Me and my girlfriend are in the process of sorting out our 10 week Southeast Asia trip later this year. We're doing good so far but at the moment we're a little stuck trying to work out how best to get from Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang on December 8. Does anyone have any advice/experiences that they could share?
Any advice is much appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
The most common way to get from Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang is on the slow boat from theThai/Laos border at Chiang Khong. From Chiang Mai you get the bus to Chaing Rai and from there on to Chiang Khong where you will stay overnight. In the morning you will cross the border by boat and foot and then join the slow boat in Huay Xai, Laos. It takes 2 days and involves stop in a small jungle town called Pak Beng for the night. In the morning you'll get back on the slowboat and get to Luang Prabang that afternoon. I really enjoyed the trip - the scenery is great at times and local people will get on the boat along the way to sell snacks. Try and take a travel cushion or something else soft to sit on as the seats are hard!
You can arrange the trip easily in Chiang Mai (or Pai if you are planning to go there - well worth a visit) and the package will normally also inlcude accommodation in Chiang Khong, a packed lunch and help with getting the visa on the border. In our case the lady at the guesthouse walked down early in the morning to get the visas for everyone on the boat. Hope this helps.
Have fun - I also spent around 10 weeks in SE Asia and absolutely loved it!
[ Edit: Edited on 23-Sep-2011, at 14:37 by bex76 ]
Thank you for such a comprehensive reply. It sounds like quite an adventure - I can't wait!
Does anybody know if it a good idea to hire a car in thailand?
You could hire one for short distances but for long distances the public transport network is adequate so there would be no need. I hired a jeep in Phuket to get out to some of the more remote places not served by public transport - it was reasonably cheap as far as I remember.