Arrival by plane
Laos has three international airports: Vientiane (the capital), Luang Prabang and Pakse. We have used both Vientiane and Luang Prabang airports and found them pretty efficient, especially considering that you are in Laos. The visa process can be a bit laboured, but the people are friendly and the airports clean. The airports even have air bridges for some flights!
After the Lao Airlines ATR-72 crash in Pakse, we had been somewhat concerned about the safety of the airline. However, we flew with them from Luang Prabang to Vientiane and found their A320 service ok. It was very surprising to be offered dried fruits as a snack and water on such a short, cheap flight, the crew were friendly and the aircraft was modern and in good condition. We wouldn't recommend flying the other Laotian airlines though, as we don't feel that the planes they fly are as safe.
As in the slightly more developed Cambodia, there are no train services for journeys within Laos, although there is a train from Bangkok to Vientiane (or at least to within 15km of the capital). Departing Bangkok's Hualamphong station at 20:00, the train is due to arrive in Thanaleng, Laos at 09:20 the following day, from which it is a short tuk tuk journey to Vientiane. First class sleeper cabins provide 'beds' for 2 passengers and cost around $40 per person one way.
Within Vientiane, taxis are cheap and cheerful and cost $6 to the centre of town. In Luang Prabang, our favoured method of transport is bike - the roads are quiet and it's impossible to get lost. Large tuk-tuks, known as Jumbos, provide cheap transport within cities and cars with drivers can be hired for a daily fee of around $40.