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Need help figuring out the routing for a trip to SE Asia in Jan 2014!

Need help figuring out the routing for a trip to SE Asia in Jan 2014!

Apr 24th, 2013, 04:24 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 10,135
Yes, I read mostly positive reviews of the boat trip regardless of which boat you go on. Everyone who writes about it seems to love it which is why I thought I would give my experience. Good thoughts about how your time is being used. As mentioned above you need to get to where the boat departs. Have you factored in getting to Chiang Khong and over to Huay Xai (Houei Say) where the boat leaves from? Our boat left from LP very early in the am (maybe 7am).
I know the boat going down river from Huay Xai (Houei Say), Laos to LP is a bit faster. We were very slow because of the current and the first day was a very long one on the river.

I think I recall you asking about Jermsak as a guide in CR. Are you going to use him? We loved our day with him. He is excellent.
yestravel is offline  
Apr 24th, 2013, 08:14 AM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 8,886
The practical approach is to cross the river to Huay Xai and spend the night. You'll want to be where the boats leave early and as we did spend the night I don't know what delays you could conceivably encounter crossing and border formalities if you waited until morning. When I went the crossing place was quite a walk, too, from the embarkation point so spending the night nearer there only makes sense on multiple counts. You can check all these things beforehand if you're already there.
MmePerdu is offline  
Apr 24th, 2013, 08:54 AM
  #23  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,516
We did the boat trip from Chiang Khong to LP in 2007 by renting a boat to ourselves rather than using the public boat or Luangsay type cruises. It worked out quite reasonable when compare with the cost of Luang Say ( I thing around $250 for the 2 day trip)stopping in Pakbeng overnight) our trip was bait of a disaster as we travelled in the height of the burning season in April and two days in thick smoke was no fun!

The boat drivers family came along for the ride which was fun and the food cooked by his wife was excellent. We also travelled part of the route northwards on an earlier trip in 2000 and I was quite shocked at at the extent of the deforestation that had occurred along the river in the interim period. Don't expect pristine rain forest along the way.

One other word of warning, we failed to get all the correct stamps when entering at Huayxai border post which caused a lot of problems when we tried to leave LP by air. Double check you have all the right stamps including the customs stamp.
crellston is offline  
Apr 24th, 2013, 01:28 PM
  #24  
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,788
Thanks, everyone, for your help. More and more, I'm leaning toward doing the trip using the company Nagi of Mekong. From what I've read, they will pick passengers up in Chiang Khong and help them navigate the border crossing. I really like that. The company charges less than half of the fees of the Luangsay cruise, and the hotel in Pakbeng is included. For the non-backpack, non-lux traveler, it looks like a good way to do this trip.

Yestravel, I do plan on contacting Jermsak, and hope he is available when we will be there. I hesitate to contact him until I have a clear date, but hope to do so soon.

Again, thank you all for your help and suggestions! It's really appreciated!

Paule
progol is offline  
Apr 24th, 2013, 01:53 PM
  #25  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 8,886
I'm glad to see there are more options now than there were several years ago. Like Little Red Riding Hood, I found 1 of the 2 previous trips not quite enough and the other too much. Maybe I'll be tempted to go one more time and see if this one is just right.

Crossing to Laos is easy and I wouldn't base a decision on help with it. A prearranged place to stay in Pakbeng is also not essential but any help is nice. All considered it sounds like a good middle ground.
MmePerdu is offline  
Apr 24th, 2013, 02:17 PM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 8,886
Correction, make that Goldilocks. Not Little Red Riding Hood. Bears, wolves, all too confusing.
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May 1st, 2013, 02:31 AM
  #27  
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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The trip is taking shape! I've booked the 2-day cruise trip to Luang Prabang with the Nagi of Mekong! And, I've arranged to have the guide, Jermsak, for 2 days of touring in Chiang Rai!

Getting excited now!
progol is offline  
May 1st, 2013, 07:29 AM
  #28  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 8,886
I'm glad to hear you'll be taking the river, don't think you'll be sorry. A highlight, twice, of my wanders through Asia. A kind of passive adventure but an adventure nontheless.
MmePerdu is offline  
May 1st, 2013, 07:50 AM
  #29  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,516
The border crossing is easy fro Chiang Khong but When you go through immigration at Houaxai do make sure you get ALL the relevant stamps in your passport. We missed one ( I think it was the customs stamp which was at a different office from the Visa place ) . When we left by plane from LP airport immigration wanted to charge us $200 for the missing stamp! That was about 5 years ago - hopefully things have changed by now..
crellston is offline  
May 1st, 2013, 12:40 PM
  #30  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 10,135
Great - glad to hear its all coming together for you. Your time with Jermsak will be time well spent. He is a wonderful man and a wealth of information. R u using anyone in Chiang Mai? I'm looking for a guide for a day there. thanks
yestravel is offline  
May 1st, 2013, 01:51 PM
  #31  
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Mme Perdue, thanks for the recommendation for the boat ride - it looks like it will be an interesting adventure, and, I think, we will be pleased that we've done it.

Crellston, I'll make sure to get everything stamped correctly! The agent from Nagi of Mekong oversees the immigration process, starting from Chiang Khong. But I'll keep an eye on what needs to be done.

Yestravel, I haven't booked anyone yet for Chiang Mai, but I liked what I had read about Sergeant Kai. I haven't seen any recent reviews, tho - most seem to be around 2006-2009. Does anyone know if he still is doing the tour business? I booked Jermsak for Chiang Rai now because I noticed someone else booking him right around the time I plan to be there, and really want to have him as a guide, given how much I've read about him (mostly on TA). He is very popular! I don't feel as compelled to have a guide for CM, but will probably hire someone for a day as well.
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