Would anyone be able to tell me how long it takes by road from Chiang Mai to the border crossing with Laos at Chiang Khong/Huay Xai. Is approx 7 hrs about right?? I'm trying desperately to see if i can fit in the gibbon experience into a 3 weeks whistle stop tour.
Can it be done in a day and do ferries cross the river run into the evening as i think we'll need to stay in Huay Xai for the night and then go onto the gibbon experience in the mornin and then onto Luang Prabang.
Any help appreciated.
We did the journey in reverse, but it took about 5.5hours, including a stop for dinner - this was on a minibus service operated by some guesthouse (can't remember the name as we didn't stay there once we'd arrived!). I guess by public bus, somewhere between 6-7 hours would be about right.
The border is only open between 08:00 and 18:00, but they will probably charge an overtime fee equivalent to around 15B if you arrive on a weekend or after 16:00. Whenever the border is open, boats regualarly ferry people from one side of the river to the other.
You leave Thailand on one side of the river, catch the ferry to the other side where you enter Laos!
So to answer your question, yes, you probably could just about get from Chiang Mai to Huay Xai in a day, but if it doesn't go quite according to schedule you may get stuck in Chiang Khong for the night and have to enter Laos first thing the next day.