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Local Transport

Although most town centres are small enough to walk around, even relatively small settlements often place their bus stations several kilometres out of town.


Vientiane is the only city with a network of local buses, though, with the exception of a few key recommended routes, they're not much use to travellers.

Sŏrngtăaou, Jumbo, Săhm-Lór, Sakai-làep & Tuk-tuk

The various pick-ups and three-wheeled taxis found in Vientiane and provincial capitals have different names depending on where you are. Largest are the sŏrngtăaou, which double as buses in some areas and as local buses around bigger towns. Larger three-wheelers are called jąmbǫh (jumbo) and can hold four to six passengers on two facing seats. In Vientiane they are sometimes called tuk-tuks as in Thailand (though traditionally in Laos this refers to a slightly larger vehicle than the jumbo). These three-wheeled conveyances are also labelled simply taak-see (taxi) or, usually for motorcycle sidecar-style vehicles, săhm-lór (three-wheels). The old-style bicycle săhm-lór (pedicab), known as a cyclo elsewhere in Indochina, is an endangered species in Laos.


Vientiane has a handful of taxis that are used by foreign business people and the occasional tourist, while in other cities a taxi of sorts can be arranged. They can be hired by the trip, by the hour or by the day. Typical all-day hire within a town or city costs between US$35 and US$50, subject to negotiations.