A lot of tourists take this trip as a package for 1400Baht/p ($48Usd) which includes Chiang Mai to Chiang Khong transpo, one night stay at Chiang Khong, boat to cross the border, and a 2-day slow boat trip to Luang Phrabang
. Visa fee and the second night stay along the way are not included in the package price. Some guesthouses offer visa service too for 1750Baht ($60Usd) - regardless of nationality.
When we arrived in Chiang Khong, we were dropped off at the guesthouse's branch there. We walked at about 750m farther on the highway to the immigration office for an exit stamp (no exit fee
). The port for crossing the border is immediately downhill from the office. We took a small boat for 30Baht/p (20/p and 10/bag). It was a 2min ride across the river bordering Thailand and Laos. Before we left Thailand, we got invited by a bunch of old Thais at the port to have a last taste of Thailand whiskey and a toast for a good visit.
In Huay Xai, Laos land, the immigration office was above the port. An automatic visa was issued to us for $42Usd/p
(Canadians pay the highest visa fee). Paying in Thai Baht is more expensive because their exchange rate stinks. Bring $Usd. It is illegal to use foreign currencies here in Huay Xai except in the immigration office, but nobody in Huay Xai cares. The stores' and travel operators' exchange rate stinks too but they all accept Thai Baht and USDollars.
After clearing with the Laos immigration, we walked up to the main road and checked-in at