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Advice Needed: Bangkok-Chiang Mai-Maesai (Tachileik)-Chiang Rai-Chiang Khong-Huey Xai

  • Dyno

    Joined Travelfish
    24th April, 2012
    Posts: 6

    Hi All,

    Need some advises from the experienced travelers here.
    Please kindly comment if the below is feasible?

    I will be traveling from Penang to Bangkok by train, reaching Bangkok at 1030hrs.

    On the same day, I will catch another train at 1800hrs to Chiang Mai , reaching Chiang Mai at 0600hrs the next day. *(question below)

    Upon reaching Chiang Mai, I will take a bus to Mae Sai which will take around 4.5 hours, and proceed to the border, get the visa, and if everything goes well, probably I will reach Tachileik at 12ish noon and have my lunch there.

    I will leave Tachilek at maybe 1330hrs, get on the 1.5 hrs bus from Mae Sai to Chiang Rai (1500hrs) to hop on the 2.5 hrs bus to Chiang Khong (1730hrs).

    If I am able to reach the borders before 1800hrs, I will spend the night at Huey Xai to prepare myself for the 2 days slow boat the next day, otherwise I will stay at Chiang Khong.

    Questions:
    *1. I have read that the train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai tends to delay. Can anyone who took this route comments?

    2. Have anyone been at Chiang Mai at maybe 9am, visit Tachileik, and be at Huey Xai on the same day?

    Many thanks in advance for your kind advises fishers!

    #1 Posted: 12/5/2012 - 11:05

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  • Tilapia

    Click here to learn more about Tilapia
    Joined Travelfish
    21st April, 2006
    Location Canada
    Posts: 1425
    Total reviews: 15
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    At least 113

    Hi Dyno,

    You will be getting a 15-day visa when you cross from Malaysia into Thailand. Unless you really want to see Mae Sai and Tachilek, there is no reason for you to go there, especially if you are going to Laos within the next couple of days. You definitely don't need to go to get a new 15-day visa.


    Just my thoughts on your itinerary.

    Yes, the train can be delayed sometimes.

    #2 Posted: 12/5/2012 - 16:34

  • Dyno

    Joined Travelfish
    24th April, 2012
    Posts: 6

    Thank you Tilapia,

    Yes, I do wanna see Mae Sai and Tachilek as part of my iternary :)

    Hi All,

    Any advise on
    2. Have anyone been at Chiang Mai at maybe 9am, visit Tachileik, and be at Huey Xai on the same day?

    #3 Posted: 14/5/2012 - 03:19

  • Captain_Bob

    Click here to learn more about Captain_Bob
    Joined Travelfish
    27th May, 2006
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 1645

    Yes trains are often late. Don't necessarily count on getting in at 6am (7 if you're lucky). I have done your route many times (but not in one day). I live in Chiang Mai and I think you might just make it in one day, but only if the train is not too late and you don't miss any other connections. Take the 8am bus from CM to Mae Sai schedule here and make sure you leave Mae Sai by 1:30 as you described. Don't count on an immediate connecting bus at Chiang Rai you might end up waiting a half hour or more. The border closes at 6pm but it's a good idea to get there before 5:30pm as the visa-on-arrival window sometimes closes early. If you stay in Chiang Khong there is still plenty of time to get the slow boat next morning it usually doesn't leave until 11am.

    If your train is late and you don't make the 8am bus from CM the above plan won't work. If it was me I'd just stay in Chiang Khong one night. When you get into Laos slow down - things don't work like a Swiss watch over there.

    #4 Posted: 15/5/2012 - 05:39

  • Dyno

    Joined Travelfish
    24th April, 2012
    Posts: 6

    Hi Captain Bob,

    Thanks for your advise. Delays and getting stranded are expected and probably that's the beauty of backpacking lol~

    Had been going through alot of research these couple of weeks and saw some of your posts elsewhere too. Extremely informative!

    Like you advised, I am planning a contingency plan in case I don't reach CK border by 5.30pm and will stay at CK for the night. The worst case scenario is to depart from CM to CK (2h50min or 3h15min) directly :(

    Pardon me for asking more questions here to all fellow travelers as I am unable to find them online, especially for MS and CR buses-

    1) 0930 bus from CM to MS, do they only operates on Monday?
    2) If I were to leave Tacholiek at 1500, when will be the last bus to leave from MS to CR and from CR to CK?

    #5 Posted: 15/5/2012 - 06:09

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