If you are in Sa Pa in Vietnam and want to go to Laos by land, most likely you will have to cross the border near Điện Biên Phủ. We decided to spend our first night in Laos in Muang Khua, as that was where we wanted to start our Laos trip. The bus you get in Sapa to Laos is the same that you would get to go to Luang Prabang and you would be separated in to a different smaller minivan in Điện Biên Phủ (small town in Vietnam next to the Lao border).
Bus Sa Pa – Muang Khua: 500.000 VND (bought at the bus station near the new market in Sa Pa. At the agencies it’s a bit more expensive)
It leaves at 6PM and takes about 9,5h to Điện Biên Phủ. It’s a sleeping bus, so it’s ok to spend the night on board. Arrived in Điện Biên Phủ they put you in a smaller minivan with all sorts of cargo.
From there to the border it takes 2,5h.
First it stops at the Vietnamese border to exit the country and that’s the best place to exchange your VND to LAK.
At the border to enter Laos there are a bunch of expenses that I write down below.
Visa: 300.000 LAK (for Portuguese; for other nationalities see the picture below)
Inbound passanger fee (foreign): 10.000LAK
Administrative fee: 20.000 LAK
Medical fee: 5.000 LAK
The border crossing took about one hour to do.
Back to the mini bus and already in Laos is time to stop every ten minutes to deliver all the goods they were in the bus before. Food bags, clothes and even a brand new motorbike.
This trip to Muang Khua took about 3 hours and we got there around midday.
Land border crossing from Sa Pa (Vietnam) to Muang Khua (Laos)
Entry point: Điện Biên Phủ
Price: 500 VND for the bus
335 000 LAK at the border
Total duration of the trip: 16 hours