Chiang Rai to Luang Prabang

Chiang Rai to Luang Prabang

Bus 8 from Chiang Rai to Luang Prabang
The bus ride from Chiang Rai to Luang Prabang was better than expected although I've seen many that advises against this, opting to take the slow boat up the picturesque river. However, I thought I should try something that most doesn't and so I chose the option of taking the bus. It's much faster too as you wouldn't need to spend a night in Chiang Khong for your 2 days' journey.

Ticket counter
Waiting berth
The ticket counter is located in the new terminal, which is accessible from the old bus terminal via a 15 baht songthaew from the old terminal located in town. Here you can buy tickets to several parts in Laos, and the one to Luang Prabang costs 950 baht (~S$38). The counter can be seen once you enter the new bus terminal and it is located just beside the convenience stall.

Bus 8 from Chiang Rai to Luang Prabang
The bus comes in from Chiang Mai (explaining the label on the bus that says 'Luang Prabang - Chiang Mai) and leaves Chiang Rai at around 1140am. There's only one bus each day so you have no other choices other than this one.

Bus 8 interior
It's not exactly uncomfortable per se, but it isn't the most comfortable one, considering you'll have to spend the next 18 hours on this. Nevertheless, the bus wasn't really crowded and more often that not, you'll be able to have 2 seats on your own, which makes it so much better and tolerable.

Chiang Khong Immigration
After 2 hours, you'll arrive at the Thai border at Chiang Khong where you'll have to alight and exit Thailand. Once you've crossed over, the bus will be waiting for you (or the other way round) on the other side to pick you up to cross the friendship that connects the two countries over what I assume would be the mighty Mekong.

Bridge that connects Thailand with Laos
Laos Immigration
Crossing the Laos border wasn't much of a hassle. You'll have to pay an overtime fee of 10,000 kips (~S$1.25) though when you arrive on weekends, but I suppose it was okay as it wasn't too big of a burn for my pocket. You'll be able to find a money changer before crossing the immigration, so do remember to change some kips to keep in hand, just in case you need them for a meal or something later.

You'll spend the next 15 hours crammed in your little seat on the bus before arriving at the Luang Prabang bus terminal at an ungodly 5am. Don't worry about the transport to town though as songthaews will already be there to bring you to your guesthouse or wherever. Didn't manage any photos in my semi-conscious state though.

5am may seem a little early but you can make use of the chance to witness something interesting that happens every morning in Luang Prabang.

Stay tuned ...
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