I will be taking a bus from Chiang Mai to the Laos border (the Chiang Kong/ Huay Xai crossing). If I arrive in Chiang Kong at night, after the border is closed, will there be enough time the next morning for me to cross the border first thing, and still catch a boat to Luang Prabang (one of the two day boats that stop in Pakbeng)? It seems most people cross from Chiang Kong to Huay Xai in the evening and are ready to go on the boat first thing in the morning, but I am afraid I won't get to Chiang Kong by 6 PM when the border closes. Thanks for any help!
#1 Jynne has been a member since 6/11/2009. Posts: 2
Don't worry. The slowboats don't leave Huay Xai until around 11am. Even if there are a lot of people at the border crossing (mostly waiting for visa on arrival - pay in U$D for best price) you'll still easily get a spot on one of the boats. Wake up in Chiang Kong and get to the short river crossing around 9am (border opens at 8) then go up to the slowboat ramp on the north end of town. Boat tickets are available at the ticket office there (about 200,000 kip or 800 baht to LP, slightly more if bought in advance) as well as takeaway food&drink and 40 baht seat cushions. Huddle up at the front of your boat for less engine noise, bring a good book or make friends and get ready for two dreamy days floating down the Mekong. You'll be met in Pakbeng by many touts with pictures of rooms for the midway stopover.
Great thank you. My sense was that boats didn't leave till later but I wasn't sure how long the morning ferry/border crossing would take me. Thanks & much appreciated, glad I can squeeze an extra morning into Chiang Mai!
#3 Jynne has been a member since 6/11/2009. Posts: 2
For public CM buses, there's a 8:30am direct aircon bus at Chiang Mai "Arcade" station to Chiang Kong (avoiding time-consuming Chiang Rai connections). Get there early and look for the "Green Bus" counter. It gets into Chiang Kong around 3pm so you could easily cross the border same day and avoid the morning crowds at the border, sleep in one of the many cheap guesthouses in Huay Xai and be ahead of the border-crossing mobs the next morning.