Laos Border Crossing Points and Checkpoints

laos border crossing points

While some tourists choose to enter Laos from one of its international airports, others prefer to do so by land or by water. Entering Laos generally involves queueing at the border for a visa on arrival.

However, visitors from eligible countries wishing to enjoy their time in Laos are advised to apply for a Laos eVisa online, in order to avoid long queues, quickening their entry into the country.

Also, depending on their country of origin, travelers going to Laos should investigate the need for any vaccinations for entry to Laos. These should be reviewed with a healthcare practitioner several weeks in advance in order to take the necessary health precautions.

Nevertheless, tourists should have a clear plan for their arrival destination in the country. To help make this easier, the following article details the main air, land and river entry points into Laos.

Entering Laos by Air

International travelers may fly in Laos through one of its four international airports.

There are different types of Laos business visas depending on whether a traveler is doing volunteer work, research, diplomatic work, etc. Foreign visitors entering Laos for business, work, or investment are required to carry a valid business visa for Laos at their arrival

It is important to remember that only 3 airports accept holders of the Laos eVisa at present time. They are:

  • Wattay International Airport
  • Luang Prabang International Airport
  • Pakse International Airport

Laos International Airports:

The first  2 airports on the list below allow passport holders from 180 eligible countries to enter Laos by presenting an eVisa for Laos to avoid waiting in line.

Applying for an online visa for Laos is straightforward and highly advisable for travelers flying into one of these two airports in order to save time and to avoid bureaucracy.

Nonetheless, all of the airports below still allow visitors to apply for a Laos visa on arrival, which usually involves long waits at immigration.

  • Wattay International Airport (entry available with the Laos online visa)
  • Luang Prabang International Airport (entry available with the Laos online visa)
  • Pakse International Airport (entry available with the Laos online visa)
  • Savannakhet International Airport

Airlines Flying to Laos

There are currently 10 airlines that fly into Laos. Check with a trusted travel agent in order to find the one that best suits your needs.

If you are flying in to Laos for tourism purposes, make sure to apply for a tourist eVisa for Laos while planning your trip.

  • China Eastern Airlines
  • China Southern Airlines
  • Sichuan Airlines
  • Thai Airways
  • Vietnam Airlines
  • Hainan Airlines
  • Bangkok Airways
  • Thai Smile Air
  • Jeju Air
  • Air Busan

Crossing the Border to Enter Laos by Land or Water

Laos shares multiple entry points by land, or by river, with Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, China and Vietnam.

Since entry points and checkpoints in Laos open to foreign citizens vary their requirements or conditions from time to time, you are advised to check this website often for updates.

Laos Border Crossing Points Opening Hours

Laos has two types of border crossings: international and local. The local ones are reserved for local residents of either side of the border.

The international ones are open to foreign nationals carrying a valid passport and visa for Laos. Make sure to check the requirements for the online visa to Laos while planning your trip.

Border checkpoints in Laos are usually open every day of the week. Main checkpoints such as Lao-Thai Friendship bridge #1 are open from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM. Other checkpoints with lesser entry traffic may have reduced opening hours so it is safer to arrive there earlier in the day.

Laos – China Checkpoints

Presently, only the Boten checkpoint issues visa on arrival for eligible foreign travelers, so make sure to have an approved Laos eVisa should you chose to cross at Lantui instead. None of these 2 entry points can grant access into Laos to holders of the Laos eVisa at present time.

There are various Laos visa types, so foreign visitors entering Laos are required to carry the appropriate visa type depending on the purpose of their trip.

The China to Laos border crossing points include:

  • Lantui checkpoint in Phongsaly
  • Boten checkpoint in Luang Namtha

Laos – Vietnam Checkpoints

There are currently 8 checkpoints that allow foreign visitors to cross from Vietnam to Laos. Immigration officials at the Lalai border checkpoint do not issue visa on arrival. Foreign nationals entering Laos at Lalai are required to carry a valid Laos visa.

