Visas and border crossings forum

Crossing from Chiang Mai to Laos

  • santsingh

    Joined Travelfish
    18th July, 2006
    Posts: 9

    Hi All, I know that there has been information given about crossing from Chiang Mai into Laos, but my husband and I are totally new to this area and would like some specific help.

    We arrive in Chiang Mai (flying from Kuala Lumpur) on Tuesday morning about 10.00. We want to cross straight into Laos. We already have our visas. Can anyone please give us detailed advice on how we would go about doing this, eg: when we get out of airport, what transport should we jump onto, where should we change transport, would we be able to travel and cross on this one day or are we better off starting very early the next day etc.

    Thanks so much. This website is fantastic and I really appreciate the effort that's gone into it.


    #1 Posted: 8/8/2006 - 18:16

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  • somtam2000

    Click here to learn more about somtam2000
    Joined Travelfish
    21st January, 2004
    Location Indonesia
    Posts: 7371
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    Hi santsingh,

    Welcome to Travelfish! -- glad you like the site ;-)

    The bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Khong takes 6-7 hours, so if you're arriving in CM at 10:00 you'll be hard-pressed to get to the border before it closes -- don't fret though -- Chiang Khong is a nice enough town for an overnight stay and then you can leave over to Laos first thing the following morning. The bus from Chiang Mai leaves from Arcade Bus station, so take a tuk tuk ot taxi from the taxi (100B) from the airport to the bus station (which is on the other side of town)

    #2 Posted: 8/8/2006 - 19:49

  • santsingh

    Joined Travelfish
    18th July, 2006
    Posts: 9

    Thanks somtam. One more question, do we 'haggle' for the taxi or just accept the price?

    #3 Posted: 10/8/2006 - 10:58

  • pauljaymes

    Joined Travelfish
    10th July, 2006
    Posts: 75
    Total reviews: 3

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    I just did this crossing two weeks ago.

    I took a bus from the arcade bus station in Chiang Mai to Chaing Rai, stayed overnight there then took the bus to Chiang Khong and crossed the border to stay in Huay Xai, but there's no reason you can't go all the way to Chiang Khong if you leave in the morning. The staff at the bus station will help you get to Chiang Khong and tell you if you can get a direct bus or have to change at Chiang Rai.

    Once over the border you'll probably want to take the slow boat to Luang Prabang as buses from Huay Xai are a slow, rough experience in the wet season. Get across the border by about 9am to get good seats on the boat, and take plenty of provisions for the journey. Once you're on the Laos side of the river someone will immediately try to sell you a ticket for the boat (800B).

    #4 Posted: 10/8/2006 - 17:43

  • mango551

    Joined Travelfish
    11th January, 2010
    Posts: 3

    Hi santsingh

    You said in your post you got your Visa for Laos before you travelled, can I just ask how you went about this, did you get it before you left the UK or while you were there, if so where did you get it?

    Many Thanks

    #5 Posted: 17/1/2010 - 09:35

  • Bassfunk

    Joined Travelfish
    24th March, 2009
    Posts: 9


    me and my wife just did this trip from chiang rai. Don't worry it's a well travelled route and really easy to do everything is in English and Thai and everything just falls into place as you go along. The visa is as easy as filling in a form and paying your money. We splashed out and took the luangsay cruise to luang prabang. It was totally worth it just to be on a nice boat with a sundeck and bar and the luangsay lodge is out of this world. There was just 5 of us on the boat and at the lodge. Good luck!

    #6 Posted: 17/1/2010 - 16:58

  • TravellingS-

    Joined Travelfish
    4th March, 2010
    Posts: 7

    I heard today that you can no longer get the boat down to Luang Prabang due to the Chinese damming the river and the river being to shallow.

    Can any one who has been through the area confirm this?

    #7 Posted: 4/3/2010 - 18:47

  • somsai

    Joined Travelfish
    1st March, 2006
    Location United States
    Posts: 567

    Check on the Laos Forum here, there are often updates, good photos lately.

    #8 Posted: 4/3/2010 - 23:45

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