Luang Prabang is the second most important airport in Laos and it serves as a small regional hub between Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. Less than five years ago, the airport undertook an expansion which enlarged its runway enabling the landing of Airbus 320 family aircraft. This has increased its popularity and the new flights are stimulating demand. For instance, AirAsia became the first LCC (Low-Cost Carrier) to serve this airport in March 2016.
Luang Prabang services domestic and international flights from one terminal building. The airport is located only 4 Km from the city centre.
Luang Prabang airport is small with some restricted amenities but decent service. Upon arrival in Luang Prabang, immigration officials direct me to the relevant desks for visa on arrivals. The fee payable depends on the nationality, so I had to pay USD35 for mine, maximum 30 days stay. Since they did not take cards, so the official directed me outside to the cash machines, (not before retaining my passport though). Two of the cash machines located at the airport were not working so luckily the third one did!
I then returned, fill the visa on arrival form, arrival form, and paid. The process was very straightforward and speedy. Once outside at the arrivals hall, I purchased a Laos Sim card to ensure my connectivity, cost 200 baht (they took my Thai money) for seven days unlimited. Again, a great deal!
Very basic halls with limited facilities, transport service or restaurants
There are not a bus or tuk-tuk services to the city centre (or at least I did not see one). The only options with the ticket desk to order a shared minivan to the city centre, it cost me 50000 kip (£5, COP18000)
Although Lao Airlines does not have web-check availability, my airport check-in was very quick on my flight departing Luang Prabang to Hanoi, and I cleared immigration in less than 15 minutes. Airside there are few shops selling local textiles and souvenirs and a small duty-free shop. There is a spacious seating area near the gates.
There is a VIP Loung for Bangkok Airways passengers, but from the outside, it looked pretty basic with nothing more than some chairs and free newspapers.
There is a small hall of the restaurants on the second floor, where passengers can buy meals, but nothing particularly interesting under my view.
To sum up, small and efficient, but nothing special beyond that
My Luang Prabang Airport rating: (1*-5*)
- Airport Facilities **
- Friendliness of airport staff ***
- Signs ****
- Passport Control *****
- Cleanliness *****
“I am a travel addict on the road to recovery…just kidding…I’m on the road to the airport”