Hi, we are travelling in Loas early April and wanted to know if any one had travelled from Luang Prabang to Thailand by road and then to Chang Mai. What is the trip like do busses go there or am I wasting my time thinking about it?
If so What would be the recommended means of transport.
I'm sure its possible, but I would recommend the slow boat up the Mekong river instead. It will take you 2 days to get up the river to the border with Thailand and crossing into Chiang Khong. From there you can get to Chiang Mai by bus in one day, or have another stop in Chiang Rai first. I am fairly sure you can take the bus on the same stretch the boat goes to, and it will probably be faster, but in my experience the roads and drivers in Laos are crazy. Winding up and down and around the mountains, and people go full speed around blind corners all the time.
You can also take the bus to Vientienne and cross into Thailand there I think, but no clue how long that route will take to get to Chiang Mai.
I recommend the same atle. I have taken the boat from Chaingkong Thailand to Luang Prabang and also there is a boat back from Luang Prabang to Chaingkong Thailand as well. You take 2 days on boat and one night in the small village on the mountain. It was my great time.
After you are in Chaingkong Thailand it is easy to get a bus to Chaingmai because it is not far.
Also, if you do chose to take the boat, beware that all those travel agencies in Luang Prabang may try to rip you off. I saw some trying to sell the trip for more than 500 000 LAK ( $1 is about 8500 LAK), but when we took the boat the other way from Huay Xai (this is the Lao town across the river from Chiang Khong) we payed only about 200 000 LAK. Not sure where you can buy your own ticket in LP but it should be doable.
You may also hear rumors about the water levels in the Mekong being low since you are there at the end of the dry season and that this will make the boat ride more unpleasant and slower, but apparently this is a false rumor started by those that run the competing bus service along the same stretch. Last year I took the boat in late March, and it was plenty of water in the river.