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From Thailand to Luang Prabang through the Mekong river...but where to start?

Posted by vickyaj on 14/5/2012 at 16:33


My name is Victoria and Im gonna be in Bangkok for 15 days on a business trip so, what better excuse to stay in that marvellous country and explore the area for the first time! I dont have much time (only 15 days to travel around) and It´s gonna be in August, which I know is a rainy season. Still, Im planning to visit Koh Samui for maybe 3 days, Ankor Watt in Cambodia and Im really interested in visit the up north region of thailand, the one that connects it with Laos throught the Mekong River. So, my question is: If I wanna get to Luang Prabagan through the Mekong River, which is the best place in Thailand to start that road from? Chiang Rai? My intention is to Fly to that area, so I want to know which are the best places in the area to check out (the more rain foresty and in touch with local communities, the better). Besides, is it worth spending two days on a boat trip to Luang Prabang?
I know I have lots of question, but I do have sort of figured out half of my trip, but the northern area is extremelly puzzling to me still. Any advice??

Thankss in advance to all of you!

#1 vickyaj has been a member since 14/5/2012. Posts: 7
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Posted by mitl on 15/5/2012 at 04:55

I believe you can fly directly from Bangkok to Luang Prabang, try Thai Air and others. However, I have twice visited Laos by crossing the "Friendship" Bridge over the Mekong river at Nong Khai in Thailand. Once in Laos, you need to obtain a visa and the fee has to be paid in cash in US dollars.
Then head for Vientiane by taxi (25 minutes?) and from there you can get transport to Luang Prabang....about 4-6 hours.

#2 mitl has been a member since 22/3/2009. Location: Thailand. Posts: 4
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Posted by Captain_Bob on 15/5/2012 at 05:17

Fly to Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai and get a bus to Chiang Khong, cross the river to Huay Xai in Laos (visa on arrival $30-42 depending on your nationality). Slow boats leave Huay Xai every morning around 11am and cost is around 200,000 kip ($25). It stops overnight at Pakbeng which has plenty of cheap guesthouses. You arrive in Luang Prabang around 5pm the 2nd day. Hundreds of people do this trip daily. Take off your watch and get into a meditative state of mind, or bring a good book or sit next to someone good looking and/or interesting.

map here

#3 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,950

Posted by vickyaj on 15/5/2012 at 07:43

Hey1 Thank you both so much for your help, it really is tricky for me to decide what to do when I only have a few days! Now That I have your comments at hand, I have just one other questión? What´s better? Use my time to go around Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai and visit the north or go by boat to Luang Prabang ? Because the real intention behind getting on the boat was actually enjoying the boat ride, taking a look at different small towns, but if it´s really a hassle maybe it won´t be as enjoyable as I thought. What do you think? Head to Luang Prabang or stay up north in Thailand?
Thank you somuch again!

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Posted by Captain_Bob on 16/5/2012 at 01:55

You should allow at least around 5 days if going from CM to LP including the boat trip and some time in/around LP, then figure out how you're getting back to Bangkok(?) probably via Vientiane so add another couple days to get down there unless flying. If time is limited maybe stay in Thailand and go north of Chiang Mai for a couple days. You can do a nice one-day boat trip from Thaton to Chiang Rai or vise-versa, or go to Chiang Dao and stay at Chiang Dao Nest or Malee Nature Bungalows for some relaxing nature walks, or maybe up to Pai or Soppong and do some bicycling or caving. Plenty of places to get out of the city and off the tourist trail for a couple days.

#5 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,950

Posted by vickyaj on 16/5/2012 at 07:29

Thank you soo much! I think you´re right, Im gonna stay north of thailand, visit Chianf Mai and surrounding places like Mae Hon Son, Pai and do lots of trekking and bicycling... I rather do than that than be running around like crazy t make it to places. Thank you all so much for you help, my trip to Thailand is finally getting organized!!

#6 vickyaj has been a member since 14/5/2012. Posts: 7
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