We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang via boat

Hawthorn East...
2 posts
1 review
Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang via boat
Save

Hi guys, first-time Thailand and looking to go from Bangkok to Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang, Laos. I'm thinking Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai (quick stop to see the white temple) to Chiang Kong, Chiang Kong to Pak bèng, Pak bèng Luang Prabang. There'd be heaps of folks done this trip, so I'm asking if it's a trip best planned via a tour, or best done ad-hoc. I've got my hotel booked in Chiang Mai, and a flight booked from Vientiane to Ha Noi already locked in.

Kerobokan Kelod...
Level Contributor
11,337 posts
211 reviews
193 helpful votes
1. Re: Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang via boat
Save

Hi,

Depends how much luxury you need on the boat trip to be honest. The basic slow boats can be done ad hoc and are fairly comfortable although can be a bit crowded in the high season.

There are three other boat options that limit numbers on board and offer a bit more luxury and stop occasionally on the river to see villages and/or the Pak Ao caves. They are Shompo, Nagi of the Mekong and Luang Say cruise in ascending order, these you should book in advance.

Cheers

Kerobokan Kelod...
Level Contributor
11,337 posts
211 reviews
193 helpful votes
2. Re: Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang via boat
Save

Hi,

This link should give you more info: https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g29541…

Cheers

Sunshine Coast...
Level Contributor
2,346 posts
24 reviews
11 helpful votes
3. Re: Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang via boat
Save

Thanks Paulosussex,

Also following this thread, (sorry to tag on, OP)

We are also planning on this trip but possibly in reverse. Are there any other tips worth noting?

Have you done this trip before?

I am researching for a 3 month visit next year taking in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, but still working out the best route relating to time of year. June, July and August.

Cheers

Florida - Alaska...
Destination Expert
for Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai Province
Level Contributor
10,279 posts
3 reviews
3 helpful votes
4. Re: Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang via boat
Save

While yes they are slightly more "upscale", I'd say the bigger reason to consider the three "tour" boats, LuangSay, Nagi and Shompoo, is convenience. You have a boat waiting for you, no need to go find tickets and then figure out which boat drew the "public boat" straw (slow boats rotate duties). You have someone to tell you a bit about the area and stops for some sightseeing along the way, not so much on slow boats. And you have somewhere to stay when you reach Pak Beng, folks on the slow boat need to fend for themselves finding a room once they get there.

Kerobokan Kelod...
Level Contributor
11,337 posts
211 reviews
193 helpful votes
5. Re: Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang via boat
Save

Hi MelbourneCountrygirl,

Yes, I have made this trip many times also going upriver to Huay Xai from Luang Prabang. No tips other than you can find on many websites really. If using the public boats try not to be late to get a better seat at the front - noisy at the back as the big diesel engines are there. Don't buy any tickets or packages in Thailand for boats or accommodation, wait until you are in HX, LP, or Pak Beng.

As MrCycling says, the three more expensive options are a lot more convenient and relaxed, although travelling in the low season the public boats are rarely crowded especially going up river.

Have a look also at Travelfish website and Hobomaps for very useful info.

Cheers

Sunshine Coast...
Level Contributor
2,346 posts
24 reviews
11 helpful votes
6. Re: Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang via boat
Save

Thank you so much! This has been on my list for years.

Cheers MCG

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
2,174 posts
144 reviews
120 helpful votes
7. Re: Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang via boat
Save

I would add that the food on the Nagi is GREAT! And the seats are comfy with plenty of room. You can even lie down if you want to.

Sydney
Level Contributor
896 posts
31 reviews
15 helpful votes
8. Re: Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang via boat
Save

Hi Paulo

I am a mature aged female experienced traveller. I am heading to north west China next June and wish to go via Chang Mai to Luang Prabang. However, I will not be backpacking as I will have two suitcases as I need totally different clothes etc for the two different experiences - one lot for travelling, the other for working. Would you consider this difficult on board the boat? Are they very primitive and basic? I am reasonably fit, but wondered about the difficulties of luggage and getting on and off the boat.

Also folks, I saw last night a really good report on everything about travelling from Chang Mai to Chang Rai and on to Luang Prabang, but I cannot find the review tonight. Anyone seen it - it was quite long and very comprehensive. I meant to print it out, but did not do so. Help!

Sunshine Coast...
Level Contributor
2,346 posts
24 reviews
11 helpful votes
9. Re: Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang via boat
Save

Thanks Spopey for that info, I will get into the research.

Sydney
Level Contributor
896 posts
31 reviews
15 helpful votes
10. Re: Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang via boat
Save

Found the review I was looking for.

Thanks anyway.