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New Cross-Border Service Added Amid Surge in Laos-China Travel 

Source: Vientiane Times

Two more international passenger trains have been added to the Laos-China Railway service, connecting Xishuangbanna in China and Luang Prabang, Laos’ popular world heritage town, in response to the growing interest in travel.

The two extra trains were put into service on April 13, coinciding with the first anniversary of the start of cross-border passenger trains on the Laos-China Railway.

The new service was also a fitting addition to the start of the Lao New Year (Pi Mai Lao) celebrations, which took place from April 13-16.

|The new passenger service will operate four days a week on Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The route encompasses six stations, namely Xishuangbanna, Mengla, Mohan, Boten, Muang Xay, and Luang Prabang.

The journey takes five hours, including stops for customs clearance.

Since the start of the Laos-China Railway cross-border service a year ago, almost 200,000 people from China, Thailand, Malaysia, and other countries have made train trips between Laos and China.

This has fostered economic and trade exchanges as well as people-to-people links along the railway corridor and has revitalized the two countries’ tourism industries.

Marking the first anniversary of the opening of cross-border passenger trains in a ceremony held at the Laos-China Railway station in Vientiane on April 13, Minister of Information, Culture, and Tourism Mrs Suanesavanh Vignaket spoke highly of the railway and the great contribution it has made in driving Laos’ tourism industry and the economy as a whole. The minister said that since the inauguration of the rail link between Vientiane and Kunming, the number of tourists visiting Laos from China had increased significantly compared to previous years.

In 2022, some 45,000 Chinese tourists visited Laos, soaring to 641,314 in 2023, while in the first three months of this year 242,193 Chinese tourists spent time in Laos.

Photo courtesy: CGTN