Airports of Laos
There are 4 International Airports
Vientiane Airport (Wattay) Laos
Vientiane International Airport is located 3 kilometers from the center of Vientiane, capital of Laos (Lao People’s Democratic Republic) Several international and domestic airlines operate scheduled flights from Vientiane airport: AirAsia, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Lao Airlines, Thai Airways and Vietnam Airlines A US$10.00 departure tax is now included in the ticket price
Vientiane airport terminal provides various services, shopping, restaurants, information, currency exchange, ATMs and transportation options.
The airport terminal is a modern building, upgraded in the recent years to provide a comfortable travel experience. The airport’s new international terminal is a significant upgrade from the old hall where the domestic terminal is still housed. The Carona Airport Café-Restaurant located on the third floor of the terminal building serves a good range of light meals and snacks plus coffee, tea and varieties of fruit juices. Another eatery is the Buffet International also located on the third floor which offers a nice buffet of international and local food for those who are really hungry. The restaurant also serves beer and wine as well as coffee, tea and soft drinks.
Inside the departures lounge you will find an information booth to help you find the airport facilities. There is an internet café however beware of airport prices here. There is also a post office in the departures area. There is little or no entertainment available except for a few televisions scattered throughout the lounge which air news and local TV channels. Laos Duty Free operates the duty free shops in Wattay International Airport. The shop presents a good range of cosmetics, perfumes, alcohol, tobacco and confectionary as is the usual duty free fare. There are also a few souvenir shops worth browsing to pick up some last minute mementoes of your trip to the country.
Jumbos do one way airport transfers for around $10USD; you can also purchase a taxi coupon from inside the terminal building for an alternative and economical route into the city. Tuk-tuks will also take you to and from the airport if you are happy to pay an overinflated price. The local bus is the cheapest option but you will need to walk about 500 metres at the other end. Most hotels will also be able to pick you up from the airport by advance arrangement.
For transportation back from your hotel to the airport you may need to negotiate a fee with a taxi or tuk-tuk driver.
Luang Prabang International Airport, Laos
Luang Prabang International Airport is located 4 kilometers from the center of Luang Prabang in northern Laos (Lao People’s Democratic Republic) Luang Prabang International Airport services domestic and international flights from one terminal building. Several international and domestic airlines operate scheduled flights from Luang Prabang airport, including Bangkok Airways, Lao Airlines and Vietnam Airlines. Luang Prabang airport terminal provides various services, shopping, restaurant, information, currency exchange, ATM and transportation options.
Once you exit the arrivals gate you’ll find yourself in a car park and you’ll see a currency exchange on your right. Please note that only major currencies and Thai baht are accepted here. You will also find a host of taxis and touts offering you a ride into town When you exit the arrivals gate you will enter a car park where a hive of people are waiting to provide hotel pick ups and plenty of taxis await. The standard taxi fare into the city is US$5.00 and it is only a 20 to 30-minute journey
Pakse International Airport
IATA: PKZ, ICAO: VLPS) is one of the few international airports in Laos. Pakse is the former southern capital city of the Champasak Kingdom.
Though civilian, the airfield is also used by the military. There is a security checkpoint upon arrival at the airport. Check in desks are immediately ahead. After checking in proceed through to the passport control area, one more security checkpoint then into the departures waiting lounge. Most of the guesthouses in Pakse are located within 3 kilometers from the airport and the main downtown area is just 2 kilometers away. Tuk-tuks and motorcycle taxis can ferry you into town or to your accommodations for between US$1.00-3.00. There is only a very small kiosk located in the airport so you should eat before heading to the airport. There is no entertainment or notable facilities at Pakse International Airport. It’s best to do your shopping in town or face disappointment that the airport has no retail outlets.
(IATA: ZVK, ICAO: VLSK) is an airport near Savannakhet, Laos.
This airport is now served by Lao Airlines as an intermediate stop in its 3 times/week Pakse-Bangkok service, which commenced at 2008. The aircraft used on this service is the Chinese built Xian MA60. The airline is planning to use ATR72 aircraft on Vientiane-Savannakhet-Pakse-Da Nang route
The US military has also been known to use this airport with C-130 Hercules airplanes supporting teams engaged in searching for remains of servicemen declared MIA in the Vietnam war.
The international airports at Vientiane and Luang Prabang are served by national carrier Lao Airlines and a few others, including Thai Airways, Bangkok Airways (Luang Prabang only) and Vietnam Airlines. Some seats on flights of Vietnam Airlines are reserved for Lao Airlines (codesharing / better price). Pakse is the third international airport, with flights to/from Siem Reap (Vientiane – Pakse – Siem Reap by Lao Airlines) and from/to Ho Chi Minh City.
Laos used to be off-limits to low-cost carriers, however AirAsia now flies to Vientiane from Kuala Lumpur three times a week. Another cheap option for getting to Vientiane is to fly to Udon Thani in Thailand with discount airlines Nok Air or Air Asia and connect toNong Khai and the Friendship Bridge via shuttle service directly from the airport (40 minutes); from here Vientiane is just 17km away.
If you’re coming from Chiang Mai, please note that there are no ATM or money changing facilities at the international departure terminal of the airport. If you’re planning to get a visa on arrival in Laos, make sure you get enough US dollars “‘in town'” before you leave for the airport. Thai baht are also accepted, but at very inflated rates.
State carrier Lao Airlines has a near-monopoly on domestic flights, a dodgy safety history in the past, but a good safety record now. The fairly comprehensive network is by far the fastest (and, relatively speaking, the safest) way of reaching many parts of the country. As of 2014, the popular Vientiane-Luang Prabang route costs about USD200 (one-way), but covers in 40 minutes what would take you at least ten to twelve hours by bus. Flights to more remote destinations, though, are flown on the Xian MA60, a Chinese knockoff of the Soviet An-24, and are frequently cancelled without warning if the weather is bad or not enough passengers show up.
Lao Airlines also flies 14-passenger Cessnas from Vientiane to Phongsali, Sam Neua and Sainyabuli (Xayabouly) several times a week. These airfields are all rudimentary and flights are cancelled at the drop of a hat if weather is less than perfect.
Sources for Laos Airport:
Visit Mekong http://www.visit-mekong.com/laos/laos-airports.htm
Sabaidee Laos http://www.tourismlaos.org/show.php?Cont_ID=34