The main border crossings from Vietnam to Laos are as follows:

  • Panghok checkpoint in Phongsaly
  • Nonghaed checkpoint in Xieng khouang
  • Nam phao checkpoint in Bolikhamxay
  • Na pao checkpoint in Khammouane
  • Daensavan checkpoint in Savannakhet
  • Nam soy checkpoint in Houaphanh
  • Phoukeua checkpoint in Eutapeu
  • Lalai checkpoint in Salavan

Laos – Cambodia Checkpoints

The visa on arrival is available at the Laos-Cambodia border checkpoint. Nevertheless, visitors from eligible countries who wish to avoid queueing, may apply for an online electronic visa in advance.

There is currently only one checkpoint open to international travelers entering Laos from Cambodia. There used to be a second checkpoint at a river crossing a few hundred meters away from the one below, however, it no longer allows foreign visitors into Laos.

The main Cambodian checkpoint is:

  • Veunkham checkpoint in Champasak

Laos – Thailand Checkpoints

Most border crossing points between Laos and Thailand offer Laos visa on arrival. Immigration authorities at Pakxan and Phoudou do not issue visas on arrival for Laos.

International travelers are advised to take the necessary precautions and request a Laos eVisa beforehand if they are planning to enter Laos using the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge I or II.

  • Friendship bridge IV checkpoint in Bokeo
  • Samliemkham checkpoint in Bokeo
  • Friendship bridge I checkpoint in Vientiane
  • Tanalaeng checkpoint in Vientiane
  • Pakxan checkpoint in Bolikhamxay
  • Friendship bridge III checkpoint in Khammouane
  • Friendship bridge II checkpoint in Savannakhe
  • Vang tao checkpoint in Champasak
  • Nam Ngeun checkpoint in Xayabouly
  • Namheuang checkpoint in Xayabouly
  • Phoudou checkpoint in Xayabouly

Laos – Myanmar Checkpoints

At the present moment, there are 2 international border crossing points that allow foreign visitors to enter Laos from Myanmar. Laos visa on arrival is not available at the Meuang Mom checkpoint. International tourists from eligible countries may ensure their entry by applying for a Laos visa should they wish to cross at the Meuang Mom checkpoint.

  • Meuang Mom checkpoint in Bokeo
  • Samliemkham checkpoint in Bokeo

Which Ports of Entry Accept the Laos eVisa?

Citizens of up to 180 countries, including all EU countries, Canada, USA and Australia, can now apply for a Laos eVisa from the comfort of their home. This electronic authorization allows them a 30-day stay in this beautiful country in Southeast Asia.

The Laos eVisa is currently valid across 5 designated entry ports:

  • Wattay International Airport (Vientiane Capital)
  • Luang Prabang International Airport  (Luang Prabang Province)
  • Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge I (Vientiane Capital)
  • Pakse International Airport (Champasak Province)
  • Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge II (Savannakhet Province)

It is believed that the number of entry points accepting the Laos online visa will grow as the systems for processing this type of electronic visa are implemented in the rest of international entry points into Laos.

Border Crossing Information During COVID-19

In light of the global spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) the government of Laos has implemented measures to contain the outbreak and protect the safety of its citizens and those on its territory.

The following Laos border restrictions and procedures were approved:

  • Most land border crossings are to remain closed
  • Entry to Laos is only possible in very specific circumstances
  • Most international flights are suspended
  • Air passengers must have a negative PCR test for coronavirus taken at most 72 hours prior to departure
  • Passengers who do cross the border may undergo COVID-19 testing and mandatory 14-day quarantine

Where can you cross a land border with Laos during coronavirus?

Some border crossings are being reopened in an effort to help the economy by enabling international trade of goods. Here is a list of open border crossing points:

  • Nongmar customary border crossing in the Khammuan province
  • Ban Vang local border crossing in the Vientiane province
  • Thasa-ath customary border crossing in the Borikhamxay province (only for the import of materials and equipment needed for construction of the Nam Theun 1 hydropower plant. It will be closed afterward)
  • Panghay local border crossing in the Luang Namtha province (from the 1st of November 2020 to June 30th, 2021)

This is an ongoing situation and travelers should keep up to date and check official announcements frequently.