People believe that it is quite time-consuming to travel across Laos as it is the mountainous and isolated country regardless of the improved road network. The majority of the country’s main towns are connected by a network of rivers; therefore, the former means of transport here is the boat. Today, to facilitate the tourists’ explorations in Laos, some towns do offer the boat services. Historically, the river transport has the irreplaceable role in Laos.

The Most Popular Modes of River Transport in Laos

The foremost mode of river transport that the tourists enjoy in Laos is the big passenger boat running from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang. On the boat, you find the bar service that sells beer and snack. The comfortable boats promise to satisfy the passengers who intend to experience the charm of Laos by boating in hours. In case of the short routes, the small boats will be employed which include the hard wooden seats or the wooden planks for you to rest the butt. Calming that you head towards Phonsali by the river, you will see many little boats on the Nam Ou River.

Interestingly, you can place your motorbike on the boats. That is convenient as you can use the motorbike to reach some remote sites. The cost of carrying a motorbike across the water is equal to the cost of another passenger (note that the cost is negotiable).

Apparently, the smaller boats are less durable than the larger ones. So if you are on the small boat, make sure you follow the captain’s instruction for safety. Sit in your own spot precisely to watch the idyllic and tranquil riverscape. Don’t play noisily and don’t lean over the edge to photograph because the small mode of river transport is often unstable. That is the hard truth!

Plus, you can enjoy the speed boats (70km/h) for the fast and interesting trip.

You see the laid-back and breathtaking beauty of Laos along the riverside. Particularly, the remote villages scattered along are only linked to the outside world by the river boats, which stops by to transport the villagers to elsewhere and unload the cargo. Due to the remote location, these villages predominantly comprise the grass huts. The remoteness of the far-off communities triggers the food scarcity. To ensure the life of the remote communities along the rivers, the United Nations World Food Program does deliver food aid to them.

The Transit Town in Laos

Besides the river transport, Laos covers some transit towns where the tourists can reach the river towns by road. For instance, there are busses available in the transit town of Nong Khiaw that depart to Luang Prabang and the Far East. Also, you find the boat services up and down the river that enables you to reach the major centers of the land without the requirement to stay overnight. The other transit towns in Laos use the barges to ferry the four-wheel vehicles safely. Besides, the passengers and motorbikes are traversed by the small vessels.

In a word, the Laos River is not only about the transport, but it is also about the food supply, leisure, and washing in this laid-back country. During the Laos Tours, you can easily find many kids playing in the water and many women washing the clothes here. Everything naturally makes up the lively and lovely pictures. The river transport in Laos is far more exhilarating than what a road can offer.

Author Profile

Hoang AnhStart working in travel industry in Vietnam from 1995, I had the great chance to learn and seeing the change as well as the development of tourism in our country. After quite long time working in different positions in some well-known international travel companies, I found that with my passion and knowledge, I can offer better value and discovery on tours in Vietnam to the travelers.

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