New Government Bus Service between Nan in Thailand and Luang Prabang in Laos
Luang Prabang in Laos
A new bus route from Thailand to Laos came into service in July 2016. This new route departs from Nan, a town in the North East of Thailand, and terminate in Luang Prabang via the Laos town of Xayaburi. The service will be run by the Thai state run Transport Co. and the price of the fare has been set at 680 THB one way.
Travelling in a straight line, Luang Prabang is a mere 193.53 km from Nan in Thailand. However, there is large mountain range between Nan and Luang Prabang and the bus has to go around it increasing the journey time to 6 hours. If the road was flat and straight the journey should only take 2 hours or less.
Nan to Xayaburi
The first part of the journey involves a drive due North to the Huy Kon border crossing on route 101. Once inside Laos the bus turns East and then South for the journey to Xayaburi. The total distance by road from Nan Bus Station to Xayaburi bus station is 261 km.
Xayaburi to Luang Prabang
From Xayaburi the bus then heads North East for the last 106 km section of the journey to Luang Prabang.
The total distance travelled by road we calculate as 367 km, a detour of 173 km in comparison to the distance travelling in a straight line between the two destinations. Nonetheless, a six hour journey between Thailand and Luang Prabang at an average speed of around 61 kmph is relatively fast considering the small and windy rounds that need to be negotiated for about the first 150 km of the journey. For this reason the plan is to restrict the route to smaller 17 seat buses better able to cope with the tight bends than a large 40 seater bus.
This trip sounds great to us and we will report back when we get a chance to do it. The mountains and national parks of Nan province are well worth a visit and this bus journey will take passengers through some of the best scenery in Thailand, as well as Laos.