New Possibilities: Laos Railway – EXO Travel Blog

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As beautiful and lovely as Laos is, being landlocked and lacking railway connections to the outworld has left it somewhat isolated. That is all about to change with the launch of a brand new railway. This is not only expected to spur significant economic activity between Laos and China, but also to open up some exciting possibilities for travel to formerly remote regions of Laos; making them easier, more convenient and cheaper to visit than ever before. Furthermore, while the China-Laos/Kunming-Vientiane link will be first, other routes are in the works to create a sprawling network of rails that look to revolutionise travel throughout the country.

The Kunming-Vientiane Railway:

The first route to be opened will be the Kunming-Vientiane Railway which is set to begin operations for cargo in December 2021 and for passengers at a later date yet to be defined. The 414 km railway will stretch from Boten, in Laos’ northern border with China, to the capital of Laos, Vientiane. Due to remote, mountainous terrain, construction of the route was no easy task, requiring some 170 bridges and 72 tunnels while also having to navigate the dangers of Vietnam War remnants including landmines in some areas. In total there will be 21 stations in Laos en route to the terminal station before crossing into China including:
Boten, Nateuy, Na Mor, Muong Xai, Ban NakhokTay, Huoi Phoulai, Luang Prabang, XiengNgeun, Ban Sen, Kasi, Ban Bua Pheouk, Pha Tang, Vang Vieng, Ban Vang Mon, Vang Khi, Hin Hoeup, Phonhong, Ban Sakha, Ban Phonh Sung, Vientiane Neua (Vientiane North) and Vientiane Tay (Vientiane Main Station). A further 12 stations are being planned for future development.

Travelling at more than 160km/h while cutting through mountains rather than around them, this will be a real game-changer for travel to northern Laos, significantly reducing the amount of time required to visit popular destinations such as Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang from Vientiane while also reducing cost and opening up possibilities to explore areas rarely seen by outsiders previously. We are excited to think of all the amazing possibilities this will open up for guests looking for a unique experience!

Future Plans:

Built in cooperation with Malaysia, a 220 km route connecting Laos with Thailand and Vietnam began construction in 2012 and is also nearing completion either in late 2021 or early 2022. The route would connect Savannakhet to Lao Bao and is planned to run through the following destinations: Savannakhet, Nasay, Seno, Atsaphangthong, Phalanxay, Dongbang, Xethamouak, Vangkoung, Sepon, Ban Dong, and Densavan to Lao Bao.

Additional plans are in place for routes between Vientiane and Vung Ang (Vietnam), Thakhet to Vangtau and Pakse to Veun Kham (Cambodian border). These will not only open up possibilities to explore little-visited areas of Laos, but also for new multi-country journeys.

We will continue updating this page with more information as we receive it! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected]

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