I have seen a few questions about taking the Slow Boat (2days) or Speedy Boat from Chiang Kong (Thailand) to Luang Prabang. Don't deapait, there is a 3rd option!
We took a comfortable, spacious boat and arrived in Luang Prabang in only one day. We booked through a travel agent in Chiang Rai and it was a package deal including one night's stay at a hotel in Chaing Sean. You might be able to book the boat on it's own, but I think they are privately chartered - you would need to ask a travel agent.
Chaing Saen was beautiful anyway and the whol trip didn't cost us that much more than if we had taken the slowboat.
The hotel running the trip was the 'Chiang Saen River Hill hotel'. There are maybe other hotels doing the same thing, but we hada good experience with them.
You can see pics of the boat on our website:
Happy Travels : )
#1 JakiDL has been a member since 16/11/2006. Posts: 6
Thanks for the info.--great tip.
I'll try & find an e-mail for the Chiang Saen hotel & see if I can sort it.
Sounds like a great trip & a good idea as all the good places in Pakbeng are full early Feb.
#2 mangie has been a member since 11/11/2006. Posts: 14
Message for jakDL,
Hi. Went into your site http://twogohobo.blogspot.com/ but no results found. If you pick up this message, could you please check the address as we would love to see the pics.
#3 mangie has been a member since 11/11/2006. Posts: 14
Try adding in the www, but it should work anyway.
The site address for the Chaing Saen hotel is on there as well I think - have a look at the Mekong River Post.
#4 JakiDL has been a member since 16/11/2006. Posts: 6
JakiDL - I researched this a while ago and the price I could find was a bit prohibitive it you are on a tightish budget. You say that the boat did the trip in one day, but included an overnight stay. So isn't that two days?
#5 LancasterLad has been a member since 13/9/2006. Posts: 62
Many thanks for coming back again. Still no luck accessing your site.
Tried www.twogohobo.blogspot.com & various combo's. --no luck.
It would be useful to get into it so I can get hold of the Chaing Saen hotel.
Any suggestions, please?
#6 mangie has been a member since 11/11/2006. Posts: 14
The Chiang Saen Hotel link was dead for me too, though I could get to the blog.,
It's also worth considering the 1-day trip with the Nagi of Mekong. It's more expensive, but means you don't need to stay in Pakbeng. We booked for $80 per person to travel in January. A bit of a splurge, but we'll see if it's worth it. More info at: http://travel-thailand.com/article.php/cruise_the_mekong.
#7 roverinexile has been a member since 12/8/2006. Posts: 18
G'Day Rover in Exile,
Great idea. I've sent them an e-mail.
Do you know if the boat does this trip ever day?
Thanks for your help. --- Mike.
#8 mangie has been a member since 11/11/2006. Posts: 14
I believe they only have 1 boat, so it goes twice a week in each direction (taking 1 day downstream, 2 days up stream). I know it leaves Houay Xai on Sundays in January.
#9 roverinexile has been a member since 12/8/2006. Posts: 18
Sorry if people are having trouble getting to the blog, but the address is correct.
the Chaing Saen hotel's site is:
There were a couple of letters round the wrong way on the blog - that's fixed now.
Some other info -
The price of the trip on their site is 2,300 baht (just over 30 GBP) although we paid about 10 pounds more because we went through a travel agent.
I think the boat does the trip only twice a week.
LancasterLad - you need to stay somewhere close by the border before catching the boat in the morning, there's no way of avoiding that.
#10 JakiDL has been a member since 16/11/2006. Posts: 6
Can you tell me what time the one-day slowboat leaves from Huay Xai and what time it arrives in Luang Prabang. In order to do that journey in one day it must shift at a fair rate of knots, and navigating those waters after dark is pretty hazardous. And having asked around at several agents since arriving in Chiang Mai a couple of days ago they know of no slowboat that can do the trip in one day.
#11 LancasterLad has been a member since 13/9/2006. Posts: 62
The boat leaves Huay Xai about 8.30 - 9am and arrives about 5.30pm. The travel agents are probably telling you nonsense simply because they don't do that trip and want you to book one of theirs. Go directly to the Chaing Saen River Hill hotels website - you can book directly with them.
#12 JakiDL has been a member since 16/11/2006. Posts: 6
As per my note above, we booked on teh Nagi of Meking. In winter, it leaves at 8am from Huay Xai, arriving 5:30pm.
