Alternatives To Uber in Laos (Findings After 1 Year of Travel)

is there uber in laos

So you’re in Laos and you’re wondering if Uber is available. The short answer is no. But fear not! In this article we’ll share with you some great alternatives to Uber in Laos that you can use to get around affordably and easily during your stay. Why trust us? We spent the last year on the road on South East Aisa, staying in Laos for over 2 months. So, we know what we’re talking about.

In this article you’ll learn all the alternatives to Uber, how to save money using them, and the most efficient, best apps to get around.

Is Uber Available in Laos?

Uber is not available in Laos. However, there are alternatives. You can use Loca, Kokkok, or local Taxis/Tuk Tuks. We recommend using Kokkok, it’s the most reliable and cheapest way to purchase a taxi.

Are there any plans to introduce Uber in Laos? There are currently no plans to introduce Uber in Laos. So for now, just use the alternatives (they’re cheaper than Uber would be anyway)

Uber Alternatives in Laos (Ride-Hailing Apps)

The best apps like Uber in Laos are:

  • Kokkok – Best for price, but reliability not as good and only available in Vientiane
  • Loca– More expensive, but more drivers, can use in Luang Prabang and Vientiane
  • InDrive – Very cheap, but also difficult to get rides
  • Xanh SM Laos – Cheap, but poor service
ServiceShort Trip (KIP)Short Trip (USD)Long Trip (KIP)Long Trip (USD)ReliabilityAvailabilityCities
Loca30,000-50,000$3.50-$6150,000-200,000$17.50-$23.50HighHighVientiane, Luang Prabang
Kokkok20,000-30,000$2.50-$3.50100,000-150,000$12-$17.50ModerateLow to ModerateVientiane
Xanh SM Laos35,000-55,000$4-$6.50160,000-220,000$18.50-$25Moderate to HighModerateExpanding in larger cities
InDriver25,000-40,000$3-$4.75120,000-170,000$14-$20Variable (User-Driven)Moderate to HighVientiane, expanding

Loca

Loca is pretty good, it’s the most reliable and has the most drivers available out of all the ride-sharing apps. For that, it is the most expensive, but for the sake of a couple of USD, you can get a ride around very quickly. It’s also the only app that does Motorcycle taxis right now, which is a massive benefit if you’re strapped for time as Motorcyle taxis are much faster (albeit more dangerous, but more fun).

Average Prices:

  • Short Trip (within city): 30,000-50,000 KIP ($3.50-$6 USD)
  • Long Trip (inter-city): 150,000-200,000 KIP ($17.50-$23.50 USD)

Kokkok

Kokkok is much cheaper than Loca, but there are less drivers available. In Vientiane it’s pretty quick to get a ride, especially if you’re using the electric Tuk Tuk service. If you’re using a car, it takes a little longer due to the heightened traffic in the city. Unfortunately it’s not available in Luang Prabang or any other city than Vientiane right now. There are plans to expand to other cities, but this hasn’t happened yet.

In my experience, Kokkok was extremely cheap, and a great way to get around Vientiane. I used it multiple times to get from A to B (alongside a rented motorcyle). I would highly recommend it, you can pay cash or card, and the fares are extremely cheap and the availability and wait times are great.

Average Prices:

  • Short Trip (within city): 20,000-30,000 KIP ($2.50-$3.50 USD)
  • Long Trip (inter-city): 100,000-150,000 KIP ($12-$17.50 USD)

Xanh SM Laos

I haven’t personally used Xanh SM Laos, but many travellers report online about this service. Many say that although it’s reliable the drivers are pretty dangerous, they drive extremely fast, and they believe it’s due to bonuses given to drivers if they reach the destination before a certain time. So, if you want a thrilling, more dangerous ride, maybe you can give Xanh SM Laos a go.

Average Prices:

  • Short Trip (within city): 35,000-55,000 KIP ($4-$6.50 USD)
  • Long Trip (inter-city): 160,000-220,000 KIP ($18.50-$25 USD)

InDriver

InDriver is good if you want to save some cash. It works on a bidding system, where you can put your own bid in for a driver. If you get a feel for the local costs, you can sometimes get a good deal. However, for the sake of saving a few dollars, I personally don’t think it’s worth the wait times. You’re not guaranteed a driver will accept, so there is no wait time displayed to you until the driver accepts.

