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Heckou (Vietnam Border) to Mohan (Laos Border) via China

Heckou (Vietnam Border) to Mohan (Laos Border) via China

Old May 13th, 2024, 07:31 AM
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Heckou (Vietnam Border) to Mohan (Laos Border) via China

I could take easy way - train to Kunming - train from Kunming to Mohan/ Boten in Laos, but wondering any other way.
Any transport (bus /train) /to Pu'er City or Xishuangbanna?

SC
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Old May 13th, 2024, 11:10 AM
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I’m not sure what the question is. Where are you coming from & where do you want to go? I’ve traveled through the area using a variety of transport options. Please clarify.

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Old May 14th, 2024, 02:01 AM
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Coming from Sapa , and want go to Luang Prabang.. but want to use a new free 15 Day Chinese visa to travel from Heckou (China border) to Mohan/ Boten then Luang Prabang via China. I have been to Kunming before, so wonder is is there way to get from Heckou to Pu'er or Xishuangbanna by bus / train and connect with Laos train there?
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Old May 15th, 2024, 11:04 AM
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When I was on my way to Kunming & Jinghong (Xishuangbanna) the train from near Sapa wasn't running due to a landslide. It's shown now on Rome2rio.com, also a train from Kunming to Jinghong (I flew to Jinghong). It appears that if you want to go from Sapa to Xishuangbanna by train, you'll need to go through Kunming. It also shows a bus on the Kunming to Jinghong leg.

From Jinghong I traveled by boat down river to Chiang Saen, Thailand, then a few miles down at Chiang Khong crossed to Huay Xia, Laos where I got another boat to Luang Prabang.

However, Rome2Rio also shows a train now from Jinghong (Xishuangbanna) to Luang Prabang.

https://www.rome2rio.com/map/Jinghon...rabang/r/Train

I enjoyed travel in the region very much. There's a very interesting market on the China side of the border with Burma, in a hilltribe area not terribly far from Jinghong, that's reachable by taxi. If such things interest you ask around while you're in Jinghong. Have a great trip!

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Old May 16th, 2024, 08:06 AM
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I would suggest using the new conventional line from Hekou North to Mengzi, which is worth a stop for just being a pleasant backwater with a number of old buildings left from its Treaty Port days (although don't expect to see any other foreigners). Then train to Jianshui, which has a tarted up historic district but also un-interfered with backstreets to wander round, and the option to take an over-priced excursion on what remains of the narrow-gauge line that once linked Shiping with Mengzi and the main French-built metre-gauge line from Hanoi/Haiphong to Kunming.

In Jianshui you could look for a bus to Pu'er (I've ridden this route in the past, but the arrival of several new railway lines has caused much change) or if not then carry on to Yuxi by train (not worth stopping) and change to the high-speed line (called gaotie 高铁) to Pu'er and/or Xishuang Banna. I wouldn't particularly recommend either given your destination. Northern Laos is cheaper and has considerably more charm. Note that while you can book tickets between any two stations mentioned here from any other stations, you can only book tickets for the line to Laos at a station on that line itself.

You will, in all cases when you're buying tickets at any station, need to show your passport. And you'll need it to enter the station (ticket offices are always outside or have separate entrances) and again to reach the platform. The good news is that the Chinese buy everything with apps now so there's rarely any queue at ticket offices. On the other hand the ticket offices are open much shorter hours than they used to be.

If you do go cross-country from Jianshui to Pu'er expect security checks on the road, and perhaps some awkward questioning. What counts as a border area has been greatly expanded, and as several new lines have snaked into southern Yunnan large populations have also been moved south. It can be a bit tense at times.

If you take the high-speed line across the border note that you'll have to alight with your luggage on the Chinese side, board again, then alight again a few minutes later on the Laos side, again with bags.

If you're not planning to download and activate a Chinese payment app such as AliPay (which may be linked to foreign credit cards) you'll have to deal in cash, and you'll come across places that have abandoned cash altogether, and will only take your money if you have exact change. So after the bank machine (ATM) gives you 100 notes, split those at big enterprise (e.g. your hotel, busy bigger restaurants) whenever you have an opportunity, and hang on to all the small notes you get.

At Luang Prabang there are bank machines to the left after you exit the station, and fixed-price air-con vans across the road and down one floor in a lift. 40,000 kip, which will drop you at any nominated location in town. Or bargain for a shared tuk-tuk at around 200 kip (I'm told. I took a van.)

All of this assumes that it is still possible to cross to Hekou on foot from the Vietnamese side. No reason to believe it's not, but this is something I'd certainly check. Hekou, when last seen, was unappealing, with much overt prostitution.
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Old May 17th, 2024, 12:45 AM
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thanks both. Much appreciated. Wil travel in in early July. Looks like plenty of options. Pity so hard to get a Chinese sim card.
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Old May 18th, 2024, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by subaculture
Pity so hard to get a Chinese sim card.
The answer to that, unless you insist on non-VOIP voice calls, is a virtual SIM. There are many to choose from but I recently found the Airolo app to work very well. I chose a pan-Asia virtual SIM that worked seamlessly across Hong Kong, China, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. It has the extra benefit in China of making the whole Internet available on the phone without censorship and without requiring the use of a VPN, as you are perceived by the system to be in Singapore (for now, at least. There is a constant struggle against all ways to circumvent the Great Firewall.)
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