Gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage listed Luang Prabang, the city’s international airport is located just 4 kilometers from the centre of town. Currently the airport is only able to accommodate smaller aircraft but after a runway extension programme started in 2011 is completed in 2013 the airstrip will be appropriate for larger aircraft. The terminal building is rather old looking and somewhat run-down but it is reported to be one of the friendliest airports in the world and the facilities are limited but adequate as it is unlikely you will be spending too much time on stop-over in Luang Prabang. The airport hosts regular scheduled flights for Bangkok Airways, Lao Airlines and Vietnam Airlines.
Arriving in Luang Prabang you disembark right onto the tarmac and walk straight into the customs clearance area. If you need to apply for a visa-on-arrival head to the signed desk, submit your application form (which you can download prior to travel), your passport, two passport photos and US$20-45 depending on your nationality. US, UK and European nationals are charged US$35.00 while people from Canada are charged US$42.00. Swedes pay US$31.00 and Australians can purchase the visa for US$30.00. This must be paid in US dollars or Thai baht. The visa is good for 30 days. The application will only take a few minutes then you should go through passport control. The baggage claim area is just through passport control. There is only one luggage belt so you may have to wait a while for your baggage to come through. Be sure to have the baggage stub you received at check in to give the attendant before you can exit. Once you exit the arrivals gate you’ll find yourself in a car park and you’ll see a currency exchange on your right. Please note that only major currencies and Thai baht are accepted here. You will also find a host of taxis and touts offering you a ride into town.
The departure procedure here is a little different from most airports. You will have to pass a security clearance when entering the airport before you find your check in desk. After checking in, you wait in the waiting area for your gate to open. When the gate opens you go through immigration passport control and enter another waiting area. From here you get a nice view of the planes and the runway.
Transport Options (how to get to your hotel)
When you exit the arrivals gate you will enter a car park where a hive of people are waiting to provide hotel pick ups and plenty of taxis await. The standard taxi fare into the city is US$5.00 and it is only a 20 to 30-minute journey.
Eating & Drinking
There is a restaurant located in the car park of the Luang Prabang International Airport so if you are hungry it might pay to eat here before checking in. In the departures lounge you will find one small café in each of the two waiting areas. These cafes serve only basic snack foods as well as coffee, tea, beer and soft drinks.
In the first of the two waiting areas you will find only a small café, an airlines office and the Bangkok Airways lounge. If you are a Bangkok Airways passenger show your boarding pass to the security guard and cross over to the lounge in the second waiting area. Passengers on other airlines will have to wait until their gate opens before crossing into the second waiting area where you will find only one small café and a very small shop selling jewellery and various souvenirs of Laos.