The breathtaking landscapes and cultural treasures of northern Laos, including Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng, await adventurous travellers seeking an unforgettable journey. To make exploring this enchanting region even more convenient, the Lao China Railway (LCR) provides a seamless transportation option. With its user-friendly LCR Ticket app (Android) (IOS), navigating through the picturesque countryside of Laos has never been easier. In this blog, we'll guide you through the simple steps of using the LCR Ticket app and making Laos China Railway booking.
Step 1: Download the LCR Ticket app
Step 2: Obtain a Lao SIM card
Before registering on the LCR Ticket app, you'll need a Lao SIM card to verify your account. Fortunately, obtaining one is a breeze. If you are arriving at the main international airport - Wattay International Airport in Vientiane, you can conveniently purchase a Lao SIM card for around $2. This affordable option typically includes 10GB of data, ensuring you have a reliable internet connection throughout your journey. We had gone with Lao Telecom as the service provider, and worked perfectly fine throughout our trip across north and south of Laos.
Step 3: Register on the app
With your Lao SIM card in hand, proceed to register on the LCR Ticket app. Follow the app's instructions, enter your Lao phone number, and complete the registration process. Once registered, you'll gain access to the app's features and functionalities.
Step 4: Select your desired journey
Upon logging in to the LCR Ticket app, you can easily select the journey you wish to undertake. Keep in mind that the app displays dates only up to three days in advance. Therefore, you need not worry about making bookings until you have arrived in Laos.
Step 5: Make your payment
When you choose your route on the app, you will be prompted to make a payment, including a 20,000 KIP (Approx $1 USD) fee. The LCR Ticket app offers various payment methods to suit your preference, such as UnionPay, WeChat, Alipay, Visa, and BCEL One. Select the payment option that suits you best. Like most international travellers, if using Visa, the purchase process is generally smooth. However, if your Visa is linked to your international phone number, you may require an OTP (one-time password) from your international number or an in-app banking app authorization.
Step 6: Retrieve your QR code
Once your booking is confirmed, the LCR Ticket app will provide you with a QR code. Make sure to screenshot both the QR code and the booking confirmation. When you arrive at the railway station, you can present the QR code and your passport, eliminating the need to print any physical documents.
Enjoy the convenience throughout your trip
The LCR Ticket app continues to be your reliable companion throughout your rail journey in Laos. You can utilize the app to make train bookings for the duration of your trip. Furthermore, the app keeps a record of your purchases, accessible under the "Paid" tab, allowing you to keep track of your travel history effortlessly.
Rough costs of travel journeys
For travellers seeking to explore the north of Laos, the Lao China Railway offers convenient routes at reasonable prices. Here are the approximate costs of two popular journeys:
1. Vientiane - Vang Vieng: The estimated ticket price for this picturesque journey is around 100,000 KIP (Approx $5.50 USD).
2. Vientiane - Luang Prabang: Embark on an awe-inspiring adventure to Luang Prabang with a ticket price of approximately 200,000 KIP (Approx $11 USD).
Note: Please be aware that ticket prices may vary based on availability, type of cabin (First or Economy), so it's advisable to check the LCR Ticket app for the most up-to-date fares.
Q: Is the China-Laos railway open?
A: Yes, the China-Laos railway has been open since 2021.
Q: Can foreigners buy train tickets in Laos?
A: Yes, foreigners can purchase train tickets in Laos. They have the option to buy tickets using the LCR Ticket App, directly at the train stations, or through their hotel if the hotel provides the service with an additional fee.
The Lao China Railway, coupled with the user-friendly LCR Ticket app, provides the easiest and most convenient way to explore the enchanting north of Laos. By following the simple steps outlined above, you can smoothly purchase tickets, retrieve your QR code, save on extra costs and embark on a memorable rail journey through the stunning landscapes of Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang, and beyond. Enjoy the convenience, reliability, and breathtaking views that the Lao China Railway offers as you uncover the treasures of northern Laos.