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

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.

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

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 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.


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.


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)

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. 

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

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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  1. 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,

    1. 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!

      1. I asked if it was because of Songkran and they said no, the Thai to Laos closes at 8pm but the reverse direction is 10pm. Google also says this but it is Thai and had someone translate for me. The bus is now 25baht per person and when people pay for their visa, notes that aren’t Lao Kip must be pristine. A $20 bill I had, had a very small crease in the top corner and was refused. A 500baht note had a small ink drop and was also refused. This happened to a few people around me too. You can pay in Lao Kip for 350,000 ~ $40 so it is cheaper than Thai Baht and the condition of the notes doesn’t matter as much! Sorry for the long post but wanted to give as much as info as possible ??

        1. I wish I read the comments section before going to the border. My 20$ note had a small ink mark, so I had to pay the remainder in Kip.

          Also, I got a tuc tuc ticket for 20,000 Kip but have been waiting forever for us to leave.

  2. 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.

  3. 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?

    1. 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.

  4. 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 ?



    1. 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.

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

  6. Hola Nina!
    Great info. Any guidance on whether this is a 24/7 border crossing? (As in, is the voa possible Saturday night at midnight?) About to go this weekend, thanks for a great article and congrats on discovering the good life

    1. Good question! Google info is a bit slim, huh? I found this piece of info regarding the border hours- 06:00 to 22:00 daily.
      However, info in SEA is notorious for changing without notice. I can confidently say that a 24/7 crossing is a definite no. No worries tho, just stay at the town near the border and get up early. You’ll get through immigration quick and easy!

  7. Hi Nina, when quoting the prices to town, were they trying to charge you 50,000k per person or was this for two? We have literally just done the same crossing and we headed off to walk to our hotel (15km!) But no tuk tuks came along who would offer less. We ended up walking 5km before giving up and having to pay the 25,000k per person! (For 5km less distance too! ?)

  8. Hi!
    What I need is info about reaching the slow boat station to Luang Prabang when starting the journey in Chiang Rai. Could I do it the same day or do I need an overnight? Apparently, they can pick us up from the border. I assume that is the Lao side.

  9. Hey Nina

    What do you say put a date in your articals? If this information is recent it would be nice to know. If it is 4 years old, then it is likely quite useless as Thailand anf their immigration polices change like the wind. Just a suggestion and thanks for the info.