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Chang Mai to Huay Xai

Sydney, Australia
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Chang Mai to Huay Xai

Hi

'm going to be making this trip within the next couple of weeks and was planning to get the bus from Chang Mai to Chang Kong with the intention of crossing the border the same day. Will spend the night in Huay Xai. From there I will get the slow boat to LP.

Is there a bus/Van that leaves Chang Mai early enough to get to Chang Kong in time to make the border crossing the same day? How frequent are they?

Thanks :)

lewes uk
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1. Re: Chang Mai to Huay Xai

Hi,

Yes there is. The Green Line 1st class bus leaves the Arcade bus station in Chiang Mai at 08.30 and goes directly to Chiang Khong. It makes stops in some of the larger towns along the route and arrives in CK at around 15.30 which gives you time to get a tuk tuk up to the crossing point and a boat over to Huay Xai. The exit and entry immigration points will be quieter than the morning too so it shouldn't take long to go through formalities.

The other way which is a bit faster is to take the Green Line VIP bus to Chiang Rai and then a local bus to CK, that shaves about an hour off the trip and is a bit more expensive, but the direct bus goes through nicer scenery imo.

Cheers

Sydney, Australia
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2. Re: Chang Mai to Huay Xai

Thanks for answering my question, think I'll go with the Green line option. Am also considering the option of spending a night in Chiang Rai, guess I won't know till I get there.

lewes uk
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3. Re: Chang Mai to Huay Xai

Hi,

It's worth doing that if you can spare the time as the direct bus is such an early start and Chiang Rai is a really nice place to spend some time. One thing I didn't mention is that if you buy your tickets at the bus station on the day of travel allow plenty of time as the queues at the green line ticket desks can be long and slow, an hour wouldn't be excessive. There are various agencies in CM that can do advance tickets for a few baht extra and that can be worth doing especially if you decide on the VIP bus as it only has about 20 seats and they fill up.

Cheers

Luang Prabang, Laos
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4. Re: Chang Mai to Huay Xai

It's been 10 months since I last revisited Chiang Mai and hopefully Paulo can confirm this, but I think there are shared vans that run between Chiang Mai and Chiang Khong that takes about 6hours. You can buy this transfer from various CM travel agencies and they'll also sell the 2 day slowboat ticket to Luang Prabang but I recommend buying the slowboat ticket yourself when in Huay Xai (but shop the ticket since some do overcharge). Also don't let them try to convince you of buying the Lao visa in advance either since you can easily do this yourself. When getting your Lao visa upon arrival at Huay Xai, best to have U$ with which to pay for your visa since you'll be charged 30% more, 1,500bahts, if you opt to pay in bahts.

Also, at the end of last year there was a bus company that offered an 'open ticket' between Chiang Mai and Luang Prabang. You could purchase segments, say only to Huay Xai, or the trip all the way to Luang Prabang, BUT I have not seen there bus coming through Luang Prabang in months. Could be that they have suspended their services after the 'high season'. Might want to double check this option too.

Oh, and if you do take the VIP Green Bus from C. Mai to C. Rai early in the morning, (if memory serves when we took it, it was only 3 hours I think) you might have time to visit Vat Rung Khun, the famous White Temple at the outskirts of C Rai. An hour or two for this sidetrip should be enough. Then take the local green bus from Rai to C, Khong which takes about 2.5 hours. You have the option of staying in Chiang Khong in guesthouses close to Thai immigration and doing the crossing first thing in the morning or crossing over to spend the night in Huay Xai. Internet speeds are slower in Laos.

Sydney, Australia
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5. Re: Chang Mai to Huay Xai

Thanks, I'll either opt for the Van or the green bus. I am eager to make the trip the same night so I can get my ticket early in Huay Xia and get a decent seat up the front of the boat, although maybe this isn't necessary in wet season?

Will look into the option of getting some US $

cheers.

Melbourne, Australia
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6. Re: Chang Mai to Huay Xai

Hi zeg,

If you have enough time, do allow a day to see Chiang Rai and maybe look into finding a private transfer to Chiang khong form there and do some sight seeing along the way. Go to the Chaing Rai or Chiang Mai forums to find info about good local drivers...

The green bus is fantastic and takes about 3 hours between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.

The trip down the Mekong was a highlight of our trip, as was Vang Vieng. I've posted info about our trip with photos on my blog kgbtravels.blogspot.com.au if you're interested.

I hope you have a wonderful trip.

Enjoy!

- K

Sydney, Australia
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7. Re: Chang Mai to Huay Xai

Thanks KGB

I also noticed on your blog you visited Nusa Lembongan which is handy as I'm off to Bali tomorrow and was contemplating going there so will read up on that too. The more I read about Chang Rai the more I think I should spend a night there. Wish I had more time.

lewes uk
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8. Re: Chang Mai to Huay Xai

Hi,

There are minivans that run between Chiang Mai and Chiang Khong and as SEAgypsyLaos says there is a van/bus service right through to Luang Prabang these days that is advertised in CM travel shops. However, I've never taken these vans to Chiang Khong so can't really comment on them, but give me a bus anytime, I've spent far too many minivan journeys squashed in with a rucksack stuffed up my nose for hours on end over the years to ever prefer them over even a 3rd class bus with a bit of space. Also, I prefer to travel with the locals, much more fun usually.

cheers

Edited: 21 June 2012, 16:32
Cologne, Germany
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for Cologne, Laos
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9. Re: Chang Mai to Huay Xai

How often does this Green Bus leave Chiang Mai for Chiang Rai?

lewes uk
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10. Re: Chang Mai to Huay Xai

Hi,

There are approx 25 Green Buses that run from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai daily. The first departs at 05.15 and they run throughout the day at almost half hourly intervals, from 06-09.00 they tend to run hourly. These are VIP, 1st class and 2nd class buses, the VIPs leave at 08.00, 10.15, 14.45 and 17.45, but all the buses are pretty comfortable.

cheers