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Visas and border crossings forum

Crossing from Chiang Mai to Laos

Posted by santsingh on 8/8/2006 at 18:16

Hi All, I know that there has been information given about crossing from Chiang Mai into Laos, but my husband and I are totally new to this area and would like some specific help.

We arrive in Chiang Mai (flying from Kuala Lumpur) on Tuesday morning about 10.00. We want to cross straight into Laos. We already have our visas. Can anyone please give us detailed advice on how we would go about doing this, eg: when we get out of airport, what transport should we jump onto, where should we change transport, would we be able to travel and cross on this one day or are we better off starting very early the next day etc.

Thanks so much. This website is fantastic and I really appreciate the effort that's gone into it.


#1 santsingh has been a member since 18/7/2006. Posts: 9

Posted by somtam2000 on 8/8/2006 at 19:49 admin

Hi santsingh,

Welcome to Travelfish! -- glad you like the site ;-)

The bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Khong takes 6-7 hours, so if you're arriving in CM at 10:00 you'll be hard-pressed to get to the border before it closes -- don't fret though -- Chiang Khong is a nice enough town for an overnight stay and then you can leave over to Laos first thing the following morning. The bus from Chiang Mai leaves from Arcade Bus station, so take a tuk tuk ot taxi from the taxi (100B) from the airport to the bus station (which is on the other side of town)

#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,939
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Posted by santsingh on 10/8/2006 at 10:58

Thanks somtam. One more question, do we 'haggle' for the taxi or just accept the price?

#3 santsingh has been a member since 18/7/2006. Posts: 9

Posted by pauljaymes on 10/8/2006 at 17:43

Posted from within Vietnam.

I just did this crossing two weeks ago.

I took a bus from the arcade bus station in Chiang Mai to Chaing Rai, stayed overnight there then took the bus to Chiang Khong and crossed the border to stay in Huay Xai, but there's no reason you can't go all the way to Chiang Khong if you leave in the morning. The staff at the bus station will help you get to Chiang Khong and tell you if you can get a direct bus or have to change at Chiang Rai.

Once over the border you'll probably want to take the slow boat to Luang Prabang as buses from Huay Xai are a slow, rough experience in the wet season. Get across the border by about 9am to get good seats on the boat, and take plenty of provisions for the journey. Once you're on the Laos side of the river someone will immediately try to sell you a ticket for the boat (800B).

#4 pauljaymes has been a member since 10/7/2006. Posts: 75

Posted by mango551 on 17/1/2010 at 09:35

Hi santsingh

You said in your post you got your Visa for Laos before you travelled, can I just ask how you went about this, did you get it before you left the UK or while you were there, if so where did you get it?

Many Thanks

#5 mango551 has been a member since 11/1/2010. Posts: 3

Posted by Bassfunk on 17/1/2010 at 16:58


me and my wife just did this trip from chiang rai. Don't worry it's a well travelled route and really easy to do everything is in English and Thai and everything just falls into place as you go along. The visa is as easy as filling in a form and paying your money. We splashed out and took the luangsay cruise to luang prabang. It was totally worth it just to be on a nice boat with a sundeck and bar and the luangsay lodge is out of this world. There was just 5 of us on the boat and at the lodge. Good luck!

#6 Bassfunk has been a member since 24/3/2009. Posts: 9

Posted by TravellingScot on 4/3/2010 at 18:47

I heard today that you can no longer get the boat down to Luang Prabang due to the Chinese damming the river and the river being to shallow.

Can any one who has been through the area confirm this?

#7 TravellingScot has been a member since 4/3/2010. Posts: 7

Posted by somsai on 4/3/2010 at 23:45

Check on the Laos Forum here, there are often updates, good photos lately.

#8 somsai has been a member since 1/3/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 566
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