We left hotel in Chiang Mai at 6:40 am as this was a country border crossing day. The border at Chiang Khong (Thailand side) was 185 kms. from our hotel at Chiang Mai. After a coffee break, we reached Chiang Khong border at about 10 am. The formalities were done without delays and we started our journey to the Laos side of border at Huay Xai. There are bridgesover river Meong river. We crossed through Friendship Bridge 4.
At Laos (officially called Lao) at Huay Xai, we had to first get the car customs clearance done. We had already got permit from Lao embassy in Singapore, so the formalities here were simple. Three of us did not have Visa, so we applied for Visa on arrival. After getting Visa on arrival for three of us and Visa for one person procured in Singapore, we completed immigration formalities. We got the Police check for the vehicle. Then we could enter Laos country.
Not only we quickly found ourselves on the other side of the road (Right hand drive system), we also found that the roads in Laos would not be as good as in Malaysia and Thailand.
The roads were single lane, so the driving becomes slow. Moreover, you may find potholes suddenly or the level of the road would abruptly go up or down. We would suddenly get ‘thud’ noise occasionally on the road.
There were no other facilities at the Petrol pumps (stations), except for the toilets. The cleanliness and availability water were issues in the toilets.
When we reached Luang Namtha town, we realised that the hotel was about 60 kms. further away. That meant further drive of 90 minutes to reach the hotel and then 90 minutes again tomorrow morning to reach Luang Namtha as the route to Boten Border is through LuangNamtha only. It would be 3 hours extra drive and we will have to start earlier from the Hotel. So, we thought of saving ourselves from 3 hours drive and stayed in Luang Namtha town in a Guest house. The guest house was clean with minimum facilities.
Tomorrow is another country border crossing day.