Need to take care with these early departures with getting across the border in time - we're planning to cross the afternoon before & stay in Laos for an early start.
#13 roverinexile has been a member since 12/8/2006. Posts: 18
I'm gonna have to eat a bit of humble pie. I've found a couple of guesthouses who are promoting Chian Mai to Luang Prabang by road/boat in 2 days. The promotional price for Nov/Dec is 2100 Bahts. Road transport leaves CM on Thursday and Sunday mornings and goes to Chiang saen via the usual Golden triangle route taking in a few sights. Overnight accommodation and breakfast is included. Assistance in obtaining a visa is included. Apparently the soft-seat (turbo-charged) slow-boat takes only 35 passengers, and even has a bar at the back.
I reckon this is an absolute bargain, particularly as it's practically a door-to-door service in relative comfort, and it cuts out Pak Beng.
#14 LancasterLad has been a member since 13/9/2006. Posts: 62
Ok, glad you got it sorted out.
#15 JakiDL has been a member since 16/11/2006. Posts: 6
This is rather confusing situation, the true Nagi Of Mekong does not operate on Friday and price does not include any accommodation at Chiang Saen River Hill.
The Nagi of Mekong only runs the one day cruise from Houi Xai to Luang Prabang on SUnday and Wednesday with guaranteed departure regardless of number of passengers.
The website of the Nagi of Merkong is www.travel-thailand.com
The registration number of the Nagi of Mekong is 073.
I am begging the operator of the fake Nagi of Mekong to change the product name, if your product is good, you can use any name but if your product is bad, it is going to hurt us.
What this travel agent in Chiang Rai does has nothing to do with our operations of the Nagi of Mekong at all.
#16 nagiofmekong has been a member since 9/12/2006. Posts: 1
NagiofMekong - I think you are getting a bit confused. No one is saying that the 'Nagi of Mekong' trip is the same as the trip run by the Chiang Saen River Hill hotel.
'roverinexile' simply said 'It's also worth considering the 1-day trip with the Nagi of Mekong'.
There is more than one way of doing the trip and no one is using your name.
#17 JakiDL has been a member since 16/11/2006. Posts: 6
I agree with JakiDL.
#18 LancasterLad has been a member since 13/9/2006. Posts: 62
we, 8 friends from Germany, rented the complete “Chiang Sean River Hill” boat for the distance Luang Prabang to Houay Xai (1 night in Pakbeng). Departure is on 7 January in Luang Prabang. Who would like to ride along, please contact me by email (fugooo >at< gmx.de) . The complete boat costs 25.000 Baht. Price will be divided fairly by all.
See you. fugooo
#19 fugooo has been a member since 16/12/2006. Posts: 2
We booked two seats to go on the cruise offered by Chiang Saen River Hill last Friday, they couldn't do the one day as promised and did not explianed why we couldn't do it. Ended up spending a night in Pak Bang and arrived Luang Prabang the next day. There were some hunbdred passengers being stranded. Any know what really happened, would appreciate any information on this. Some people said they din;t have license some say they had problem with local authority. Maybe din't pay them enough money.
#20 samuelpop has been a member since 19/12/2006. Posts: 2
fugoo, i think you are paying too much for the boat, this fair price should be around 200 dollars. go to the pier and many people will come to offer thier two days boat services at very seasonable price.
#21 samuelpop has been a member since 19/12/2006. Posts: 2
Sure, but no boat with this comfort. The indicated price is direkt of the organizer. Over a travel agency it would be clearly more expensive. If we get 20 people together, then the boat for the price in any case is worthwhile itself. I made this route already repeatedly with normal Slowboat and Speedboat. Find both however very unpleasant. For this reason this time evenly somewhat more comfort. But thanks for the information and the reference. I can report, if we will have made the route.
Greetings from Bangkok fugooo
#22 fugooo has been a member since 16/12/2006. Posts: 2
Sorry to ask what might be an obvoius question but I still can't find out how to book the 1 day boat (whatever it is called) that leaves on a Sunday. As far as I can see, the boat package operated by the River Hill Hotel runs only on a Thursday & Tuesday. The website for the Nago if Mekong doesn't have a link to book.
Thanks for any help on this - I want to take the boat this coming Sunday..
