Flight, Bus or Ferry from Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai?
- Luang Prabang
- 1,5 hours
- Chiang Mai
- Luang Prabang
- 21 hours
- Chiang Mai
- Luang Prabang
- 9 hours
- 8 hours
- Chiang Mai
How to get from Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai?
The Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang route is an interesting one and if you’re adventurous, maybe you’d want to include this in your travel plans. You can choose to fly, go through the journey by bus or opt for the 2-day ferry ride. The ferry ride may take the longest but it also allows for a different kind of travel experience.
Note: When traveling by bus and ferry, you have to go through the border immigration in order to get to Chiang Mai. For those that require a visa to enter Thailand, make sure that you’ve secured your visa in advance or have the appropriate documents needed for a visa on arrival. It’s also noteworthy to know that the border immigration opens only from 6:00 to 22:00.
Your options at a glance
|Flight||1,5 hours||$114||Check flights|
|Bus||21 hours||$50||Check bus tickets|
|Ferry||3 days||$50||Read article for more info|
Are you a fast decision maker? Simply use the links above to book your tickets!
If you haven’t found your best transport option yet, no problem. This was just the intro. Below we share our step-by-step guide of how to get from Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai.
Flight from Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai
Duration: 1,5 hours
In a hurry to get to Chiang Mai? Then it’s best to book a flight from Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai. There are only a few and sometimes only 1 direct flight so book your flight in advance. A direct flight booked with Bangkok Airways starts at $110. The flight takes a little less than 1,5 hours.
Prefer a cheaper option? Then you have multiple non-direct flights to choose from. Bear in mind that indirect flights require at least 5 hours of travel, including a stop stopover in Bangkok. Flight prices start at $90 which isn’t much of a difference from the price of a direct flight.
Bus from Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai
Duration: 21 hours
Traveling by bus might take much longer than flying through this route but it certainly is more economical. Though not as adventurous as taking a ferry, the bus ride isn’t that bad. Below we provide you with schedules of the buses that are reputable.
|Laos Group Tour||18:00-18:00||24h||$50 + free pick-up|
Buses depart from Southern Bus Terminal which is located within the city center of Luang Prabang. The cost is $50 per person.
The bus takes you all the way to Huay Xai border. You have to get off to go through the immigration on the Laotian side. Once you finish, you need to get back to your bus in order to cross the bridge to go to the immigration in Chiang Khong, on the Thai side of the border.
Then you have to present your travel documents to the Thai immigration. From here, the bus takes you straight to Chiang Mai Bus Terminal 3, located east of the city center. To go to the city center, you can take a songthaew for about 60 THB (€1,70) per person.
Laos Group Tour
The meeting point in Luang Prabang is at Southern Bus Terminal in the city center. However, Laos Group Tour offers a free pick-up service included in the cost of the bus ride of $50.
Like the trips on Naluang, you also have to go through the border controls to present your travel documents and have your passports stamped. Then the bus takes you straight to Chiang Mai Bus Station 2 also known as Arcade Bus Terminal. This is located about 3km east of the city center.
Ferry from Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang
Duration: 3 days
If you want to go for an adventure, we suggest going by ferry or ‘slow boat’ from Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai. This is not as popular as the opposite route but nonetheless, you’re bound to enjoy the different experience. However, bear in mind that travel can take a few days as you don’t really travel by ferry all the way.
Step 1: Tuk-Tuk + Ferry from Luang Prabang to Pakbeng
Duration: 9 hours
Take a tuk-tuk from the city center going to the slow boat pier. This takes about 25 minutes and the cost for 2 persons can be negotiated at $8. However, you can always negotiate or opt for a ride share in a tuk-tuk which is cheaper.
The ticketing booth at the ferry port opens at 8:00. You can buy your ferry tickets from your hotel but it is cheaper when you purchase it at the pier. The cost is about $13 per person. This only takes you to Pakbeng so don’t be surprised if you make an overnight stop.
When you reach Pakbeng, locals will be offering you accommodation. You can negotiate for the price. Don’t expect much but know that most are clean and decent enough for a one-night’s sleep.
Step 2: Ferry + Tuk-Tuk + Bus from Pakbeng to Huay Xai/Chiang Khong to Chiang Mai
Duration: 8 hours
The ferry leaves at 8:30 so make sure you’ve had breakfast and arrive at the slow boat pier at least by 8:00. This is also the time when the ticketing stall opens. The slow boat takes you to the pier in Huay Xai. From here, you can take a tuk-tuk for $1.20 to the immigration on the Laotian side of the border.
Present your travel documents and then cross over the bridge to the Thai border. There is a shuttle bus which charges 25 THB (€0,70) per person or you can take another tuk-tuk when the shuttle buses are not available. When at the Chiang Khong immigration, present your documents again and get your passport stamped.
From Chiang Khong, you have to take the bus. However, buses depart early in the morning so you might have to stay the night in Chiang Khong. Book your hotel in advance so it’s more convenient for you. Also, ask your hotel if they have a free pick up service so you do not have to arrange for a transfer on your own.
For the bus ride, we suggest booking with Green Bus through 12go.asia. They have trips departing at 7:30, 9:45 and 10:30 daily. Buses depart from the local bus station in Chiang Khong, north of the border crossing. You can ask your hotel to help get you to the bus station.
The bus ride costs from 300 (€9) THB to 510 THB (€15).