Jump to content

Visa run report: Chiang Khong 4-19-2014


Recommended Posts

Or, "Very Speedy and Easy at Immigration."

My first visa run, so I was very appreciative of the efficiency at both sides. Getting to the bridge from town was super easy. Many red truck or tuk-tuks at reasonable cost. Around 8 am Sunday morning we waved down a red truck from the hotel at north end of town for 100 baht for both of us (he asked for 120, but the TGF always bargains. We gave him what he originally asked anyway as is my usual practice.). It's a 4-5K trip so seemed reasonable. One note on the tuk-tuks: The ones in this town are made with imagination and some are a bit bizarre looking from one used to the standard Chiang Mai type. Typically beefier and many are built on larger motorcycle or truck engines.

At Immigration there were maybe a dozen backpacker types and about the same number of Thai and Lao. Since each category of traveler is serviced by at least one window, I had only 2-3 people in the line ahead of me, and it went quickly. The second window there was no wait.

We did not need to worry about not having the $dollars to pay the Lao side (they charge much more if you pay baht) because a man on the Thai side walked up to us and exchanged our baht for the required amount at a good rate. He was courteous and professional in dress and demeanor, as were everyone.

Then you get on the big cushy tour bus (cheap, maybe 20 baht, cant remember exactly) to take you over the bridge to Lao Immigration. A few minutes wait and we were off. On the Lao side it was fast as well. Prices have already been covered in posts here. Note that on Sunday you have to pay a $1 "overtime" fee.

The only downside ot the experience was haggling and prices of the Lao drivers to take you into town. Apparently it is 10k distance. But they wanted some 1,000 baht or more! Each, if I remember right. The deal was they brought you back too, but Im not sure how they manage that with numerous customers who might want to return at different times. Most drivers wanted to get you into a regular tour, but we like to just walk around on our own. We didnt like the whole scene and so we just started walking down the road. A couple drivers stopped and bargained down to something like 600 baht, but still too much for our liking. (the Lao drivers must have the biggest houses in town!)

There is nothing near the border that is open yet (actually nothing, period), except a big fancy hotel on a hill. So we ended up checking out the restaurant and rooms (very expensive!) and had a smoothie on the big outdoor porch with a great view. Plenty of workers but no other guests. Then we walked back to immigration.

The return experience was just as smooth. And the Thai officer didnt even charge me the 1,900 baht!

Hotel prices in Chaing Khong were a little more than I expected, but not unreasonable. If you dont mind backpacker accomodations, there are many extremely cheap places. Dont worry about reservations, just walk through town as there are scads of guesthouses and hostel-type places. Most are not on the internet.

One guesthouse-restaurant was right on the main street from our hotel soi. The 55-ish woman who owned the building spoke some English and cooked some of the best food Ive had in Thailand for very reasonable prices, like 40-50 baht or so. She wanted to show us her rooms which she is very proud of. On three floors, 3 rooms each floor, each was very nicely decorated in theme colors and homey. 300 per with fan, 400 AC. The furnishings were not the cheap hotel kind, but like you'd want in your own home.

We stayed at the Day Waterfront hotel. We wanted a river view hotel and the river view is worth paying for. The room was very clean, large, king bed, AC, large sliding door onto decent-sized balcony with table and 2 chairs. 800 baht per night. Im sure the best value for what you get in this town. We stayed 2 nights. The owner couple spoke excellent English, he is a native speaker. They are welcoming and always friendly, and bent over backwards to assist in every way they thought might make our stay more comfortable. They even have 4-5 bikes you can just grab and take for a ride, though they aren't all maintained well. Highly recommend.

On Monday got back on the Green Bus for the trip back to CM.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the report.

You never pay anything to enter Thailand. You must of been thinking you were getting an extension because that is what the 1900 baht fee is for if you get one at an immigration office. You got a new entry not an extension.

Link to post
Share on other sites

This brings back a lot of memories for me. Did a visa run & Laos visit in April of 2001. Stayed at the just opened Thanormsub GH, had a great time there, especially at the Red Cross sauna near the Mekong and kept postponing my slow boat to Luang Prabang trip.

Link to post
Share on other sites

WE stay at the Nam Khong Riverside Hotel, http://www.namkhongriverside.com/ river view room with buffett breakfast /air & wifi 650 baht low season

walk in rate, very popular with thai's

We've stayed there many times, as we have friends who live in Chiang Khong. Very clean, comfortable and a reasonable price, even in high season.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Chiang Khing has been a favourite stop-over spot for us en route to Laos. I always liked to waste a couple of hours sitting on the balcony, sipping beers watching the cross river goings-on and the river traffic in general. I imagine the bridge will be good for progress but also CK and Hua Xai will lose some character.

Edited by Baan Buakao
Link to post
Share on other sites

Chiang Khing has been a favourite stop-over spot for us en route to Laos. I always liked to waste a couple of hours sitting on the balcony, sipping beers watching the cross river goings-on and the river traffic in general. I imagine the bridge will be good for progress but also CK and Hua Xai will lose some character.

The needle boats are incredibly cool. Love to watch them cruise by. Went down to the pier where half a dozen were tied up for an event happening and had a chance to look them over. The most popular engine setup is a toyota 16-valve hooked up to two propane tanks. Explains why they are quiet and no smoke. I wonder why they are not seen in the West? I'd love to have one.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the report and good to hear that the new bridge is now operating, but if you live in Chiang Mai, why did you not do a visa run to Burma at Mae Sai/Tachilek?

It only costs 500 Baht - or occasionally you can get away with $10, and there's a nice market and a decent duty free shop just over the border.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 5 months later...

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...