Traveling from Pai Thailand to Huay Xai in Laos by minivan

by Amanda/Backpacking Tips Asia
(Oslo, Norway)

View of Mekong River from Chiang Khong

View of Mekong River from Chiang Khong

View of Mekong River from Chiang Khong Backpacker sleeping on chair More sleeping in Chiang Khong

Most backpackers choose packages to get from Pai/Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang in north Laos. The package price differs from company to company. When I traveled in 2007, it cost 1600 B.

Now you can find a variety of prices from 1700-2000 B (2011).

I bought tickets for a minivan transporting from Pai to Huay Xai in Laos. The minivan started to drive 10.00 pm. The journey was frightening and our MAD minivan driver was the evening's hell driver.

There was so many curves along that route, I thought I was going to barf (I suffer from motion-sickness) but luckily I didn't. But I was very dizzy when we got off at a guesthouse in Chiang Khong. The staff at the guesthouse arranged the boat crossing to Huay Xai, and the slow boat trip to Luang Prabang.

Unfortunately, we arrived between 04.00 and 05.00 am in the morning. We had to wait until 07.00 am before we could continue the journey. That meant SLEEP! Most of use improvised and laid their head on a table and dozed off. One Israeli girl grabbed a chair and fell asleep on the spot. Impressive!

Then around 07.00 am a pick-up truck came for us, and drove us to the crossing.

Before taking the boat over to Huay Xai, we had to fill out some forms and money had to be ready. There was a long-tail boat ready to take us to Huay Xai. We got off, and it was literally chaos outside the immigration counters.

There was so many people, and I was wondering if I would ever make it into Laos. Oh well, an Australian traveler who I met on the road grabbed my arm and we mixed with the chaos. After 40 minutes we finally got our Lao tourist visa! Haha!!!

The chaos didn't stop. There were MORE people crossing the border. The place was completely bombed with travelers and tourists when we picked up our visa.

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