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How To Get To Nong Khiaw From Luang Prabang, Laos

If you’re planning a trip to Laos then you can’t miss the stunning town of Nong Khiaw. 

Tucked away in the mountains, this hidden gem is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. 

But how do you get there from Luang Prabang? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! 

In this post, I’ll explain exactly how to get to Nong Khiaw from Luang Prabang by minivan, bus or car including costs, timetables, insider tips and more.

How To Get From Luang Prabang To Nong Khiaw

Map showing the distance between Luang Prabang and Nong Khiaw.
Map showing the distance between Luang Prabang and Nong Khiaw.

There are 3 ways to get from Luang Prabang to Nong Khiaw – minivan, bus or car.

Taking the bus is the cheapest but most inconvenient option whereas taking a taxi is the most convenient but most expensive option.

I personally think that taking the minivan is the overall best way to get from Luang Prabang to Nong Khiaw as it’s inexpensive and still pretty convenient.

In a hurry? Here’s a quick summary of the options:

  • By minivan: 3 hours, $11
  • By bus: 3 hours, $5
  • By taxi: 3 hours, $120 – $150

It’s not possible to fly there as Nong Khiaw doesn’t have its own airport and the closest airport is actually Luang Prabang International Airport.

In the rest of this post, I’ll go into more detail on these three options including how you can book, the exact timetables and other key information.

Minivan From Luang Prabang To Nong Khiaw

Key things to know about taking a minivan from Luang Prabang to Nong Khiaw.
Key things to know about taking a minivan from Luang Prabang to Nong Khiaw.

One of the best and easiest ways to get to Nong Khiaw from Luang Prabang is by minivan.

There is only one company that runs a minivan service to Nong Khiaw and that is Naluang.

It’s a 3 hour journey that departs from Naluang Bus Station in Luang Prabang and arrives into Nong Khiaw Minivan Station (right next to the bus station).

There is only one departure each day and it leaves at 9:30am.

This minivan costs $11 per person and comes with air conditioning. The total number of passengers per bus is 14 so it doesn’t feel too cramped.

It’s worth noting that the minivans in Laos aren’t super reliable and there are often long delays. You’ll often find that it won’t leave on time. 

Although the minivan should take just 3 hours, it often takes up to 4 hours due to the delays.

The minivan itself is pretty comfy and I’d recommend trying to get a window seat if you can as you’ll see a lot of stunning scenery along the way! 

Insider Tip: Ensure you go to the bathroom before boarding the minivan as they generally don’t stop for toilet breaks (unless the driver feels like it).

You can book your minivan from Luang Prabang to Nong Khiaw on 12Go Asia which is the best place to book travel across Southeast Asia.

Example minivan ticket to Nong Khiaw from 12Go Asia.
Example minivan ticket to Nong Khiaw from 12Go Asia.

I’ve used it several times and it always offers great prices and a decent service.

You can also purchase your ticket at the bus station itself. If you do it this way then make sure you arrive at the station as early as you can to make sure you have plenty of time to get the ticket.

It may also be worth asking the minivan company to pick you up from your hotel as they are usually happy to. 

This can be particularly useful if you have heavy bags as it avoids having to carry them from your hotel to the bus station.

Check Prices For Minivan To Nong Khiaw

Bus From Luang Prabang To Nong Khiaw

Key things to know about taking the bus to Nong Khiaw from Luang Prabang.
Key things to know about taking the bus to Nong Khiaw from Luang Prabang.

The cheapest way to get from Luang Prabang to Nong Khiaw is by bus.

You can catch this local bus from the Northern Bus Station in Luang Prabang but tickets cannot be pre booked.

You’ll have to go to the station in person and buy your ticket which usually costs ~$5 per person.

These buses are first come first served so you’re not guaranteed a seat. For this reason I’d recommend arriving as early as possible.

These buses have 3 departures each day at 9am, 11am and 2pm. The buses all arrive at the Nong Khiaw Bus Station.

The journey generally takes around 3 hours but it’s often up to 4 due to delays. The buses regularly depart late for various reasons.

If the bus isn’t full then you’ll often find that they wait until more people arrive.

Similar to the minivans, these buses don’t usually stop along the way so make sure you go to the bathroom beforehand and try not to drink too many liquids.

You will save a bit of money by taking the local bus over the minivan but the main downside is that you cannot pre book so you might not get a seat (and I’d hate to have to stand for 3 – 4 hours).

Taxi From Luang Prabang To Nong Khiaw

Key things to know about taking a taxi to Nong Khiaw from Luang Prabang.
Key things to know about taking a taxi to Nong Khiaw from Luang Prabang.

The only other way to get to Nong Khiaw from Luang Prabang is by taxi. Although this is the most comfortable and convenient option, it is also the most expensive.

You also won’t save any time by taking a taxi as it still takes 3 hours to reach Nong Khiaw.

A private taxi from Luang Prabang to Nong Khiaw will cost between $120 and $150. This is the total cost per car and not per passenger.

There are a few advantages of taking a taxi over the bus:

  • You can stop whenever you want to get some food, visit a restroom or take in the stunning views.
  • The taxi will pick you up and drop you off at your hotel so no pulling your luggage around town.
  • A taxi provides a more peaceful atmosphere so you can rest and relax without loads of noise.

If you’d prefer to take a taxi but just can’t justify the price then I’d recommend trying to find another backpacker to split the cost with.

You’ll find loads of backpackers in Luang Prabang and many will be up for heading to Nong Khiaw as it’s pretty scenic. 

Uber doesn’t operate in Laos at the moment so the main way to get a taxi is by simply hailing one down.

Lao taxi drivers are generally really nice but you may find the odd one who will try to overcharge you. Definitely don’t pay more than $150 (and ideally less). 

It helps if you learn a few phrases in Lao as this shows that you know Laos well so they’ll be less likely to try and rip you off.

There is also a local ride-sharing app that you can try called Loca. It works just like Uber.

Getting Around Nong Khiaw

Location of the bus station in Nong Khiaw.
Location of the bus station in Nong Khiaw.

If you arrive by bus or minivan then you’ll be dropped off at the Nong Khiaw Bus Station which sits on the edge of the town.

The minivans will usually drop you off at the minivan station but it’s right next to the bus station anyway.

Nong Khiaw is a small town so once you arrive you can probably just walk on foot to your hotel. 

Most hotels are within a 15 minute walk from the bus station. If you have a lot of luggage and can’t manage it then you can just grab a tuk tuk to your hotel instead.


And that’s it!

Thanks for reading this post on how to get from Luang Prabang to Nong Khiaw in Laos.

If you need any help planning your itinerary then check out my ultimate Laos bucket list which includes 27 amazing things to do in Laos.

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Megan

Megan Jones is a travel expert and founder of Traveller's Elixir, who has been travelling the world full time since 2021. Megan's travel tips been featured in numerous media outlets including Metro, Timeout, Thrillist and more.

Learn more about the Traveller's Elixir Team.

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