Photo: Classic scenery surrounds Vang Vieng.

Laos forum

Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang?

Posted by JamieG on 19/9/2010 at 18:45

Hey,

I am currently in Chiang Mai and want to head to Laos next week. Although I have seen many tour operators offering slow boat and speed boat services to Luang Prabang , I just wanted to find out if this was the best option?

Can anyone recommend the best way to get from Chiang Mai to Laos? Is Luang Prabang the best place to go from Chiang Mai? Any other easier ways to get into Laos from here? Any advice is welcome!

Thanks

Jamie

#1 JamieG has been a member since 5/5/2010. Posts: 17

Posted by caseyprich on 19/9/2010 at 19:31

you'll enter at Huay Xai to take the boat anyway - so if you want to go up to luang nam tha your better off not taking the boat and just heading north from huay xai - you can then take a boat down to LP if you like or go overland.

#2 caseyprich has been a member since 3/3/2010. Location: China. Posts: 1,281
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Posted by Captain_Bob on 21/9/2010 at 02:21

Your choice, fastest is by air, Lao Airlines CM-LP $150
Or package deal from CM via slow boat around 1700 baht, speed boat 2400 baht
Or do it yourself (bus+boat) for about the same money but more independence
Or take bus from Huay Xai to Luang Namtha (4hrs) Luang Prabang (12hrs)

Look at the region, see how the roads go and why the river remains such an important link. No highways blasting through to LP yet.
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4084/4975902459_b619d8316b_b.jpg

#3 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,918

Posted by exacto on 21/9/2010 at 08:42

Captain Bob,

Your bus suggestion has me thinking seriously about that overland loop via Luang Namtha on my next trip. There's a quite positive write up on Luang Namtha on Travelfish too. What's your impression? Worth the stopover?

I think if I went overland, I'd want to stop at Udomsai too. Worth a look? Thanks. Cheers.

#4 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,685
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Posted by caseyprich on 21/9/2010 at 13:22

I came in overland from China making my way down to LP in 2007, stopped one night in Udomxia. It was a good place to stop as it was getting on evening and I had been on the road for 2 days -- however, that is about the only reason I think it was a good place to stop.

Reviewed it here at the bottom of the page:
https://www.travelfish.org/location/laos/northern_laos/udomxai/udomxai

#5 caseyprich has been a member since 3/3/2010. Location: China. Posts: 1,281
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Posted by craigl on 21/9/2010 at 21:24

If you charter a realatively late model air conditioned mini van you can get from Luang Namtha to Luang Prabang in about 7 and a bit hours. If you can get 5 or 6 people together you should be able to negotiate about 1000Baht per person. It was still a long and dusty trip, but I was so happy I wasn't on the local bus once I saw the state of the roads.

Getting there the slow way once was enough for us. We just booked an airline ticket for the return to Chiang Mai.

Unless you've got a lot of time and an inflateable backside, I highly recommend flying both ways if you will only be going to Luang Prabang from Chiang Mai. Flying is relatively expensive, but consider this against what 6 wasted days of your holiday is worth to you.

#6 craigl has been a member since 3/3/2009. Posts: 5

Posted by exacto on 22/9/2010 at 00:53

casey,

thanks for the feedback and for your review too. i loved the bit where TF says that (Udomxai) "has all the charm of a major bus station." even so, it seems like it would be a good stop for a stopover. i've had quite a bit of fun in dusty spots exactly like that. regards.

#7 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,685
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