Spontaneous bordercrossing to Laos
I figured a while ago, that from Northern Thailand I will go to Laos, and will travel there from North to South, in the direction of Cambodia. I cancelled my original plan to go to Northern Vietnam and spend some time with trekking. I knew I wanted to take the slow boat on the Mekong river from the border to Luang Prabang.
I already saw tour packages for this trip in Pai for 1950 baht, that dropped to 1650 in Chiang Rai. I also checked the offer of a Lonely Planet recommended agency: all inclusive from Chiang Khong for 1350. All inclusive actually includes transfer to the border, transfer through the bridge connecting Thailand with Laos, tuk tuk ride to the pier and the boat ticket. I guessed that I will find similar or better offers in Chiang Khong. I considered buying a package as based on the info available on the net agencies don’t charge much extra. But my travel to Chiang Rai was a good reminder not to do it. Anyway, I just booked a nice accommodation in Chiang Khong, with having in mind not doing anything all day just chilling and preparing for waking up early for crossing the border and catching the boat.
Then a group of French people, who wanted to cross still that day, hijacked the bus. The driver agreed to bring them to the border for an extra 30 baht, and the locals on the bus didn’t mind the little detour either. I thought, that if I am already there, actually I can leave Thailand as well, as I have nothing to do in Chiang Khong. Crossing the border at this time was quick and easy, nobody was queueing up to leave. The bus left in a couple of minutes to cross the bridge, and entering Laos was speedy as well. You actually receive a printed visa, not only a stamp in the passport. From there only the tuk-tuk (took took) ride was left into the village, arrange a room and find something to eat to prevent starving to death. None of them was a hard task to complete. I got a room quickly, after finding out that the hostel, where my instant travel buddy, the Irish Joe was staying is fully booked.
New country, new language, new habits, new prices. I almost forgot how it was to adapt to Thailand after Indonesia, but it is high time for a restart. Sabaydee, hello Laos.
- Chiang Rai – Chiang Khong tuk-tuk station with local bus: 65 THB (2 USD)
- Chiang Khong tuk-tuk station – Chiang Khong center: 80 THB (2,5 USD)
- Chiang Khong tuk-tuk station – thai immigration office: 80 THB (2,5 USD)
- Chiang Khong center – thai immigration office: 120 THB (4 USD)
- The hijacked bus: 30 THB (1 USD)
- Bus from the thai immigration office to the lao immigration office: 20 THB (0,7 USD)
- Tuk-tuk from laos immigration office to Huay Xai center: 100 THB (3,5 USD)
- Accommodation in Huay Xai (hostel/cheap private room): 49.000 LAK/40.000 LAK (4,5 USD)
- Slow boat ticket Huay Xai – Luang Prabang: 210.000 LAK (25 USD)