Getting to Laos: Dien Bien Phu to Muang Khua
Getting to the border Buses from Dien Bien Phu (DBP) to Muang Khua (110,000d) leave daily at 5.30am. It’s advisable to book your ticket the day prior to travelling. This bus takes you through the Sop Hun/Tay Trang border crossing and drops you off in Muang Khua in Laos. The journey typically takes between seven and eight hours, but can be longer depending on the roads and border formalities. Other destinations in Laos from DBP include Luang Prabang (495,000d, 6am), Nam Tha (350,000d, 6.30am) and Udomxai (230,000d, 7.30am).
At the border The Lao border at Tay Trang, 34km from Dien Bien Phu, is open daily between 7am and 7pm. Crossing into Laos most travellers can get a 30-day visa on arrival (US$20 to US$42, depending on your nationality). Have photo ID and additional cash (around US$5) on hand for occasional local administrative fees.
Moving on From Muang Khua there are buses to Udomxai.
Getting There & Away
At the time of writing, Muong Lay had a makeshift bus station on Hwy 12. If you can book ahead at Lan Anh Hotel, Muong Lay is worth a slightly surreal overnight stop, but given the town’s current reinvention, a through bus from Dien Bien Phu to Lai Chau is probably the best option. If you’re on a motorbike, note that at the time of writing, the road north of Muong Lay to Lai Chau was very rough, with many roadworks for around 40km. It was scheduled to be completed around August 2014, but could potentially take longer.
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