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Chiang Khong to Huay Xai Border Crossing (Thailand to Laos)

Chiang Khong to Huay Xai Border Crossing (Thailand to Laos)

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Important note – A fellow traveler reported in the comments below the border closes at 8 pm when going from Thailand to Laos. Please see the recent comment below. Please feel free to comment with any updated info so we can keep other fellow travelers informed!

This is a brief rundown on the Chiang Khong to Huay Xai border crossing (Thailand to Laos).

There isn’t that much information out there right now on this border crossing. It’s not a popular one, and there’s a new bridge built, so don’t expect a boat ride like most resources state. This method isn’t used anymore!

So, Garrett and I started out in Chiang Rai and needed to get to the border that day since my visa was running out. Naturally, I waited until the last minute.

[box] TIP: 12go.asia is the best way to book ferries, buses, and trains ahead of time in Laos! [/box]

The bus station in Chiang Rai is right in the middle of town, so it’s super easy to just wake up and get there.

→ Psst! Here’s entire guide to Laos that you can check out! Complete with a badass itinerary, what to budget, tips, and more.

Bus

Bus from Chiang Rai to Chiang Khong – 65B

Buses run very frequently, every hour. It’s an older bus, don’t expect much.

The ride is around two and a half hours.

Border

If you are going to Laos, which most of the foreigners on the bus are, they will drop you off in the middle of nowhere on the side of the road. They don’t bring you to the border. The area they drop you off at has tuk tuk drivers waiting for you.

The border is less than 10 minutes away and the ride should cost 50B per person.

Once you’re at the Thailand border, you will stamp out, super easy.

Then take the 20B bus to the Laos border. You will cross the bridge by bus, there are no boats to take.

Border hours:

According to Google: 06:00 to 22:00 daily.

According to a reader who was recently there: 08:00 to 22:00 daily.

Visa

Once you’re at the Laos border, you’re going to need to get the visa on arrival.

Chiang Khong to Huay Xai Border Crossing (Thailand to Laos)

Laos

 

For US citizens, the cost is $35USD per visa. You may also pay in baht, but they’ll charge you 1500B, which works out to be more (about $6 more at the time of writing).

Bring a passport photo, or pay 40B for them to photocopy your photo out of your passport.

You’re going to fill out the arrival and departure card (ask the person at the window for it). Then you’ll hand over your passport with the card to a person behind the window. Be prepared for a bit of chaos and your passport to be placed in the back haphazardly. You will temporarily be passport-less, don’t freak out, this is just how they do it.

Be sure to check your passport right away as there HAVE been mix-ups. It would be an absolute nightmare if you grab your passport, get to your hotel and then realize the passport isn’t yours…

When your passport is back there, it will get a nice big sticker in it, it takes up the whole page. You are also about to get two stamps (another half page). Make sure you have enough pages!

Once they call your name, you will then approach the window, pay, and get your passport back.

Proceed to border control to actually get stamped in.

Now you’re on your own and in Laos! Hooray!

Mekong River Chiang Khong to Huay Xai Border Crossing (Thailand to Laos)

Mekong River

Getting to Town –  Huay Xai

Here’s where the fun begins. There’s a clan of tuk tuks just waiting for fresh meat to cross into their land. They want your money. We tried haggling with them, but they wouldn’t budge. They wanted 50,000Kip (about $6) to get to town. It doesn’t sound like much, but I’ve been around this area long enough to know that’s an exorbitant price. So we started walking towards town, which was a few kilometers away, but we didn’t expect to walk very far… I know how to play this game.

About five minutes later, one of the tuk tuk guys drives by and offers to take us for half price- 25,000Kip (total). That’s more reasonable. (We were two people for reference. You might have a harder time haggling if you’re alone. Make friends at the border!)

Border to Huay Xai Chiang Khong to Huay Xai Border Crossing (Thailand to Laos)

Border to Huay Xai

He took us right to town, it was about a 10-minute drive. We decided to continue on with our travels as we didn’t fancy exploring this area. We hopped on a bus to Luang Namtha just a few hours later. 

[box] TIP: 12go.asia is the best way to book ferries, buses, and trains ahead of time in Laos! [/box]

Where will you go after Laos?

Thailand | Malaysia | Singapore | Indonesia | Philippines | Cambodia | Vietnam

I hope this was helpful for anyone making the Chiang Khong to Huay Xai border crossing. Happy travels!

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Chiang Khong to Huay Xai Border Crossing (Thailand to Laos)

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Laurence

Tuesday 16th of April 2019

Hi Nina,

Just found out the hard way that the border from the Thai side to Laos closes at 8pm, and the last shuttle bus is at 7pm. The final hour is only for personal cars and the like. There wasn’t even an option to pay extra to cross after 8pm despite my attempts!

Hope this info helps, Laurence

Nina Ragusa

Wednesday 17th of April 2019

Damn Laurence, sorry you found out the hard way! I've updated this post. I wonder if it was a holiday or something? Let us know if you remember any other info that could be helpful. Enjoy your travels!

Michelle

Tuesday 5th of February 2019

Hello Nina, thank you for sharing your experience, just wondering I'm about to run out of BAHT and was wondering is there an ATM there, or do you reckon I could pay by card as I really don't want to get out more money here and pay £5 for the privalidge of getting out my own money.

Nina Ragusa

Wednesday 6th of February 2019

Yes, there is one from what I remember.

Karim

Sunday 14th of October 2018

dear Nina, thank you for sharing this information

I'm going to travel with my cousin to South-East Asia in 2 weeks, arriving 27th in Bangkok. We will need to cross the border on the 28th, from either Chiangkong or Chiang Rai to Huay Xai.

It seems clear there's several ways of transport, however, we were told that we would need official transportion documents (like booking of a bus or ferry) on our name so we can prove to Thailand customs that we leave the country within 30 days (we are actually staying only one day in Thailand on first entry), because then we don't need to apply for a visa (we are Belgians (Europe))

I've been googling but cannot find any online websites where I could book a ticket for either ferry or buses that cross the border towards Huay Xai (so we can print it & show to customs)

could you help us with that?

Liam Touhey

Sunday 11th of November 2018

This is so utterly helpful Nina!! Thank you. Tomorrow we're making the crossing. At least we have a clearer idea!

Nina Ragusa

Monday 15th of October 2018

You can try looking here for some tickets! You should find something that works. Also, they rarely ask despite it being a requirement :) however, better to be safe than sorry. If worse comes to worse, simply purchase the cheapest ticket to ANYWHERE just to show them and then don't use it.

Herman Dewitte

Wednesday 4th of July 2018

Hi Nina,

We arrive in Chiang Khong the day before we cross. Any suggestion how we can get Lao KIP in Chiang Khong or at the border ?

Thanks

Herman

Nina Ragusa

Thursday 5th of July 2018

There was an ATM at the border and if I remember correctly the taxis into town would take baht if it's what you had. Then go to an ATM in town.

Dave

Monday 7th of May 2018

Wow, the best article so far. Currently in Chiang Rai and leaving tomorrow and this just sorted me out, thank you ??

Nina Ragusa

Monday 14th of May 2018

Woo! Glad it helped!