It’s fully possible you could be waiting for half an hour before someone accepts. Although, if this is the case, you should increase your bids. If you have

Average Prices:

  • Short Trip (within city): 25,000-40,000 KIP ($3-$4.75 USD)
  • Long Trip (inter-city): 120,000-170,000 KIP ($14-$20 USD)

Tipping Etiquette for Ridesharing in Laos

While tipping is not mandatory in Laos, it is very much appreciated. If you’ve had an excellent service experience, rounding up the bill or leaving an extra 10-20% can make a positive impact. Tipping is not a common practice in Laos, so service workers are extremely grateful when they receive tips.

Remember to say : “Khawp jai lai lai” which means “than you very much” in Lao.

How To Book & Pay for Ridesharing in Laos

Booking a ride on the Uber alternatives in Laos all follow a slightly different process, but it’s mostly just as simple as opening the app and inputting the destination you want to go. With some apps, they’ll also offer food delivery and transport services, so make sure that you select the right

Important note: if going to a hotel do not directly paste from Google Maps. Uber alternatives in Laos usually cannot find the place if you do this due to the language difference. If you have pasted from Google Maps, remove everything but the 1st line of the address, this usually finds it. If you can’t locate it (sometimes the case), copy & paste the Lao language from Google Maps.

Ridesharing Apps vs Taxis & TukTuks in Laos

When it comes to cost, the Uber alternative, ridesharing apps are much cheaper and more available than Taxis or Tuk Tuks in Laos. In Vientiane and Luang Prabang specifically, people will try to scam you quite a lot for Taxis (especially if you’re in tourists hotspots), so it’s better to use the app as they display the price upfront. After you know the prices, you’re more than welcome to use the TukTuks or Taxis, because now you know the local price and can barter (if you feel like it).

Tuk Tuks are easier to find, and outside of major cities, you’ll do most of your travelling in transport like this (or public buses in Laos).

If you’re outside of any city other than Luang Prabang or Vientiane, you’re going to have to use Taxis. Fortunately outside of the major cities, you’re far less likely to get ripped off. Laos also has great connections via the high-speed rail and the bus system.

Important note: the bus travel is extremely uncomfortable and the roads are horrible, so beware for a sickening ride. Also DO NOT GET a sleeper bus. They are awful.

Can You Use Ridesharing Apps From the Airport/Border?

Yes, you can book ridesharing apps from the airport and border in Laos, directly to the terminal, or the border (there are no restrictions like in other countries such as Uber in Thailand).

Most of the metered taxi services will try to charge you extra as a foreigner. At the Thai border crossing in Nong Khai for instance, there were Taxis trying to charge $11 USD for a trip to the centre (which is only 2km). This should usually cost half of that, especially when using a ride-sharing app.

Additionally, getting the bus from the Airport or the border is a better option. It costs around $0.80 USD for a ticket in a nice, air-conditioned bus. So we’d recommend getting that instead if you don’t have a lot of luggage.

Public Transportation in Laos

In addition to tuk-tuks, jumbo taxis, ride-hailing apps, and traditional taxis, Laos also has a variety of public transportation options that can be both economical and convenient.

Buses

Buses are a popular way to get around within cities and between different towns and provinces in Laos. Here are a few key things to know about using buses:

  • Local city buses typically cost between 3,000 and 6,000 Kip (around $0.30 to $0.60 USD) per ride.
  • For longer distances, there are several bus companies that operate routes between major cities. Fares can range from 30,000 to 100,000 Kip ($3 to $10 USD), depending on the distance.
  • Bus schedules and routes can be difficult to find, so it’s best to ask your hotel or guesthouse for assistance in planning your journey.

Songthaews

Songthaews are a unique form of public transportation in Laos. These converted pickup trucks with benches in the back serve as shared taxis, following fixed routes within cities or between nearby towns.

  • Fares for songthaews are typically between 5,000 and 10,000 Kip ($0.50 to $1 USD) per ride, depending on the distance.
  • Songthaews are a great way to experience local life and travel like the locals do.
  • Keep in mind that songthaews can be crowded and may not have air conditioning, but they’re an affordable and convenient way to get around.

High-speed Rail

The high-speed rail connects Laos and China. The project cost something beyond $5 billion USD, and is one of the cleanest, most well run railways I’ve personally used across the whole of Aisa.

The tickets are fairly cheap too at 330,000 KIP ($15 USD) to get from Luang Prabang to Vientiane. This takes a total of 2 hours, and is one of the smoothest, most pleasant journeys you’ll take in Laos (especially comparing it to the sleeper bus!!)

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