Travelling from south to north of thailand. Planning on leaving from Chiang Mai with my next destination being Laos (unsure really where in Laos I want to start off but Vientiane seems as good a place as any). So do I use train or plane? Whats the most hassle free option in terms of border crossing? The cheaper option may also be favoured! Flights are looking to be around £200, Ive had a look on seat61 and can't find anything about travelling from chiang mai..........
#1 TommyKay has been a member since 2/11/2011. Posts: 12
Chiang Mai, I think you can only fly into Luang Prabang . Only way to take a train would basically be to go back down to BKK and then book a ticket to Nong Khai - you get off the train there and then cross into Laos. Otherwise you go overland Chiang Kong/Huay Xia. Probably the cheapest option - and you can onward travel overland to Luang Nam Tha for some hiking or take the boat down to Luang Prabang.
Yes, no real train option here.
Cheapest thing would be to take a bus from Chiang Mai to Udon Thani, then switch to a bus bound for Nong Khai or Vientiane . This is a rather grueling 15+ hour bus trip, however.
Flights direct from Chiang Mai to Vientiane or Luang Prabang are very expensive considering it's not too far a distance. The cheaper thing to do is check www.nokair.com for their direct flight from Chiang Mai to Udon Thani, then switch to a bus from there.
Alternately, you could head north and cross into Laos at the Chiang Khang / Huay Xai crossing and head south from there by boat on the Mekong. For info on that check the Laos slow boat thread.
It's going to suck no matter what you do. Flying will be expensive, train/bus is going to take a LONG time.
#5 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
If you are already in Chiang Mai, then logistically it makes no sense to start your Laos trip in Vientiane . From Chiang Mai, do exactly as DLuek says and cross into Laos at Chiang Khong/Huai Xai. From there you can work your way south through the country, with a stopover in Vientiane on the way. Cheers.
Ditto the above, get a bus or minivan from Chiang Mai to Chiang Khong then work your way through the north and down. This is more logical and very easy to do, you'll be in the company of dozens of folks doing same same in fact. Take a slow boat to Luang Prabang or deviate slightly via Luang Namtha, Muang Sing, Nong Khiaw, Muang Ngoi, Phonsavan (still touristy but not as thick as Luang Prabang - Vang Vieng). Entering Laos via Vientiane makes sense only if you're heading further north after (Vietnam, China).
Thanks for all the advise guys I think we will definatley go with the Khang / Huay Xai border crossing and make our way down through the country, not going to miss a trip down the Mekong!
Brilliant and helpfull advice as always, getting closer to our flight date now in October and we're getting excited!!
#9 TommyKay has been a member since 2/11/2011. Posts: 12
... One other thing with regards to this route of traveling, im under the impression that to get a free Thai 30 day visa we need to have proof of onward travel, what would that be if taking this route... ?
#10 TommyKay has been a member since 2/11/2011. Posts: 12
Hi take the slow boat form the Thai/Laos border 2 days floating through beautiful scenery, dont be tempted by the speedboat and pack a jumper.
#11 RACHYPF has been a member since 13/11/2009. Posts: 42
Hi folks, Myself and my partner are going traveling around SEA and have our flights booked into Thailand but I read that in order to enter Thailand you must have proof of a bus/boat/plane ticket out of the country at some stage. I have tried booking tickets online but cant seem to find a website that will allow me to book a bus or the slow boat from Chiang Mai to Loa or even any kind of transport out of Thailand. Has anyone else had this issue? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
#12 Batman has been a member since 11/8/2014. Posts: 1
In the north of Thailand, there is also the option to go to Laos via the international Thai-Lao border of Huay Khon - MuangNgeun, in northern Nan province. From Muang Ngeun (Lao), it is possible to go to Pakbeng, or to Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng, via Sanyabuli.
I have cross the land border into Thailand numerous times and flown in numerous times as well and never once was asked for proof of onward travel. I'm not saying it can't happen, but it would surprise me if it did.
#14 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
MADMAC - with regards to entering Thailand via land, do you know what the current visa waiver is? Some sources say 15 days and some say 30? Will make a huge difference to my route around SEA so would love some help.
"Effective 1 November 2013 citizens of G7 countries (U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Canada, and Japan) can also receive 30 days visa-exempt entry overland"