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Vietnam forum

overland from Hanoi to Chiang Mai?

Posted by barbaral on 16/12/2010 at 12:38

I am travelling to Vietnam, arriving in Hanoi , and need to be in Chiang Mai Thailand two and one half weeks later. I am curious about the least expensive, most interesting route to travel there and some ideas of costs and timeframes.
If there some ideas of not to miss areas, .best routes, etc, I would certainly appreciate it. This is my first time in SE Asia. I will be arriving the middle of January, going to an orientation in Chiang Mai 25 days later and then working in an NGO in Phnom Penh after that.

Any ideas or help would be wonderful. I understand that overland from Hanoi to Laos is miserable and that trains from there (Vientiane) are a better option. Should we bite the bullet and fly to Laos or is the adventure and price savings an ok idea for 60 year old adventurers?

#1 barbaral has been a member since 12/12/2010. Posts: 6

Posted by caseyprich on 16/12/2010 at 13:20

I haven't traveled the entire length of that passage but the local bus wasn't the most comfortable 16 hours I spent on my vacation. You see some great places and pretty scenery, but it isn't something you have to do.

I'm not sure what you'll be doing in/around Hanoi, but you could always hit up Halong Bay or Sapa which would easily take up a week of your time.

That would make it a good bet to fly to Vientiane. Take a couple days there and then you can work your way north and take something like 10 days to go up through Luang Prabang (3 days) to Luang nam Tha (3 days) on the way to the border crossing at Huay Xai.

You could get into Thailand with at least 5 days still to get over to Chiang Mai.

I know I'm actually using very fuzzy addition here - but I think that path is an option. 1 week around Hanoi, a little over 1 1/2 Laos, a little less than 1 week through northern Thailand.

#2 caseyprich has been a member since 3/3/2010. Location: China. Posts: 1,281
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