The first international cross-border passenger train services between Laos and China officially began on Thursday, with one train per day in each direction making the border crossing.
The trains operate between China’s Kunming station and Vientiane, Laos, taking 10 hours and 30 minutes, including two stops for customs and immigration checks on both sides of the border. The border crossing also entails crossing a time zone, with the time in Laos being one hour earlier than the time in adjacent Yunnan.
The Laos-China train services departed Kunming South as Train D887 at 8:08 a.m. China time. The services in the opposite direction departed Vientiane as Train D888 at 8:08 a.m. Laos time – with the number 8 being given such prominence as it is seen as being particularly auspicious in both countries, especially in China.
The railway commenced operations on Dec. 3, 2021 and has been serving domestic passenger trips and cross-border cargo transport.
Tickets for the cross-border passenger services, which went on sale from April 11, are available both on the China Railway website and on the Laos-China Railway mobile phone app. In China, tickets can be bought at Kunming Main, Kunming South, Pu’er, Xishuangbanna and Mohan stations, while in Laos they can be obtained at Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang and Boten stations.
First class tickets for the full journey are available for 760 CNY ($110.57) while second-class tickets are priced at 470 CNY.
Both a passport and paper ticket/printout will be required to cross the border, and passengers are also advised to check visa and Covid-19 vaccination requirements, with the border stations being at Mohan in China and Boten in Laos.
On the first day, the train served more than 200 passengers departing from China’s Kunming station to Laos.
The Chinese and Lao governments hoped that the cross-border train services will create favorable conditions for people of the two countries to visit and travel by rail while promoting tourism development and other industries as well as economic and trade exchanges between the two countries.
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