When I was preparing for our Laos trip, l encountered a lot of difficulties mainly from lack of information. I told myself I want to write a blog post to help like-minded travelers like myself to do an inexpensive cross-border travel from Thailand to Laos.
We went through a lot of untrodden path & we are proud about taking the unfamiliar way to get to our destination.
It took me 10 months to post a blog post..i finally pen down my notes. I hope the information stays relevant. You’re welcome to ask me if you have question.
23 December 2015
I was afraid of not getting bus ticket to Luang Prabang in Laos. To allay fear, the first place we came after we got the car yesterday was Chiang Rai Bus Terminal 2. Comparing with my family members who seem to be cool and collected, I think I the planner faced the most pressure. The staff at Chiang Rai Bus Terminal 1 ticket booth told me where to get bus tickets to Luang Prabang. The bus from Chiang Mai came to Bus Terminal 2 briefly before we got to the destination, Bus Terminal 1 so I got a glimpse of the bus terminal.
For this trip, I did very little research. Knowing people in The Land of Smiles will render a helping hand, we are not so afraid. The only barrier is language. One travel tip I can give is: have a photo of the place that you’re going. This is to show the taxi driver. We experienced communication problem just now after flagging a blue car at the street. Assuming that Chiang Rai Bus Terminal 2 in English can be understood by all drivers, we were absolutely wrong.
Without wifi, I passed these few days with hotel’s free wifi and connected through Goh’s, Robin’s and Dominique’s data on hotspot whenever necessary. It’s only in a situation like using Google Map driving in unfamiliar roads that we realize how important internet is. Most of the time, I am in the vehicle looking out of the window.
Through limited information I got from other people’s blogs and travel websites, we are finally here, feeling a sense of achievement. Because of this part of international route to a country which is less traveled, information in English is limited and unreliable. I communicated with an American blogger before coming, before deciding how to get to Luang Prabang. Surprisingly, she said she went back from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai to take the bus. Chiang Rai is nearer to Laos than Chiang Mai, she also admitted her way of travel is not the wisest choice. Relying on the photo she posted on her blog which was dated October 2014, I went to look for my office colleague Jirakiat to help. The online booking system only accept bus routes within Thailand. However, Jirakiat told me about the location of Chiang Rai bus terminals and gave me his phone number.
Other ways to Luang Prabang is flight, which is expensive. A more common way but more time-consuming is through 2 days slow boat.
People in this part of Thailand are not conversant in English so it’s difficult to get useful information. Plus the lack of information on the Internet in English, it is quite a challenge for backpackers. I have not been blogging for quite a while. I think it will be useful if I can offer this piece of information in my next blog for English speaking readers. Whether we can get to Luang Prabang in one piece, it’s still unknown yet. The bus journey will start from Chiang Rai at 12:30pm on 23 December and arrive at Luang Prabang at 6:00am on 24 December. That is 18 hours!
We don’t know what lies ahead. Seriously. Keeping our fingers crossed.