The railway project connecting China to Laos is actually part of a larger initiative known as the Kunming-Singapore Railway Project. This ambitious undertaking aims to link Kunming with Singapore by traversing through Thailand and Malaysia along the way.
The China-Laos Railway is a major infrastructure project that aims to connect the city of Kunming in China’s Yunnan province to the Lao capital of Vientiane. The railway spans a distance of approximately 414 kilometers and passes through several major cities and towns.
Sections of China – Laos Railway
Kunming-Mohan railway is made up of two sections: Kunming-Yuxi Rail Line and Yuxi-Mohan Rail Line. Kunming-Yuxi Rail Line is about 88 km and has already put into service since December 15th, 2016 with the running speed of 200km/h. It takes about 1.5 hours. Yuxi-Mohan Rail Line is under construction with the max speed of 160/km.
Mohan (Boten)- Vientiane Railway
The construction has began on December 2, 2015 and scheduled to be completed by 2022. It is about 427 km with the running speed of 99 mph. Some 53 tunnels have been bored through mountains at a combined length of 37,314 meters, while 47 of the 167 bridges to be built for the line are under construction, according to the Vientiane Times. It’s a medium-speed train system (160 kilometers per hour for passenger trains and 120 kilometers/hour for freight).
Vientiane–Boten Railway (often referred to as the China-Laos Railway) is a 414 kilometres (257 mi) 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge railway under construction in northern Laos, between the capital Vientiane and the small town of Boten on the border with China.
Map of China – Laos Railway
Meaning of China – Laos Railway
Laos, an impoverished nation of nearly 7 million people, is looking to boost socioeconomic development through trade, manufacturing, tourism, and sales of electricity produced by damming the Mekong and other big rivers. The Lao-China railway is a signature part of that effort. This regional rail connectivity will help Laos to realise its decades-long ambition of transforming itself from a landlocked country to a land link or a land bridge for the region, creating favourable conditions for the nation to become more prosperous.
China expects to use the China-Asean railway as an alternative route for export products to Asean due to cheap transportation costs while Asean countries will be able to reciprocate. Also, it will make travel between the two countries cheaper and easier compared with the expensive air-flight and time-consuming coach.
Highlights of the China-Laos Railway
The journey starts from Kunming and passes through the Mopan Mountains, Ailao Mountains, Yuanjiang River, Lancang River, southern Yunnan mountains and northern Laos mountains. Along the way are stunning views of high mountains, deep valleys, primitive upland forests and rainforests as well as some minority villages.
Here are some of the main stops with travel highlights:
- Kunming: This is the capital city of Yunnan province which is famous for its Stone Forest, Dianchi Lake, Dounan Flower Market among other attractions. It also offers convenient trains and flights to Dali and Lijiang.
- Pu’er: This is where Pu’er tea originated from with ancient tea plantations. Taiyanghe Forest Park here has red pandas, deer lazy lorises and rhinoceroses.
- Xishuangbanna: Known as China’s Chiang Mai due to its Buddhist temples and pagodas; Wild Elephant Valley; Dai minority culture; rainforest experiences among others.
- Mohan: This is the last stop in China before crossing over into Laos. There are several ethnic minority villages around including Dai Hani.
- Boten: This marks the first stop in Laos after crossing over from China.
- Luang Prabang: Famous for being a millennium Buddha capital that must be visited during a tour of Laos. Here you can find Xieng Thong Temple Kuangsi Waterfalls morning market Royal Palace Museum among other attractions.
- Vang Vieng: Known for its beautiful scenery often referred to as little Guilin making it an ideal place for outdoor sports enthusiasts.
- Vientiane: As the capital city of Laos this place boasts Vientiane Arc de Triomphe Great Buddha Temple amongst other attractions.
Kunming – Vientiane Railway
The Kunming – Vientiane Railway is consist of three parts of railways:
- Kunming – Yuxi railway (Kunming – Yuxi train, 0.5-1 hrs)
- Yuxi – Mohan railway (Yuxi – Mohan train)
- Boten – Vientiane railway (Mohan – Boten – Vientiane train)
|Mohan Railway Station (China)||Mohan 磨憨||磨憨|
Kunming – Vientiane Train Schedule
The direct train from Kunming to Vientiane is scheduled to begin operating on April 13, 2023, according to the official 12306 China Railway. The train will depart once daily from Kunming South Railway Station (Kunmingnan) and arrive at Vientiane Railway Station, with stops at Pu’er Railway Station, Xishuangbanna Railway Station, Mohan Railway Station in China, as well as Boten Station, Luang Prabang Station and Vang Vieng Station in Laos. The entire journey is expected to take approximately 10 hours and 30 minutes.
