The Lao-China Railway officially launched a cross-border passenger train on 13 November connecting Vientiane Capital, Laos, to China’s capital Beijing.
According to China’s government website, the round trip between Vientiane Capital and Beijing will take up to 15 days, covering an approximate distance of 3,660 Km.
The route will pass by tourist attractions in China such as Xishuangbanna in Yunnan Province and Chibi City in Hubei Province, and in Laos, including Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng.
The official first journey of the Vientiane-Beijing train took off on Monday from the Fengtai Railway Station in China and will travel along the Beijing-Guangzhou and Shanghai-Kunming train lines. Following its arrival to Kunming, the train will cross over the border into the Lao-China railway (LCR).
Since its introduction on 3 December 2021, the LCR has become crucial for the regional trade and Laos’ economic development. As of September this year, the railway has facilitated over 3.1 million passengers, with daily numbers averaging 4,889. It also transported more than 26.8 million tons of cargo, including agricultural products, rare and precious metals and minerals, and manufactured goods.
A New Trade Hub
This success caught the attention of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, which plans to incorporate the LCR into its 2024 strategic direction. This initiative is expected to open up new opportunities for cross-border tourism, and foster economic growth.
Cambodia has also shown interest in the LCR, as the country is taking steps to improve the transportation of Cambodian agricultural products to Chinese markets,according to Kong Vimean, a spokesperson for Cambodia’s Ministry of Public Works and Transport.
The proposed route will begin in Phnom Penh and traverse Kampong Cham, Tbong Khmum, Kratie, and Stung Treng provinces before entering Laos and moving onward to China, with the expectation of lowered transport costs and simplified procedures, unlike those faced when transporting through Thailand or Vietnam.