China – Laos Railway

Linking Yuxi in southwest China and the Lao capital Vientiane, the China-Laos railway is expected to be fully operational in December 2021. Construction of the Laos-China railway began in December 2016, and is now more than 20% complete, according to government media reports. With a total length of 635 kilometer, it will run about 10 hours. The railway – which will eventually run from Kunming in southwestern China through Laos, Thailand, and Malaysia to Singapore – is a key component of China’s signature global infrastructure plan, the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative.

Sections of China – Laos Railway

Kunming-Mohan 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

Vientiane–Boten Railway (often referred to as the China-Laos Railway) is a 414 kilometres (257 mi) 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 instandard gauge railway under construction in northern Laos, between the capital Vientiane and the small town of Boten on the border with China.

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. 

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
3U8710 Vientiane-Kunming Sichuan Airlines 10:30 13:15 1h45m
MU2590 Vientiane-Kunming China Eastern Airlines 10:50 13:25 1h35m
MU2590 Vientiane-Kunming China Eastern Airlines 15:50 18:30 1h40m
QV815 Vientiane-Kunming Laos Airlines 07:25 09:50 1h25m
MU2562 Luang Prabang-Kunming China Eastern Airlines 15:45 18:00 1h15m

Laos-Yunnan Coaches

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.

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:

Yunnan Travel by Air

Rail Transport in Yunnan

Roads in Yunnan