#23 londonalbion has been a member since 1/1/2007. Posts: 6
To book the Nagi of Mekong, use the contact email at the website (firstname.lastname@example.org). This got us in touch with the organisers. If you're traveling on 21 January, we'll see you there!
#24 roverinexile has been a member since 12/8/2006. Posts: 18
Thanks for this.
I managed to finally make contact with the organisers of the Nagi (which all the hotels or travel agents either deny exists or say they have no idea how to book it).
For anyone in my postion the guy you need to contact is called Adisak & the best number to call him on is his mobile which is: +6681 425 1460 or to e-mail him at: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. The boat leaves from the Houi Xai slow boat pier at 08.00. Price is US 80. You can pay on the boat. I'll let you know how it is!
Btw, I also heard about another 1 day boat, which in addtion to the Chiang Saen River Hill Resort package mentioned above is called the PHU DOI & goes on FRIDAYS & MONDAYS. Like the other one it involves a stay overnight in the Chiang Saen River Hill Resort, & costs 2,500Baht included 1 night with breakfast in Chiang Saen River Hill.
Howver I haven't double checked this. The guy who told me about it is a travel agent in Chaing Mai called Dave who can be reached on: 081-8840782 or email@example.com. He also seemed to be able to get some good sounding deals on hotels in CM and CR.
#25 londonalbion has been a member since 1/1/2007. Posts: 6
OK, one final message onthis topic from me: I have just arrived in Luang Prabang - but it took 2 days, not 1. The problem was the Nagi was delayed, so Adisak (see above) organised another boat but it was a slow boat and so had to stop for a night en route. But he was very apologetic and helpful - and hey I am here!
#26 londonalbion has been a member since 1/1/2007. Posts: 6
This boat sounds awesome. We are heading up to chinag mai for songkran and want to head over to Laos on a Monday. But can we book such things to take us from Chaing Mai or do we have to travel further north to Chiang Rai? We are having a hard time finding out how we can get to Luang Prabang from Chiang Mai. Any suggestions?
#27 djpelly has been a member since 17/10/2006. Posts: 1
Now back in London and just seen this. It is easy to get to LP from CM. You have two options: 1. Fly (Lao Air). 2. Drive from CM to C Kong & then across Mekong to HX. Then u can either take bus or boat to LP.
#28 londonalbion has been a member since 1/1/2007. Posts: 6
We got the one day boat from Houay Xia to LP last Wednesday. We stayed with the owner Udon at Baan Nai Sra Bungalows for two nights before which are fantastic, and did the trip in one day. We left Houay Xia about 8ish and arrived in LP about 7pm. The trip was a bit slower as the river is very low but the boat was very comfortable. Food and drinks supplied as well as blankets as it was freezing for the first three hours so at this time of year wear plenty of clothes. It cost about 2500 baht from memory, I cant find his direct email but he can be contacted through the bungalows baannaisra.com. This boat usually runs Sunday and Wednesday if there is demand. Cheers kim
#29 kimley has been a member since 22/10/2006. Posts: 8
We booked the Nagi of Mekong and it never showed up, leaving us stranded in Houayxai. Tried to contact Adisak without success. There didn't seem to be any other passengers waiting around, so we assumed it had gone out of business due to lack of demand. Very frustraing.
#30 roverinexile has been a member since 12/8/2006. Posts: 18
we are going to LP in jan 09 and wanted to know , if we need to stay close to the boarder the night before we catch the slow boat , or if there is a 1 day trip to LP ...and how do we book it also what days do they run the boats....and whats the cost?
I make this trip very often as a photographer.
I believe I can tell you this. The only way to in one day from / to Luan Prabang to/ from Houey Say is called the "speed boat". They are actually taxi on the river, very fast indeed, and very noisy and uncomfortable too. The touristic authorities are even trying very hard to avoid western tourist to take them. If you look a bit hard, going to the "speed boat" pier for example, it will cost you about 4000 THB for a boat / sharing is always possible.
I don't know about the cruise you are mentioned above, but there is no other way, to my knowledge, that to spend 2 days and a stop at Pakbeng for the night doing this trip. And it is also the way to actually appreciate this unique trip.
There is a simple "Slow boat" available from any agency or directly at the harbor. It is actually crowded at certain period of the year, and stopping at Pakbeng in high season can be at the least a bit rought. When I used to make this trip that way I would arrange to be able to make a run to Boomis guesthouse.
