Keats School


Kunming-Jinghong-Mengla-Chiangmai overland?

KongFuDuzi (6 posts) • 0

My wife is from CM; my second son and I are in KMG for a few weeks and he'd like to go see granny and gramps. Is is reasonable to go from KMG-CM-KMG overland in 7 days? If so, how?

somenick (107 posts) • 0

I can't say much about transport inside Laos, but KM to Jinghong bus ride is about 9 hours. Jinghong to Mengla is about 3 hours.

How old is your son? How does sitting/sleeping on a bus for stretches of 4 to 6 hours with 30 minutes breaks in between at service stations and bus stations sound?

ludwig (104 posts) • 0

It is certainly doable in seven days, but you will spend a long time on the road and you will probably spend almost as much as you would by going by plane. As far as I am aware, China Eastern has a direct KM-CM flight again.

The very quickest way to do it would be to take a sleeper bus to Mohan (the Chinese side of the Lao border) (about 13 hours), cross the border and get into one of the cars probably already waiting on the Lao side for the run to the Thai border. It will probably take you six hours from Boten (Lao side of the Chinese border) to Huay Xai (Thai border) and then another four hours or so to Chiang Mai. Making connections should not be much of problem, and with a bit of luck you could arrive in Chiang Mai the late evening after departing KM.

Luang Namtha in Laos would be a good place to break the journey, it is less than two hours from the Chinese border, so arriving by sleeper bus you could get there before lunch, and leave the next day on a bus bound for the Thai border, which would make it a two-day trip to CM.

Yuanyangren (297 posts) • 0

You could also save a bit of time by flying to/from Jinghong and Kunming, making the overland journey only between Chiang Mai and Jinghong. If booked in advance, flights to Jinghong can be quite cheap and they save you the torturous bus journey up and down the mountains from Kunming. On the other hand, it's still a long haul from Jinghong to Chiang Mai, and by bus the journey from Chiang Khong to Chiang Mai takes more like 5-6 hours, not just 4. The direct flight from Kunming to Chiang Mai is offered 3 times weekly, however, prices are quite high considering the distance (usually around 3000 Yuan round-trip) so check out if there are any discounts, otherwise it's usually cheaper, but certainly a long way round, if you fly THAI via Bangkok.

KongFuDuzi (6 posts) • 0

Thanks for the feedback thus far. As I said, my wife's from CM, so I'm hoping that dear ol' dad will drive up to CK to pick us up at the border, my total budget for the next 3 weeks, including the trip, is under 4000, so the reason for overland travel is financial. I got a price of 325 per ticket for KMG to MHN 13 hr trip. The main unknown is the Lao leg of the trip. We can (?) get a V-O-A in Boten; how much to travel from Boten to Huay Xai?

flengs (108 posts) • 0

Maybe it would be an idea to get the boat from Jinghong to Chiang Saen? Tickets are about 700 kuai and would save you the hassle of visas and travel costs in Lao. It will save you a few days as well.

Yuanyangren (297 posts) • 0

Well in that case it would be rather expensive taking a flight, especially since you won't be travelling alone. Kunming-Jinghong flights start at like 400 or 500 Yuan if booked in advance, don't know about child discounts but even that looks like it's too expensive in your case.

To save money on the Lao overland section, you'll need to catch a bus rather than charter a vehicle. Catch a direct bus from Mengla or Luang Nam Tha. Jinghong-Huay Xai services exist but are said to be rather unreliable; Mengla (Muang La) is a better bet. A very rough guide for prices would be around 250 Baht per person from Luang Nam Tha to Huay Xai. This may have changed since fuel prices are higher than when I last made this journey, and next time I will be driving a Lao car rather than catching a bus.

My friends told me that in January, they (a whole group of 7 people) chartered a vehicle from Boten to Huay Xai for 3,500 Baht. This is roughly 800 Yuan after getting off the Kunming-Vientiane bus at the border. Since that bus does not pass through LNT, but rather Udom Xai, this allowed them to cross from China to Thailand within 4-5 hours. After leaving Kunming around 7 or 8pm (China time), they arrived at the Thai border at 3pm the next day.

What's your country of citizenship? Thai, other ASEAN, Swiss and Luxembourg citizens don't need a Lao visa. Not sure about Russians, but I think they may be eligible too. Many other countries can buy a Lao visa on arrival, except China, which requires their citizens to buy a Lao visa in advance.

The boat is OK too, although it doesn't run daily and might take a day or so to reach Thailand (going down river to Thailand is faster than the other way round). Still, I doubt it would be faster than going overland since the roads in both China and Laos have greatly improved, though it does sound more convenient.

no way (104 posts) • 0

howdy, i did this exact trip last year in reverse. chiang mai
to chaing khong by minivan, vip bus from huay xay to jinghong,
sleeper from jinghong to kunming. returned same route.

if you check the old posts, i believe i posted the details, to
include costs and time schedules. if you can't find it here, you

can search the lonely planet forums to find my other post.

i'm away from my notes now so can't give details. it was time-
consuming — you'll only have 4-1/2 days to spend in CM — but
you'll save heaps over flying.

no way (104 posts) • 0

found it..............

hi all, no problems at all with the buses. took just under 48 hours chiang mai to kunming. travel was last friday and saturday (june 6&7)

for those heading back to thailand, go to the bus station a couple hundred meters north of the main station in kunming on beijing lu. there you catch the C71 minibus directly to the new bus station about 20km outside of town for 4 rmb. there you can catch one of many buses to jinghong for 197 rmb. if you take a sleeper bus you can arrive at the bus station in time to buy a ticket for the bus to laos.

from jinghong there is a once daily direct bus to huay xai. it leaves at 6:40 am daily except for sunday. cost is 120 rmb. (there are other buses to the border or possibly to luang namtha although i have not this information.)

in huay xai, you need to catch a taxi or tuktuk into town. should cost around 10,000 kip. or you could walk the 2-3km if you so desire.

down the ramp to immigration, on the right side is namkhong travel. they'll get you to chiang mai for 400 baht. this includes the ferry crossing and a taxi to their guesthouse in chiang khong from where the minivan to chiang mai leaves. departures at 10am and 5pm.

for those heading in the opposite direction, friendship guesthouse in huay xai (basic room 40,000 kip) will sell you a bus ticket to jinghong for 700 baht, and get you dropped off at the bus station at 7am. (you must have a china visa as no voa for china.)

KongFuDuzi (6 posts) • 0

OK, my father-in-law has agreed to meet us at Chiang Khong, across from Huay Xai. We have a price for the KMG-Mohan bus trip of 325 yuan per person (750, one way). Lao visa v-o-a about 135 per person (1020 total). I gon't have a price on a bus fare from Boten to Huay Xai or on v-o-a visa at Chiang Khong. Since our flight back leaves KMG on 7-26, 15 day walk in visas are more than sufficient.

Alternately, we can go KMG to Jinghong, Jinghong to Huay Xai (sounds like a reasonable alternative. Thanks again for the input. As I learn more, I'll post more and read as you post.

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