Vietnam - Laos border tourism: untapped gold mines

27 October 2022

Vietnam has 10 provinces and cities bordering Laos, 10 pairs of international border gates, but tourism between border provinces has not yet developed commensurate with its potential.

From Dien Bien to Kon Tum, Vietnam and Laos have 10 pairs of international border gates including Tay Trang - Sop Hun, Long Sap - Pa Hang, Na Meo - Nam Soi, Nam Can - Namkan, Cau Treo - Nam Phao, Cha Lo - Na Phao, La Lay - Lalay, Lao Bao - Dansavanh, Nam Giang - Dak Ta Ooc and Bo Y - Phoukeau. Along the border of the two countries, there are also a large number of nature reserves, national forests, caves, waterfalls, wild and majestic mountain scenery.

Border tourism Vietnam-Laos

According to the assessment of more than 50 travel businesses in the South and the North who are interested in border tourism, this is a great potential to be able to develop caravan and overland tours (land tourism). These products would not only attract customers from the two countries, but also international customers from Thailand, Singapore, Myanmar, Australia, the US and Europe. But this potential has not been fully exploited or promoted into a spearhead tour for many reasons.

"If I play the role of a tourist looking for specific and connecting products between the two countries, especially border tourism, I find it difficult to find a Laos-Vietnam tour that I like. Currently, there are only a few businesses that organize this kind of thing. Cheap tours from Hanoi, Da Nang to Pakse, Vientiane, Luang Prabang... Other businesses mainly build products at the request of customers." Mr. Nguyen Anh Tuan said.

In these areas, not many companies are interested in the tourism potential of the two countries. Businesses from big cities are also not interested, with those that are, "just counting on fingers". The reason is that travel agencies and tourists are still worried that administrative procedures to enter the border area will be difficult and inconsistent. Services such as restaurants, hotels, accompanying services have not met the requirements of guests. Infrastructure and traffic are still poor, there is no connection between localities in border areas.

Border tourism Laos-Vietnam

Most of the international border gates mentioned above, only have routes from the border gate to the centre of the province or connecting national highway. The lines along the border with great potential for tourism development are almost impossible to realise. For example, from the Na Meo border gate near Pu Hu nature reserve, (Thanh Hoa) guests can follow the "Western Journey" to Moc Chau. But this route still has 5-7 km of dirt road in the forest and a suspension bridge that cannot be reached by car. That discourages tourists from making the journey to visit.

To overcome the above problems, Vietnam needs to simplify immigration procedures and mechanisms so that tourists do not feel inconvenienced in their journey. According to Ms. Ta Thi Tu Uyen, border gates need to shorten the time for procedures, have priority flow for tourists, especially visitor groups, to create favourable conditions, best for visitors.

Vietnam can easily build routes connecting not only Vietnam and Laos, but also other Southeast Asian countries. Some of the tours attracting domestic and foreign tourists are Hue - Bangkok (Thailand); Vinh - Yangon (Myanmar); Dien Bien - Nayoidaw/Mandalay (Myanmar); Hanoi - Yangon... The distance between these places are similar to Hanoi - Da Nang, or Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh City.


Along with investing in infrastructure, Vietnam also needs to take advantage of 4.0 technology in tourism development. Luong Duy Doanh said: "It is necessary to build a smart tourism system that provides accurate information on local tourism websites, launches digital maps, and a management system. accommodation management and free public wifi for guests at attractions... This will make border tourism more convenient. As a result, tourists will come more and more."

Currently, Vietnam is still a traditional destination for Lao tourists. Laos is also a favorite destination for many Vietnamese. In 2019, tourists traveling between the two countries reached over 1.2 million. In which, Laos visitors to Vietnam reached more than 98,000 arrivals, Vietnamese visitors to Laos reached more than 924,000 in turn. Vietnam ranks third in sending visitors to Laos. In 2022, since both countries reopened their borders to tourists, Vietnam has welcomed nearly 47,000 Lao visitors, while 50,000 Vietnamese have traveled to Laos, accounting for 28% of the total number of international visitors and the second largest, sending tourists to Laos.

Do not hesitate to contact us for more information about border tours between Laos-Vietnam.

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