Now As I still travel at least twice a year there I can recommend a little more expensive way, but very worthy. You might want to check www.luangsay.com.
2 days, like the slow boat, but very comfortable and a cool stop at the LuangSay Lodge. It is for me always a pleasure to be there.
For the night in Houey Say, there is a one clean "big" hotel, 300m on the left inside when you come from the border/pier. last time I check it was 800 THB a night, it does the job if you did not find something more to your taste, there is room available all the time i believe... There is also Bamboo bungalows, half way, is much cheaper (300) and a very cool backpacker joint, but full most of the year.
I will update those info next time I have to spend the night there.
#32 Yorick has been a member since 23/11/2008. Posts: 9
Can anyone suggest any trips of this kind but leaving from closer to Bangkok. I don't have too much time and don't fancy going all the way to Chiang Mai!
#33 charliekbrooks has been a member since 22/9/2008. Posts: 8
I might be wrong Charlotte, and someone please correct me if I am, but can't you just catch the express fairy at the Banglampoo stop just west of Pra athit rd? I mean they are "express" should be there lickety split. Might want to check a map.
" ...any trips of this kind but leaving from closer to Bangkok..."
I agree with Somchai, The Chao Praya Express is a very nice way to visit BKK. It is literaly a bus line on the river, cheap, convenient ... you will find numerous stops along the river ... but it probably nothing like a 2 days cruise on the Mekong to or from Luang Prabang that is discussed here ;-)
A little hint toward the real stuff and help put things into perpective... Chiang Mai is 60-70 USD and one hour by plane from BKK... Luang Prabang itself no much further ... Pakse another town in Laos from wich you can find nice cruises on the Mekong is about as close to Bangkok ...
Have a nice trip.
#35 Yorick has been a member since 23/11/2008. Posts: 9
Thanks for the info. I am only flying into Bangkok though and want to get out as soon as possible and get to Laos. What do you think is the best/nicest way to get there? I would really like to do a trip down the Mekong at some point. From Laos I go onto Vietnam and Cambodia.
Any help much appreciated!!
#36 charliekbrooks has been a member since 22/9/2008. Posts: 8
Hello again Charlotte !
I believe I have seen a "to and from" page on travelfish, i can't find it anymore... But checking some websites about mekong cruises, i found this (www.luangsay.com/Laos-Map.from.to.html) i believe to be helpfull for your question.
For my taste : from BKK to Chiang Mai I love the train : night train , sleeping coach, lower bed, fan (I hate the aircon and as it is not rainning anymore you can even open the window !). departs around 16:00 or 19:00. you might want to book this a bit in advance.
Another typical way to travel from BKK is to take the bus. A lot of choice for this at the southern bus station. Don't hesitate to spend a few hundred more for the VIP ones and plan to have an additionnal sweater, it can be dead freezing in those ;-)
#37 Yorick has been a member since 23/11/2008. Posts: 9
Hey ! I finally found some more on travelfish itself ;
#38 Yorick has been a member since 23/11/2008. Posts: 9
My experience is that if you don't expose one's kids to adventure and new enjoyments, how are they ever going to grow into well rounded rationalising adults?
The 2 day boat from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang can be crowded. Given that when YOU look at photo's people have taken of the trip, and how passengers can be a bit squeezed in, ask yourself what are YOU going to do to entertain 2 young (and probably increasingly bored) kids for two whole days on a (smallish) riverboat looking at similar-ish scenery?
Or, will you leave the management of the kids to your wife, as you settle back to bliss out on the scenery?
Go look at:
Thanks, Bruce, for the quick response and for pointing me to the correct thread. I definitely subscribe to that same school of thought and try expose my kids to a lot of new and (often) challenging things. They're troopers, but it sounds like I need to give this trip careful thought. I'm not so much concerned about the discomfort: they're pretty patient. But I am obviously a lot more concerned with safety when I'm traveling with little ones, and an overcrowded river boat might be outside my comfort zone. The more expensive (and apparently less crowded) boat run by the Luang Say lodge that another poster mentioned might be a good alternative.
Then I could tune out my wife and kids and focus with a clear conscience on my beer drinking.
#41 somtamboy has been a member since 9/5/2009. Posts: 2
This has been discussed on:
From my understanding, the Chiang Saen River hotel were agents for the Nagi, which isn't now running the one day boat.