If you want to know more details, please click Kunming (Yunnan/China) to Vientiane (Laos) Bullet Train Schedules and Timetables.
Besides direct trains, there are other trains that stop at different stations for you to choose from or stop at. If you want to know more details, please click Kunming-Mohan Train Schedules of China-Laos Railway and Vientiane-Luang Prabang-Boten Train Schedule of China-Laos Railway.
How to Book or Buy Train Tickets
Trans-Asia Discovery can help book international train tickets from Kunming to Vientiane all year round (RMB 780 per person), and can also do visa and hotel booking on behalf of travellers, and help make the connection between the railway station and the border crossing between China and Laos to ensure the efficiency of customs clearance and quality travel.
There is a bullet train directly from China to Lao: Kunming – Pu’er – Xishuangbanna – Mohan – Boten – Luang Prabang – Vang Vieng – Vientiane.
You can buy train tickets at the eight stations as list above or online. You need to show your paper ticket when you check-in.
1. Buy online with official China Railway 12306
12306 China Railway is China’s only official online train ticketing platform, where you can check the real-time train schedule, booking rail tickets and managing your rail journey within every part of mainland China and Hong Kong. It has launched English version website since November of 2020, allowing foreign travelers to book tickets directly with their passports and credit cards.
2. Buy tickets with online ticket agents
www.chinahighlights.com and www.trip.com are the two recommended and trusted online ticket agents on Trip Advisor forum. Lots of foreign travelers had use their websites to check live train schedule and book ticekt with them. They even provide ticket delivery service. You can read some reviews on Trip Advisor before using them.
3. Buy tickets at train station
You can also buy train tickets in person at any train station in China with your passports and cash. Don’t expect the train station staffs to speak any English. In Mohan, you can buy the domestic train tickets or international train tickets in Mohan Railway Station.
4. Buy tickets on a phone APP
LCR Ticket APP is the official phone application for booking Laos rail tickets. It is owned by Laos-China Railway Co. Ltd. (LCR) and offer services in 3 languages: the Chinese, English and Laotian. With the app, passengers can check real-time schedule, purchase tickets, and make online payment and ticket refund, etc. It has both Android and iOS versions. Check: LCR Ticket Android or LCR Ticket iOS.
Children who are under 1.2 meters in height and accompanied by an adult with a valid travel ticket can travel for free if they do not require a seat. However, if they occupy a seat, a child ticket (usually at half price) is required.
How to Board the Train
To board the trains, you will require valid passports or Chinese ID and paper tickets. We recommend that you arrive at the train station at least one hour before departure to allow enough time for security checks, locating your waiting room, queuing at the ticket gate, and reaching the platform to board the train. Boarding doors will close 5 minutes prior to departure, and no further boarding will be permitted.
- Adult: 20 kg
- Child (including those with a free ticket): 10 kg
- Diplomat: 35 kg
- Baggage size: the three dimensions’ total cannot exceed 130 cm, i.e. medium suitcase size, typically 60x43x26 cm (24x17x10.5”)
Folding wheelchairs can be taken on the train without weight and size limits.
China-Laos Train Features
- The article describes the features of the China-Laos train, which includes multilingual services in Chinese, Lao and English.
- The charging points on the train have both Chinese and Laos sockets.
- There are two special seats for disabled passengers with SOS call buttons.
- Five colors of Chinese knot are used to distinguish various passengers based on their needs – blue for elderly passengers, yellow for children, green for sick passengers, purple for disabled passengers and red for pregnant passengers.
- Digital luggage trackers are also available on the trains that can be paired with cell phones to receive warnings if luggage is moved beyond a certain distance from its rack.
- Wi-Fi is available throughout China trains as well.
Other China – Southeast Asia Railways
China and Southeast Asia share strong cultural, economic, and geographical connections. As a result, train travel between these regions is anticipated to grow in popularity. Currently, the China-Laos Railway and China-Vietnam Railway are the only two established routes. The China-Laos Railway will also pave the way for the Sino-Thai Railway. In the near future, it may be possible to take a high-speed train from Kunming to Bangkok via Vientiane.
