Flag of Thailand

Thailand forum

Chiang Mai to Laos train or plane?

  • TommyKay

    Joined Travelfish
    2nd November, 2011
    Posts: 10

    Travelling from south to north of thailand. Planning on leaving from Chiang Mai with my next destination being Laos (unsure really where in Laos I want to start off but Vientiane seems as good a place as any). So do I use train or plane? Whats the most hassle free option in terms of border crossing? The cheaper option may also be favoured! Flights are looking to be around £200, Ive had a look on seat61 and can't find anything about travelling from chiang mai..........

    #1 Posted: 12/1/2012 - 07:07

  • Advertisement

  • caseyprich

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd March, 2010
    Location China
    Posts: 1227
    Total reviews: 53
    Places visited:
    At least 48

    Chiang Mai, I think you can only fly into Luang Prabang . Only way to take a train would basically be to go back down to BKK and then book a ticket to Nong Khai - you get off the train there and then cross into Laos. Otherwise you go overland Chiang Kong/Huay Xia. Probably the cheapest option - and you can onward travel overland to Luang Nam Tha for some hiking or take the boat down to Luang Prabang.

    #2 Posted: 12/1/2012 - 08:08

  • DLuek

    TF writer
    Joined Travelfish
    19th June, 2008
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 904
    Total reviews: 14

    Yes, no real train option here.

    Cheapest thing would be to take a bus from Chiang Mai to Udon Thani, then switch to a bus bound for Nong Khai or Vientiane . This is a rather grueling 15+ hour bus trip, however.

    Flights direct from Chiang Mai to Vientiane or Luang Prabang are very expensive considering it's not too far a distance. The cheaper thing to do is check www.nokair.com for their direct flight from Chiang Mai to Udon Thani, then switch to a bus from there.

    Alternately, you could head north and cross into Laos at the Chiang Khang / Huay Xai crossing and head south from there by boat on the Mekong. For info on that check the Laos slow boat thread.

    #3 Posted: 12/1/2012 - 09:13

  • inspiredbyk-
    rissi

    Joined Travelfish
    9th December, 2011
    Posts: 68

    I reccomend a bus from Chiang Mai to Udon Thani. Here you can change for a bus to Nong Khai and then onwards to Vietiane, Laos. Flying will be expensive.

    #4 Posted: 12/1/2012 - 10:05

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6291
    Total reviews: 10

    It's going to suck no matter what you do. Flying will be expensive, train/bus is going to take a LONG time.

    #5 Posted: 12/1/2012 - 10:45

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
    12th February, 2006
    Location United States
    Posts: 2401
    Total reviews: 47
    Places visited:
    At least 98

    TK,

    If you are already in Chiang Mai, then logistically it makes no sense to start your Laos trip in Vientiane . From Chiang Mai, do exactly as DLuek says and cross into Laos at Chiang Khong/Huai Xai. From there you can work your way south through the country, with a stopover in Vientiane on the way. Cheers.

    #6 Posted: 12/1/2012 - 13:23

  • n8sand

    Joined Travelfish
    18th December, 2010
    Location United States
    Posts: 13
    Total reviews: 3

    They are right. Start north and work your way south. You'll be much happier if you travel bit by bit in Laos. Plus, the north is not to be missed. You'll see an amazing part of the country.

    #7 Posted: 12/1/2012 - 23:50

  • Captain_Bob

    Click here to learn more about Captain_Bob
    Joined Travelfish
    27th May, 2006
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 1592

    Ditto the above, get a bus or minivan from Chiang Mai to Chiang Khong then work your way through the north and down. This is more logical and very easy to do, you'll be in the company of dozens of folks doing same same in fact. Take a slow boat to Luang Prabang or deviate slightly via Luang Namtha, Muang Sing, Nong Khiaw, Muang Ngoi, Phonsavan (still touristy but not as thick as Luang Prabang - Vang Vieng). Entering Laos via Vientiane makes sense only if you're heading further north after (Vietnam, China).

    #8 Posted: 13/1/2012 - 23:19

  • TommyKay

    Joined Travelfish
    2nd November, 2011
    Posts: 10

    Thanks for all the advise guys I think we will definatley go with the Khang / Huay Xai border crossing and make our way down through the country, not going to miss a trip down the Mekong!
    Brilliant and helpfull advice as always, getting closer to our flight date now in October and we're getting excited!!

