Does anyone know when the Mohan border crossing closes? Previously I heard it was 5.30pm but that seems exceptionally early considering that the Hekou border closes at 11pm and even the Muse/Ruili border, currently closed to foreigners closes that late. However, when I did a search someone claimed it now closes at 9.30pm China time. Not sure who's right though.
Also, how much would it cost to hire a car with driver from Mohan to Kunming? I presume it's rather expensive and flights from Jinghong are the way to go, but just wondering, especially if going in a group. If it's like 800 Kuai, I'd say it's OK, but if 1500 or more then definitely too expensive.
Car share/hitch offer to pay about 200
200 share to Mohan? That barely covers a sixth of gas and tolls and less than a bus ticket, good luck with that offer. A private car to Mohan has got to cost close to 2500rmb or more. Just getting a private car from jinghong to Mohan is 500rmb. They charge for a full round trip fare. They don't care your going one way as they have to drive back, unless you're lucky or have the time to find a driver returning to Mohan.
This info is a few years old but yes, the Mohan border closes early, even an hour earlier than posted for foreigners. Showing up at 5pm is only for locals. Yes, it seems early compared to hekou, but that's because hekou is exceptionally late in closing. Unless you can get someone to chime in with firsthand info of a 9pm closing, I'd assume that's not the case. Existing border crossings don't tend to change hours of operation.
Sorry I didn't update this post but it turns out that the later closing time is correct. Always seemed odd to me that this border crossing, the only one Yunnan shares with a neighboring country that freely allows private vehicles across would close so much earlier than others like the one in Muse, that isn't even open to foreigners without a permit.
They extended the opening hours to 9.30pm China time and last year I crossed at around 7.30pm China time (6.30pm Lao time) into China and confirmed the closing times with both China and Lao immigration.
Among the reasons for the extended opening hours is the construction of the China-Lao high-speed railway and the increase in traffic across that border. No longer is it an isolated little village in the middle of nowhere.
As for getting a ride to Kunming, I asked at the border and was offered 1000 rmb for a private transfer. Thought that was fairly reasonable. However, in the end my company's friend drove me to Jinghong for free, even paid for my accommodation and I caught a flight to Kunming the following day. Weather was perfect despite being July, supposedly the middle of the rainy season.
Note that there are buses to Kunming from the border, including (I think) overnight ones. Shouldn't be more than about Y300?
Yes there are, already since many years but they take forever. Unlike in Thailand and Vietnam, where only short breaks are taken, Chinese bus drivers like to take 6 hour breaks at the border or something, meaning a journey from Vientiane to Kunming often takes a bone jarring 40-48 hours. A bit too long to be hauled up on a bus I think. Given you can fly from Kunming to Jinghong for under 400 Kuai, if you can at least do that part of the journey by air, it becomes more manageable.
Hey, I said OFFER to pay 200. We are in China man. Even 4 people paying 200 is 800 yah?
No, more like 15-18 hours from the border. By law, overnight buses must stop from about 2-5AM so drivers get some sleep.
Anyway, they pollute less than airplanes per person/kilometer private cars.
Great virtue signalling there Ishmael. Doubt it will change anyone's travel plans : (
I haven't done it by bus but know from people who have, that according to the schedule, it's 40 hours from Vientiane to Kunming, but often takes 48 hours. Thai, Lao and Vietnamese buses do just fine driving overnight - they usually have 2 drivers available per long-distance bus route though, so this rule probably only applies to Chinese drivers. Although good from a safety point of view, it's inconvenient if you're a traveler because it greatly extends your journey. A better option is to do the trip in stages (and isn't that kind of the point anyway, if you're going to Laos you want to see something along the way?)
Although if you can't stomach the terribly winding roads, there's always a Jinghong-Luang Prabang flight operated by Lao Airlines. Or of course Kunming-Luang Prabang and Kunming-Vientiane.
Personally I'd recommend flying Kunming-Jinghong, then going to Luang Nam Tha by international bus, then Luang Nam Tha - Luang Prabang by van, finally Luang Prabang to Vientiane by plane (or if you want to make a stopover in Vang Vieng, need to go by van).