Monday, November 16, 2015

Crossing Borders: Chiang Rai, Thailand to Houay Xai (Bokeo), Laos

Thailand To Laos Border Crossing By Land

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.

Thailand To Laos Border Crossing By Land
Non-aircon bus from Chiang Rai to Chiang Khong
10:00 – We were dropped on a tuk tuk stop that goes to the Thai border (open from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm).

Thailand To Laos Border Crossing By Land

Thailand To Laos Border Crossing By Land
No haggling
10:05 – We hopped on a tuk tuk and paid 50 Baht each (US$ 1.39).

Thailand To Laos Border Crossing By Land
You cannot walk or cycle going to the Thai border
10:11 – We arrived at Chiang Khong Immigration Office | Passport Control for passport check.

Thailand To Laos Border Crossing By Land

Thailand To Laos Border Crossing By Land

Thailand To Laos Border Crossing By Land

Thailand To Laos Border Crossing By Land
Empty during weekends
10:25 – We were cleared at the border and paid 40 Baht each (US$ 1.12) for immigration overtime fee because it was a weekend (they also charge this fee past 4 pm on a weekday).

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).

Thailand To Laos Border Crossing By Land
Ticket counter for the shittle bus
10:51 –The shuttle bus going to the Lao border left the Thai border.

Thailand To Laos Border Crossing By Land
Shuttle bus from Thai border to Lao border
10:56 – We arrived at Bokeo Lao Border Control.

Thailand To Laos Border Crossing By Land

Thailand To Laos Border Crossing By Land
Thailand-Laos Friendship Bridge No. 4 over the Mekong River
11:00 – We filled out the immigration card and went straight to the immigration officer. ASEAN member countries need not to secure a visa because of the ASEAN visa-free policies. Our Philippine passports served as our “visa” to Laos.

Thailand To Laos Border Crossing By Land
Lao Border
11:15 – We paid the overtime fee (same reason as with Thai border) at 40 Baht each (US$ 1.12).

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 Huay Xai Laos
Keo Champa Bus Station
Keo Champa Bus Station Huay Xai Laos
There are regular buses going to different parts of Laos, Luang Prabang in our case.
12:00 – We hired a tuk tuk (10,000 Kip | US$ 1.23) going to the town center of  Houay Xai to have something to eat and a quick tour around.

Huay Xai Laos
The old Lao border
Huay Xai Laos
We can literally see Thailand from Laos!
Huay Xai Laos
Local eatery at Houay Xai
Khao Soy Huay Xai Laos
Khao Soy (15,000 Kip | US$ 1.84)
Beer Lao Huay Xai Laos
A few rounds before boardingthe bus to Luang Prabang
10,000 Kip per bottle (US$ 1.23)
16:00 – Our 12-hour bus ride heading to Luang Prabang commenced.

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 (check here for discounted tours, transportation and activities in Luang Prabang).





7 comments:

  1. Thanks, I was looking for a post that explained the whole procedure for crossing the Thailand-Cambodia border.

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  2. How was your bus ride to LP, can you write more about bus, road, etc?

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    Replies
    1. I've written about it on my Luang Prabang posts :)

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  3. Thank you for the breakdown, it's very helpful. Thank you very much..

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    Replies
    1. Hopefully you can easily cross Thailand-Laos border :)

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