I'm travelling to Hanoi where I might buy a motorbike and hang around Hanoi and Halong Bay for a week, I need to then get to either to Vientiane or Phnom Penh both of which I've allowed a week before heading across into Thailand.
Question is the best way to do it?
Am I best to avoid a buying a bike and go by public transport and hire bikes when I reach these destinations or can I transport my bike on the train?
What's the best route to travel given my time constraints, Vientiane then Phnom Penh or the other way around, what train or bus or flight options would you suggest.
After Cambodia or Loas I then need to get to Chiang Mai, so flight will be needed, again where am I he's to fly out of?
#1 TonyM has been a member since 22/5/2012. Posts: 31
The bike will be "illegal" as in not registered in your name, so bringing it across the borders will likewise be illegal, but people do it anyway by crossing at a quiet checkpoint and probably paying some pocket money. You might get spot-checked as well while riding through Laos (Cambodia seems less threatening in this regard) and have to pay more bribes. Whether or not it's worth the hassle is a matter of opinion. As for transport by train there aren't any in Laos and Cambodia. You can transport a motorbike by train in Thailand but it must be registered legally in your name.
As for getting to Chiang Mai you don't necessarily need to fly although it saves time. Anyway Luang Prabang to CM 1 flight daily on Lao Airlines 1 hour about $160. Or Phnom Penh - Bangkok - CM on Air Asia. Alternatively overland from LP to CM takes about 2-3 days (up the Mekong by boat, bus to CM) or Siem Reap - Bangkok take about 7-8 hours (shared taxi - tuktuk - bus) then plenty of buses and train options to CM.
Thanks for the info, very informative, the boat ride up the Mekong to CM sounds like a great option, is it worth doing?
#4 TonyM has been a member since 22/5/2012. Posts: 31
^^In particular I'd say it's worth doing in the upstream direction (LP to Huay Xai) as opposed to the more popular/packed downstream mode. In Luang Prabang go to the boat ramp in town the morning you want to go around 8am and buy the ticket (should be about 200,000 kip or $25). Upriver for 6 hours (bring extra food/drink/book/pillow) to Pakbeng, find a cheap room, then day-2 to Huay Xai, cross the border before 6pm if possible then buses to Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai. A nice journey if not in a big hurry.
Excellent, thanks for the great advice Captain Bob, you are the man...
#6 TonyM has been a member since 22/5/2012. Posts: 31
Hi all, Captain Bob just thinking if I cross into Thailand by land based on your suggestion in this forum I only get a 15 dy visa, fly in and get 30 days which I need given I intend staying there for 4 weeks however the boat ride up the Mekong really appeals to me, any suggestions?
#7 TonyM has been a member since 22/5/2012. Posts: 31
Hi Tony, if you're passing through Vientiane on your travels you could get a tourist visa at the Thai consulate there. This gets you a 60-day entry (by land or air) and is the only way to get more than 15 days by land entry. Getting the visa takes two days; apply 830am pickup next day 1pm (Monday-Friday only) cost is 1000 baht for single entry. You get a 90-day window to use the visa so no need to hurry.
The alternative is arrive without the visa, get 15 days visa-exempt, then do another border hop at the end of that to get 15 more. Hope this helps.