Chiang Khong is on the border with Laos and you can travel there direct from Chiang Mai by bus. The distance by road is 282 km. From Chiang Khong you can cross over to the Laotian town of Huay Xai, which is 475 km from Luang Prabang, or stay in Chiang Khong as a base for visiting the famous Golden Triangle or the mountains of Doi Pha Tang.
Bus Times from Chiang Mai to Chiang Khong
There is currently 1 bus service a day from Chiang Mai to Chiang Khong available to book online.
- The journey by bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Khong is scheduled to take 6 hours 55 minutes.
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Chiang Mai Bus Station
Bus services to Chiang Khong depart from Chiang Mai Bus Terminal 3, which is located 3.4 km from the Tha Phae Gate in Chiang Mai’s old town. Expect to pay 80 to 100 THB to travel in a tuk-tuk from Chiang Mai old town or the riverside area to Bus Terminal 3. Chiang Mai train station is 2.5 km from Chiang Mai Bus Terminal 3 and you can also also expect to pay 80 to 100 THB per person for the journey from the train station to the bus station in a tuk-tuk.
Location of Chiang Mai Bus Terminal 3
Location of Chiang Khong Bus Station
Bus services from Chiang Mai to Chiang Khong terminate at Chiang Khong Local Bus Station.
About Chiang Khong
Chiang Khong often gets overlooked as a destination to visit in it’s own right as the majority of foreign visitors who come here only do so on the way to border crossing with Laos.
Tourism in Chiang Khong
Even if you are planning to travel onto Laos we suggest that you spend a couple of nights here before crossing the border to explore the town and the surrounding area. There are some great places to visit in this region of Thailand and Chiang Khong is a good base for taking day trips as it has better hotels, guesthouses and restaurants than many of the towns in the surrounding area.
About Chiang Khong Town
Life is laid back in Chiang Khong. There are plenty of places to stay and eat but not so many people as there used to be as there is a bridge to the South of the town that you can cross over to get to Laos. Before that people used to take boats from Chiang Khong which meant it was a lot busier. The main hub of activity in the town is in its small port on the Mekong River where flat bottomed sampan boats are loaded and unloaded for trade along the border with Laos and Myanmar. The town has an interesting ethnic mix of Laotian, Thai and Hill tribes such as the H’mong and the Lahu.
Places to Visit near Chiang Khong
The main attractions for foreign visitors are not in the town itself but in the surrounding area:
- Golden Triangle: To get there you need to hire a motorbike or a car. The distance from Chiang Khong to the Golden Triangle is 65 km. The Golden Triangle is the point where the three countries of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet. There is a Golden Triangle Park is located on the Thailand side of the meeting point of the 3 countries on the riverside. There is a large Buddha statue, a wooden ship and the Halls Opium (a museum about the opium trade) which you can visit. These attractions though are not the real reason for coming here, its the scenery: the Ruak River flows into the Mekong River separating Myanmar on the left bank from Laos on the right bank and its an impressive sight.
- Doi Pha Tang: 59 km in the other direction to the Golden Triangle is Doi Pha Tang viewpoint which is very close to the border with Laos. The viewpoint is very popular because the spectacular mountain views are complimented by a thick mist which accumulates in the valleys below giving the impression of being above the clouds. The views are best at sunrise and there are campsite, resorts and guesthouses nearby. If you plan to travel to the viewpoint by motorbike then either hire a bike with gears or travel one person per automatic motorbike as the road up to the top of this mountain (1,909 metres above sea level) is steep in places.