It was day thirty-seven and we’re on our last leg of our trip. We already conquered Cebu, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand and we’re leaving Chiang Rai to cross overland to Laos.
We’re entering Laos via the Thailand-Laos Friendship Bridge No. 4 and we came across with two options on crossing the border; either take a bus at the new Chiang Rai bus station that will go directly to the Lao border (225 Baht | US$ 6.27) or the DIY way which was a cheaper optio. Of course, we chose the latter.
Our starting point was the Old Chiang Rai Bus Station. And this was the actual timeline of our border crossing from Chiang Khong in Thailand to Bokeo (Houay Xai) in Laos.
07:45 – We boarded a non-aircon bus going to Chiang Khong and asked to be dropped near the border. There are regular bus trips from the Chiang Rai old bus station to Chiang Khong.
08:00 – Our bus left the station and we paid 65 Baht each (US$ 1.81) for the ride.
|Non-aircon bus from Chiang Rai to Chiang Khong|
|You cannot walk or cycle going to the Thai border|
|Empty during weekends|
10:27 – We bought shuttle bus tickets at 20 Baht each (US$ 0.56) and an overtime fee of 5 Baht each (US$ 0.12) that will bring us to the Lao border (shuttle bus is available from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm | after 6:00 pm, you could wait for the shuttle bus from the Lao border to get to the other side).
|Ticket counter for the shittle bus|
|Thailand-Laos Friendship Bridge No. 4 over the Mekong River|
11:15 – We exchanged our remaining Baht to Kip on a money changer at the border (249 Kip = 1 Baht).
11:30 – We haggled with a songthaew that will bring us to the bus station. We paid 15,000 Kip each (US$ 1.85) for the ride with five other passengers.
11:40 – We arrived at Keo Champa Bus Station at Bokeo (Houay Xai) and checked out the bus schedules.
11:42 – We bought bus tickets going to Luang Prabang at 120,000 Kip (US$ 14.84) that will be leaving at 4:00 pm.
|Keo Champa Bus Station|
|There are regular buses going to different parts of Laos, Luang Prabang in our case.|
|The old Lao border|
|We can literally see Thailand from Laos!|
|Local eatery at Houay Xai|
|Khao Soy (15,000 Kip | US$ 1.84)|
|A few rounds before boardingthe bus to Luang Prabang|
10,000 Kip per bottle (US$ 1.23)
We arrived safely at Luang Prabang and started our three-week adventure in Laos. DIY border crossing can be confusing but it is doable. We would’ve save loads if it were a weekday. Overtime fees are applicable on both sides of the border.