    #9 Posted: 8/3/2012 - 21:35

  • TommyKay

    Joined Travelfish
    2nd November, 2011
    Posts: 10

    ... One other thing with regards to this route of traveling, im under the impression that to get a free Thai 30 day visa we need to have proof of onward travel, what would that be if taking this route... ?

    #10 Posted: 8/3/2012 - 23:09

  • Advertisement

  • RACHYPF

    Joined Travelfish
    13th November, 2009
    Posts: 41

    Hi take the slow boat form the Thai/Laos border 2 days floating through beautiful scenery, dont be tempted by the speedboat and pack a jumper.

    #11 Posted: 11/3/2012 - 17:24

  • Batman

    Joined Travelfish
    11th August, 2014
    Posts: 1

    Hi folks, Myself and my partner are going traveling around SEA and have our flights booked into Thailand but I read that in order to enter Thailand you must have proof of a bus/boat/plane ticket out of the country at some stage. I have tried booking tickets online but cant seem to find a website that will allow me to book a bus or the slow boat from Chiang Mai to Loa or even any kind of transport out of Thailand. Has anyone else had this issue? Any help would be greatly appreciated.



    Thanks

    Shauna :-) x

    #12 Posted: 11/8/2014 - 09:12

  • SiamGarden

    Click here to learn more about SiamGarden
    Joined Travelfish
    20th May, 2012
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 14

    In the north of Thailand, there is also the option to go to Laos via the international Thai-Lao border of Huay Khon - MuangNgeun, in northern Nan province. From Muang Ngeun (Lao), it is possible to go to Pakbeng, or to Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng, via Sanyabuli.

    #13 Posted: 23/8/2014 - 22:46

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6291
    Total reviews: 10

    I have cross the land border into Thailand numerous times and flown in numerous times as well and never once was asked for proof of onward travel. I'm not saying it can't happen, but it would surprise me if it did.

    #14 Posted: 24/8/2014 - 10:57

  • cpicking92

    Joined Travelfish
    27th August, 2014
    Posts: 3

    MADMAC - with regards to entering Thailand via land, do you know what the current visa waiver is? Some sources say 15 days and some say 30? Will make a huge difference to my route around SEA so would love some help.

    Thanks!
    Charlotte

    #15 Posted: 2/9/2014 - 13:13

  • SiamGarden

    Click here to learn more about SiamGarden
    Joined Travelfish
    20th May, 2012
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 14

    It depends from your nationality. This nationalities get 30 days: US, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Italy and Japan

    #16 Posted: 2/9/2014 - 18:44

  • Captain_Bob

    Click here to learn more about Captain_Bob
    Joined Travelfish
    27th May, 2006
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 1592

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_policy_of_Thailand

    "Effective 1 November 2013 citizens of G7 countries (U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Canada, and Japan) can also receive 30 days visa-exempt entry overland"

    #17 Posted: 3/9/2014 - 01:16

  • cpicking92

    Joined Travelfish
    27th August, 2014
    Posts: 3

    Thanks so much everyone! :-)

    #18 Posted: 3/9/2014 - 04:04

Have questions? Jump to our menu of forum quicklinks

Add your reply

Your reply

Check this box if you want to be notified of replies.

Please be familiar with our user guidelines before you post. Thanks!

Businesses planning on plugging their guesthouse / hotel / karaoke bar should read our "Addition guidelines" very carefully.

You need to be logged in to answer an existing post on the Travelfish forums. Please login via the prompts just above and refresh this screen -- before writing your post -- and you'll be in business.

Possibly related discussions Replies  Views  Latest reply
Plane or Train? ... By Carrelas on 2 Jun 2010 4 1410 11 Jun 2010
Hue to Hanoi - train or plane? ... By dav2205 on 8 Jul 2013 1 1902 9 Jul 2013
travel between Hanoi and Hoi An, train or plane ... By AWUQ on 5 Jan 2012 10 10461 19 Jan 2012
best way to go from surat thani to malaysia? train/bus or plane ... By matimulinaris on 22 Aug 2009 2 9729 23 Aug 2009