Photo: Classic scenery surrounds Vang Vieng.

Laos forum

from chiang mai to luang prabang by boat

Posted by annu75 on 13/11/2007 at 05:14

hi, after my long long search on the internet, i finally found a site where you can book the boattrip from chiang mai thailand to luang prabang in laos...what do you think of this company, do you think that's a good price and reliable?

thank you for your help

#1 annu75 has been a member since 10/7/2007. Location: United States. Posts: 21

Posted by somtam2000 on 13/11/2007 at 06:06 admin

The boat trip is from Chiang Khong -- a good 5-6 hours by bus from Chiang Mai.

There's been posts in the past from people who organised this trip in advance (not necessarily through the company you mention) and were unhappy with it. Mainly because the accommodation didn't live up to expectations.

Many don't bother to book this in advance as the boats leave every morning and as long as you cross the border early you should have few problems -- especially if doing it by speedboat.

#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,644
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Posted by andreahkg on 14/11/2007 at 13:54

Hi Annu75,
I flew into Chiang Mai and booked the slow boat with an agent that same afternoon (1400thb) and we left Chiang Mai at around 9:30 that same night.
5 hr VIP van ride to Chiang Khong dumps you off at some guesthouse in the middle of the night. Accommodations are not good but it was only 50THB/person inc. breakfast and it is the middle of the night so you don't have many options. A nice, clean silk sleep sack would have been a good thing to have that night.You depart the guesthouse around 8:30am and go to thru passport control and board a river taxi that takes you across the river to the Laos side where you go thru immigration and wait until 12:30 to actually leave on the slow boat...suggest you get on the boat early to find your perfect seat. You should buy sandwiches, beer because there may or may not be Lao food available on the boat. By the way it is quite uncomfortable with wooden benches so you will want a cushion. You will arrive Pakbeng just as it is getting dark. Pakbeng guesthouses only have electricity from 6-10pm so bring a hot water anywhere. Day two on the slow boat was a more uncomfortable boat than day one and it is a 9 hour day as this boat is also a sort of taxi for locals, stopping along the way. The fast boat would cut your time but I talked to people who did it and they said it was frightening and also uncomfortable as you are cramped with no room to move your legs. But when you arrive at Luang Prabang you are happily greeted by plentiful guesthouses, Lao massage, good restaurants and bakeries, a suprisingly good wine bar (next to the Pizza restaurant) and french wine is less expensive in Lao than Thailand.
Bottom line you don't have to book your river cruise ahead of time unless you want the higher end Luangsay Cruise that is definitely more comfortable but 250USD.
Enjoy your time in Lao...

#3 andreahkg has been a member since 5/11/2007. Posts: 8

Posted by annu75 on 14/11/2007 at 23:50

andreahkg, thank you so much for you detailed info on the trip,

yesterday i think i finally found a good website with 3day/2night trip that's their

i wanted to book in advance because we will be traveling in the high season and i am afraid to land a scam or get a high price in chiang mai, or get a shitty trip...

has anyone ever used the trekingcollective?

#4 annu75 has been a member since 10/7/2007. Location: United States. Posts: 21

Posted by LaJoie on 16/5/2011 at 18:40

Hey guys --

This is all super interesting - thanks for the thoughts. I'm in a bit of an urgent situation, and would greatly appreciate some quick advice. I need to get from Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai (opposite of the above), and would prefer to take the slow boat. However, I'm nervous about safety if the boat doesn't get from Pakbeng to the border in time on the second day. As a single female, I would hate to get stuck suddenly en route.

Has anyone done this trip from Laos to Thailand, and if so, could you kindly offer the details of your trip (how much, where you bought the ticket, troubles) along with any advice on making it as painless as possible?


#5 LaJoie has been a member since 16/5/2011. Posts: 1

Posted by Captain_Bob on 16/5/2011 at 21:37

No need to book this boat trip in advance. Buy your ticket the same morning at the ticket window at the top of the boat ramp in town.

See prices here (100,000 kip to Pakbeng, same again to Huay Xai)

However, with a slow boat going upstream don't count on making Huay Xai before the border closes at 6pm. Other option, take slow boat to Pakbeng then speed boat to Huay Xai the 2nd day.

#6 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,911

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