How to travel between Yunnan and Laos Currently
Laos-Yunnan by Flight
There are 3-4 daily non-stop flights flying from Vientiane to Kunming and 1 direct flight flying from Luang Prabang to Kunming.
|Flight Number||Routes||Airlines||Departure Time||Arrival Time||Duration|
|MU2590||Vientiane-Kunming||China Eastern Airlines||10:50||13:25||1h35m|
|MU2590||Vientiane-Kunming||China Eastern Airlines||15:50||18:30||1h40m|
|MU2562||Luang Prabang-Kunming||China Eastern Airlines||15:45||18:00||1h15m|
The Laos – China bus service is available for Yunnan, the border province of China. Buses from Laos to China go to Meng La, Jing Hong and Kunming prefecture, in Yunnan province (the province that shares a border with Phongsaly Province in Laos). There are coaches running from Vientiane to Kunming via Luang Prabang. Six coaches are available from Luang Prabang to Jinghong city of Xishuangbanna. Please note that some of the coaches are not daily and contact us for the coach information before you go.
*BUS FROM LAOS TO CHINA
1) direct bus from LPB to Kunming(sleeper)–about 24 hours
2) direct bus Oudomxai to Meng La(day bus)
3) direct bus Oudomxai to Jinghong(day bus)–about 8.5 hours
4) direct bus LNT to Meng La(day bus)
5) direct bus LNT to Jinghong(day bus)
Transportation in Yunnan:
- Airlines in Yunnan
- Flights to Yunnan
- Airport Transfer
- International Flights to Yunnan
- Airports in Yunnan
- High-speed Rail in Yunnan
- Railway Stations in Yunnan
- Railways in Yunnan
- Trains to Yunnan
- Trans Asia Railway
- Metro in Yunnan
3 thoughts on “China-Laos Railway”
The Yunnan to Laos section of the cross-border railway is of great significance.Because it changes the way people travel and the way countries trade with each other.In the past, international travel was mainly by air, but the total time spent by air is not much shorter than that by train. Secondly, the economy class experience is not very good. Now, after the opening of cross-border trains, people can enjoy more convenient and comfortable rail travel.The second is the trade between countries compared to the three main modes of transport: air transport, the volume of freight is smaller, sea transport takes longer and rail is the perfect alternative.Therefore, the cross-border railway can promote the trade links between the five countries.And finally, the success of the cross-border railway is also a signal to the rest of the world that our country has the capacity to build a cross-border railway and that other countries can come to us if they need it
The Lao to Kunming railway is really an amazing thing, considering Yunnan’s special terrain, so many mountains and karst landforms, it would be so hard to build a railway. But at the same time, it also gives the tourists unforgettable view. In addition to the benefits of tourism, the opening of the railway also connects the trade between Yunnan and Laos, making it easier for people of both countries to buy a variety of goods.
I bought the ticket on China Railway 12306 and departed from Kunming South Railway Station and arrive at Vientiane Railway Station. As the train moves forward, you can enjoy the ever-changing scenery on both train windows and experience different cultures and customs, which is the unique experience that only train travel can bring. I cannot wait to recommend this unique train travel route to my friends and hope this comment gives you some new ideas and help.
Embarking on the China-Laos Railway was an unforgettable adventure that took me through some of the most breathtaking landscapes I’ve ever seen. This remarkable rail journey offers a unique perspective of China and Laos, allowing travelers to immerse themselves in the rich culture and natural beauty of both countries.
The train itself was comfortable and well-equipped, providing a smooth and enjoyable ride throughout the entire trip. As we chugged along the railway, I couldn’t help but marvel at the stunning vistas of lush green mountains, cascading waterfalls, and picturesque villages that unfolded before my eyes. The panoramic windows offered unparalleled views, ensuring that no scenic wonder went unnoticed.
The stops along the way allowed us to explore various charming towns and interact with the friendly locals. Whether it was sampling delicious street food in bustling markets or visiting ancient temples steeped in history, every moment was a delightful discovery.
The China-Laos Railway is not just a means of transportation; it’s a gateway to a world of cultural treasures and natural wonders. It provides an opportunity to witness the harmonious coexistence of traditional lifestyles and modern developments.
The China-Laos Railway offers an awe-inspiring journey that will captivate any traveler. With its stunning landscapes, cultural immersion, and comfortable travel experience, it’s an experience that should not be missed. I highly recommend this railway adventure to anyone seeking an extraordinary and enriching travel experience in China and Laos.”