Many travellors entering Laos at Chiang Khong - Huey Xai will depart Chiang Mai on a direct bus to Chiang Khong.
If you choose a 'direct' or VIP bus to Chiang Khong from Chiang Mai (as a journey, its a good option), make sure you get the ticket seller to write "Thailand Immigration Office" as the destination point.
There is now a bit of a scam wherein the bus will only take passengers to a guest house near the edge of town. The passengers are somewhat stranded, and so rest on the kindly guest house operator to 'arrange' transport to the 'Thailand Immigration Office' (obviously at great expense).
So, if you choose the 'direct' or 'VIP' bus option, ensure you get the ticket seller to write on the ticket that the bus driver MUST take you to the 'Thailand Immigration Office' in Chiang Mai.
20 April 2009
never heard of any public buses stopping at the Chiang Khong immigration office.
buses from Chiangrai deposit passengers at the market at the south end of Chiang Khong, simply cos that's where the 'bus terminal' is. think the buses from Chiangmai & BKK terminate near an ESSO gas station just across the road from that market. from there, a 20 baht (maybe more now) samlor ride to the border crossing at the north end of town. scam-free.
also, thought the buses from Chiangmai Arcade bus station to Chiang Khong are run by Green Bus company (www.greenbusthailand.com), which issues computer printed tickets even for the ordinary rickety non-AC buses...nothing handwritten by ticket sellers. did you buy your ticket from the bus station or through an agent?
Chiang Khong map: http://hobomaps.com/CKhongHuayXaiMap.htm
Captain Bob's photos from 2008:
Chiang Khong samlors - http://www.iantaylor.org/0808_chiangkongphayao/0808_chiangkong045a.jpg
boat & bag fee - http://www.iantaylor.org/0808_chiangkongphayao/0808_chiangkong059a.jpg
We are commenting on TWO DIFFERENT forms of bus travel.
You are commenting on the public bus system.
I was commenting on the private bus system.
The private bus system use Toyota 'commuter' buses (12 to 15 seat) which are air conditioned, and are booked through travel agencies. The bus also picks you up from your guest house (in Chiang Mai).
Because of the 'great recession', as well as the red/yellow 'turmoil' in Thailand, there are far fewer tourists wandering around the north. It appears that the private bus system is now charging very little more for the journey that it costs on the public system. Moreover, when you factor in time (5 hours), the small additional charge makes the private bus system worthwhile.
Your pic of the ferry boat fee shows 40baht for the 'ride' & a 10baht bag fee.
I went across on 6 April. When was your pic taken?
ic, that makes sense. the public bus system also has direct AC Chiangmai-Chiangkhong services, & VIP buses (although not on this particular route; they come with 26 spacious seats on what is usually a 40-seat bus).
those photos aren't mine, they're Captain Bob's photos taken back in August/Sept 2008. the Thai words says 'khon la 30 baht' (30 baht per person), while the English version appears to have a '4' written over the '3' (or the other way round).
someone's report from Feb 2009 on the transport from the GH to the Chiang Khong immigration provided as part of some agent's package:
wonder if it's the same GH you encountered...do you have the name of the GH?
Regarding 'Captain Bob's' pic, maybe the very obvious reduction in tourism numbers has forced a slight reduction in ferry boat price. Who knows.
I looked at casam20's blog. Mmmmm!!!! I wish we could have secured slow boats that were that 'overpacked'. We went up the Nam Ou in much much more cramped conditions. Given the whingeing tenor of his/her blog, I get the feeling this person booked a tour company 'adventure of a lifetime' without doing the necessary research to determine that the world doesn't operate on American standards (thank goodness).
As for the GH, I didn't bother with the name, but it was up a street some 500m west of from the main road.
Thanks for the great info
#7 ellennn has been a member since 22/4/2009. Posts: 11
This info about being taken to the immigration office is nonsense (and old). You basically have two options for getting from Chiang Mai to Chiang Khong: private minivan (usually operated by Namkong Travel who own the Namkong Guesthouse in central CK), or public bus from the Chiang Mai Arcade bus station (Best option is the "Green Bus" with non-AC buses at 06:30 and 13:00 for 231 baht or standard AC bus at 08:30 for 292 baht). None of the above are going to drop you at Thai Immigration. The vans go to Namkong GH and the buses go to the "station" on the southern edge of town which is 1.6 km from the passenger boat ramp.
^^EdSue there's no airport in Chiang Khong. The bus ride is hilly after you leave the Chiang Mai area for about an hour, then flattens out again until near Chiang Rai where buses usually then go via Phaya Mengrai or Thoeng and the road gets more windy and bumpy (but not hilly) up until Chiang Khong. Take the direct Green Bus at 830am it's the smoothest option. Row 3-4-5-6 in the middle is least bumpy.