Kunming to the China / Laos border

Kunming to Boten, Laos or Borten, Laos

So you want to get down to Laos. Here is more info than you need.

Before you leave Kunming you want to get some American bucks. The Laos visa is 37 USD or 300 RMB Since I was heading on to Thailand I wanted some Thai Baht so I went to the airport to exchange some RMB as other banks said they could not exchange into Thai Baht.

Buses from Kunming to Laos depart at the Nan Bu station. That is across from the new Lou Si Wan shopping area. You can get a bus to Mohan the China/Laos border this usually has a transfer stop in Mengla The price is something like 345rmb. You depart Kunming in the evening and arrive in Mengla in the morning. You wait for an hour or so then you arrive at Mohan. You can also get buses that go to a few cities inside Laos. They may go directly to Mohan then on to there final destination.

Once you get off the bus it is a walk of 10-15 min from the bus station to the border crossing. You can have a tuk tuk take you there if you want. Many ladies will be at the border if you need to change money. Once you process immigration there is a golf cart that will take you to the Laos border station. You need 2 kuai for the golf cart. After you give the guards 37 USD there is a guy who checks your paperwork then you are free to go. They ask for passport photos and may ask for extra cash if you don’t have any.

After the border station are a hole bunch of drivers waiting to take you anywhere you want. Since the buses across Laos seem much slower and arrive at the Thai border just after the Lao/Thai border closes we opt for a van. I have offered 3000-3500 Baht and that usually works to get me all the way to Huay Xai. The road is insane lots of curves, take some motion sickness tabs if you need them, cause you’ll need them. The drivers usually stop about half way. There are a couple of shacks that sell food. Our favorite was buffalo meat stir-fry. Eventually you will get to Huay Xai. They drop you off at the top of this steep drop that goes to the rivers edge. You may want to pay a local to carry your gear if you have a lot but negotiate the price before they load it up. The Lao border exit/entry is on the left. You will process you passport then take the motorized canoe to the Thai side.

**You may want to ask any one of the many Lao tour agencies in Huay Xai to book you a seat on a van from the Thai border town Chiang Khong to Chiang Mai. Many can do that and it should run 300 to 350 baht per seat and that should include the price of the canoe across to Thailand. Once you arrive on the other side of the river you will climb up the bank and got to Thai border control. As you walk up you will find various tour guides you just need to link up the sticker or ticket the Laos agent gave you with the right one if you chose to use a tour operator. From there you can sit back and enjoy the 4 ½ or so ride into Chiang Mai. If for some reason you arrive on the other side without a seat on a van just ask for the Nam Khong guesthouse and they have usually have vans departing for Chiang Mai in the evening. Nam Khong has showers, internet, a swimming pool and good burgers. Usually the vans have an arrangement with a guesthouse in Chiang Mai where they will drop you off but you do not need to stay there.

Comments Are Closed