Travel Adventure: Chiang Mai to Vientiane
Today (May 2nd 2016, Yes I am posting this super late!!) I left my awesome apartment in the Santitham neighborhood in Chiang Mai. I’m sad to give it up, but also looking forward to exploring Laos. And so the trip began.
The entire time in Chiang Mai I never had reason to take any of the Red Truck taxi’s. Instead I rented a scooter and rode it everywhere I needed to go. The only reason I needed to take a Red Truck taxi was after I dropped off my scooter and made my way to the Airport. The ride cost $100 Baht. I was hoping to only pay 50 but I ended up the only one in the cab so I had to pay the entire amount. I was able to get the following shot of one of the super cool Chiang Mai Tuk Tuk’s. Without a doubt these are the most hot rodded Tuk Tuk’s of any I have seen.
The Flight to Udon Thanai was 1769 Baht or about $64 USD. I flew on Nok Air, one of Thailand’s low budget airlines. the plane looked and felt brand new. Excellent service and a very smooth flight. At one point as we were coming in to land there was so little vibration and movement it felt like we already landed. The only minor issue, we took off 20 minutes ate, and landed 20 minutes late.
My flight was scheduled to land at 5:10 and my bus to the border was scheduled to leave at 6pm. That left 50 minutes to get to the bus station. Assuming the plane landed on time. The plane did not land on time, it was 20 minutes late. I was still waiting for my luggage at 5:48. My bag was literally the last one off the plane. I took a cab from the Udon Thanai airport to the Old Bus station 1. The fare was 200 Baht. I was annoyed at the high price because it should only be 100, but I guess prices are going up everywhere. I told the driver I needed to get the 6pm bus. He drove as fast as a Lao taxi driver seems to be able to drive. In other words no where near as crazy as an Indian cab driver.
Just as we pulled into the bus station I could see my bus leaving the station. That was a 90 Baht bus ride that I never took. BUT the good thing was the minivan going to the border ,and it was only 50 baht. I was warned to never get into a minivan. The drivers all drive crazy fast and dangerous.
I didn’t find this driver to be very crazy at all and the road seemed to be perfectly straight the whole way. As we got closer to Nong Khai people started getting off. The driver asked where I was going, I told him the border. He said extra 50 baht because of the extra time required to get there. Meanwhile Im looking at google maps and the border is looking pretty close already.
The Driver let a guy off at one of the regular stops. Drives literally 50 meters down the road to let me off at the border. And he is expecting 50 baht for the “extra time” to drive me there? I just flatly refused to pay the guy. He was not too happy about it. I told him I could easily have gotten off where the last guy did, and he didn’t have to pay an extra 50 baht. He started yelling at me. But he was yelling at me as he walked back to his drivers seat, so I just picked up my bags and started walking towards the border. Saved myself 50 Baht. 🙂
Crossing the Lao border was relatively simple. I was actually surprised at how relaxed and easy the whole process was. Leaving the Thai side of the border the crossing guard mumbled something about going to the Laos border then returning to see him after. Considering there was a bus ride to get from the Thai exit point to the Lau entry port, I figured I would just keep going forward. The bus cost 20 Baht.
I made the decision to visit Laos only a few days before I started the trip. My late decision meant I needed to get the Visa on Arrival. This required that I download, print and fill out a form, stick on a passport photo, and sign it. While standing in line to get my visa I filled out an Entry and Exit form. The Visa guy got off his break and opened the little window. $43 USD for Canadians, thank you. I’m so glad I still had some USD on me. This is the highest amount they charge any nationality to enter the country. I guess Canada treats them like a dick so they return the favour.
Once I got the Visa on Arrival I stood in a line for about 10 minutes and met a French dude named Paul. He was just getting an extension to his visa. We found out that with a VOA we could bypass this line, and after that it was a couple more people who looked at my passport and I was through. All that was left was the cab ride into Vientiane. I shared it with two girls I met at the border. My share of the fare was 130 Baht.
Total time in transit: 7 hours
number of vehicles: 6
|Red Cab to Airport||100 Baht|
|Flight to Udon Thanai||1769 Baht|
|Cab to Bus Station||200 Baht|
|Minivan to Border||50 Baht|
|Bus to Lau Border||20 Baht|
|Visa On Arrival||$43 USD|
|Cab to Hostel||130 Baht|
|Total costs converted to USD:||$107.74|
So that’s the story of my entry into Laos. I got some of it on video. Next adventure I will try to get more video $107.74 USD Not including the iced Latte I bought at the airport for 80 Baht ($2.28 USD)