If you are traveling from Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang, there are a number of options available. You can go by flight or overland bus. But if you have time and prefer to take cruise trip, I would recommend you take a slow boat option.
The entire trip takes about 3 days 2 nights but offers a local experience with beautiful scenery of Mekong River and a perfect place to meet fellow travelers to continue your trip with.
You can make laos visa on arrival when you arrive border at Huayxai. You will get 30-days visa here. Prepare photo and visa fee 25-37USD.
The trip will depart from Chiang Mai at 09:00AM to Chiang Khong by minibus. On the way, they will stop at the famous Wat Rong Khun (the White temple) in Chiang Rai. You will have chance to see one of the most beautiful temples which have amazing architecture. Then continue to Chiang Khong, which is bordertown. We will arrive Chiang Khong at 16:00PM and overnight here.
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After have breakfast at guesthouse, then we will cross over Mekong river to Huayxai, which you can make Laos visa on arrival here. After finish immigration process, now it’s time for cruising. We will take slow boat from Huayxai to Pakbeng Village. The trip will take around 6hours and arrive Pakbeng at 17:00PM and overnight here.
The trip will depart from Pakbeng Village to Luang Prabang at 09:00AM and will take about 5 hours to arrive Luang Prabang. The boat pier in Luang Prabang is 10 kilometres out of the city. Here you will have to take a tuk-tuk, which will cost 20.000 kip per person to drop you off in the old city centre or at a guesthouse.
In the past, the slow boat along the Mekong was pretty much discomfort. The lack of seats and 9 hours on the river resulted in very sore and aching bottoms. But many boats now have car seats, which are a lot more comfortable.
Cruising along the Mekong was picturesque and relaxing. sitting at a window seat will allow you to take in the view, and enjoy maximum breeze. You can pass the time reading a book, working on laptops, listening to music, chatting with one another, or sleeping.
Although it was a long journey, but it is a good opportunity to spend two days cruising the Mekong River, and a glimpse of village life along the river in Northern Laos.
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