
You can apply for the E-visa via the official website of the Vietnam Immigration Service (evisa.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn). When you arrange something through an online visa service, you will not receive an e-visa, but a Visa On Arrival and you can only enter Vietnam via an international airport. So only use the official website.
The e-visa starts on the day that you indicate that you are arriving in Vietnam. You specify this when applying for the e-visa. You cannot enter the country before this date, but later. Just keep in mind that the validity of the visa starts on the day that you have specified in the application, and therefore does not start until you arrive.
Also keep in mind that an e-visa is valid for a maximum of 30 days, single entry and not possible to extend. If you want to stay in Vietnam for more than 30 days, you need to arrange a Vietnam visa at the embassy.
Arrange Vietnam visa in Laos
Step 1: Find a nearest Vietnamese embassy
Embassy of Vietnam in Vientiane, Laos
Address: 23 Singha Rd, Vientiane, Lao PDR
Tel .: +856 21 451 990
- Luang Prabang
Vietnamese Consulate General in Luangprabang, Laos
Address: 15 / II, Wat That Village, Phothisalath Road, Luangprabang Town, Luangprabang Province, Laos
Tel .: +856 71 254 748
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Consulate General of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in Paksé, Laos
Address: No 31 Phabat, Paksé, Champasak, Laos
Tel .: + 856-31 214 199
Vietnamese Consulate General in Savannakhet
Address: No.118, Sisavangvong, Kayson Phomvihan district, Savannakhet province, Laos
Tel .: +856 41 212 418
Step 2: Apply for the visa
- Take your passport with you (With a validity of at least 6 months)
- Take a passport photo with you
- Fill in the paperwork, choose the length of stay and the date you arrive in Vietnam.
Processing your application can take between 1 hour and one entire working day, depending on which embassy you apply for and how busy it is.
Step 3: Get your visa and pay the visa costs
- Pay the visa fee (they only accepted US dollars).
The costs, procedures and opening times for applying for the visa are sometimes changed, so it is best to call the embassy of Vietnam and check the costs and the application process if you have any doubts.
Arrange a visa for Laos
If you travel from Vietnam to Laos, it doesn’t matter what kind of Vietnam visa you have. If you have entered Vietnam via the airport with a visa on arrival, you can go to Vietnam across a country border. If you travel to Laos from Vietnam, you need to arrange a visa for Laos. At most border crossings you can get a visa on arrival for Laos. You don’t have to arrange anything for this. It is important to check which country border you are crossing, because this is not possible with all of them.
For exact rules and procedures regarding visas in Laos, we recommend that you consult other websites, as this website is aimed at traveling around Vietnam.
Which border crossings are there?
- Sop Hun – Tay Trang *
- Bo Y – Ngoc Hi
- Cha Lo – Napao
- Nam Phao – Cau Treo
- Dansavanh – Lao Bao
- Nam Khan – Nam Can
Bus companies and travel agencies generally only use: Lao Bao, Tay Trang, Nam Khan and Cau Treo.
Sop Hun – Tay Trang *
This border crossing is useful for going from Muang Khua in Laos to Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam. From Dien Bien Phu you can travel to Sapa, among other places.
*Pay attention! This border crossing does not accept Vietnam e-visas. For this you must already be in possession of a visa.
Bo Y – Ngoc Hi
This border crossing is useful to go from Attapeu in Laos to Kontum in Vietnam. In Attapeu, buses leave for Ngoc Hoi via Bo Y. The complete journey to Ngoc Hoi takes approximately three hours, including the time required for border checks. Buses are available from Ngoc Hoi to to other destinations in Vietnam. Kontum is closest.
Cha Lo – Napao
This border crossing is convenient to go from Thakhek in Laos to Vinh and Phong Nha in Vietnam.
Nam Phao – Cau Treo
This border crossing is useful for going from Lak Xao in Laos to Vinh in Vietnam.
Dansavanh – Lao Bao
This border crossing is useful for going from Savannakhet in Laos to Hue in Vietnam. This is the first border crossing between Laos and Vietnam is one of the most popular and least problematic. There are a number of buses a day that run from Savannakhet to Hue and Da Nang. The journey takes between 10 and 11 hours.
Nam Khan – Nam Can
This border crossing is useful for going from Phonsavan in Laos to Vinh in Vietnam. Phonsavan is a small town in the northeast of Laos. There are a number of travel agencies here that sell bus tickets to Vietnam. The entire bus trip to Vinh takes around 12 hours.
Popular bus routes
Luang Prabang – Hanoi
The distance between Luang Prabang and Hanoi is around 900 km, but a direct bus takes around 24 hours due to the mountainous road. It costs a whole day of your tour, but let yourself save some money if you can’t find a cheap flight ticket. Buses leave Luang Prabang early in the evening and arrive the same time in Hanoi the following day.
The route is served by a number of bus companies that all offer a similar service. The two most popular are The Sinh Tourist and HTX Van Tai. Both companies use VIP sleeping buses for this long route, which offer slightly more comfort compared to regular buses.
You can book tickets for these buses at many travel agencies in Luang Prabang or online.
Vientiane – Hanoi
There is a direct bus connection from Vientiane to Hanoi through the The Sinh Tourist and HTX Van Tai. Buses from both companies leave Vientiane in the evening and 22 hours later they arrive in Hanoi (a total of 760 km from Vientian to Hanoi).
You can also take a bus from Vientiane to Vinh in Vietnam. This bus journey takes 10 hours.
How do you cross the border?
If you cross the border from Laos to Vietnam you must do the following:
- You first go to the Laos border office with your passport and departure form. Here you will receive an “exit stamp” on your Laos visa in your passport.
- Then you go to the Vietnam border office with your luggage for a security scan. (sometimes they are not that difficult about this).
- Hand over your passport to customs. If you travel by bus, they collect all passports first. Then you wait until they call your name and return your passport with the stamp.
Good to know
- Please note that not all borders are open 24/7. If you arrive very early, you may, for example, have to wait up to 7 hours for the border office to open.
- There is a money exchange office at a number of border offices. Here you can possibly exchange your Laos Kip for Vietnamese Dong.