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Boat from Jinghong in Yunnan, China to Chang Saen in Thailand

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mod

Joined: 2005-04-24
Points: 648
*Posted: Submitted by wtanaka (648) on Mon, 2006-05-01 14:46. | Subject: Boat from Jinghong in Yunnan, China to Chang Saen in Thailand

I'm currently in Jinghong, about to embark on a trip down the Mekong river to Thailand.  I've learned a few things.

The trip:

  • costs 420 yuan if you book a spot through the Mei Mei Cafe in Jinghong.
  • can be done on either a cargo boat or a passenger boat, but they don't always run
  • takes 1.5-2 days, depending on various things
  • leaves irregularly depending on the water level in the river.  You can go after a heavy rain.
  • does not require a myanmar or laos visa
  • starts in Guanlei (关累), which is 5 hours away from Jinghong.  Tickets can be purchased at the northern bus station.
  • leaves when it's ready, which isn't necessarily known ahead of time.
  • has attendants in the case of passenger boat

Boats apparently differ in quality and comfort, but I don't know anything about that.  Also, we were told that we would eat meals with the crew of the ship (we're taking a cargo ship).

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mod

Joined: 2005-06-03
Points: 748
*Posted: Fri, 2006-05-05 03:15 | Subject: No Visa Required

Sounds like fun, wtanaka. I might consider doing this myself during the upcoming summer vacation. Useful to know that no visa is required for Myanmar or Laos.

How comfortable is sleeping on the boat ?

 

 

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mod

Joined: 2005-04-24
Points: 648
*Posted: Fri, 2006-05-05 03:04 | Subject: A few more notes

A few more notes:

  • The bus ticket from Jinghong to Guanlei was 38 yuan.
  • The Jinghong to Guanlei bus runs 3 times a day, twice in the morning and once in the afternoon.
  • We weren't able to get the afternoon bus the day before, and we arrived too late for our boat, but we were just put on the boat leaving the next day.  We were late for our boat partially because of a 10km long traffic jam on the road down to Guanlei.
  • We slept on the boat the night before it left, and ate with the crew (no need to pay extra).
  • The local price for the boat might be somewhere in the 300+ range.
  • Cooking, cleaning, and shower water is all drawn from the river.  Some kind of powder is added to "clean" the water.  I asked if it was Iodine, but I either pronounced the Chinese wrong, or the crewman didn't know.
  • Our bags were searched by customs PLA soldiers before we left.
  • The boat does have electricity -- at least while the motors are running.
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mod

Joined: 2005-04-24
Points: 648
*Posted: Sat, 2006-05-06 07:24 | Subject: Sleeping on the boat is

Sleeping on the boat is comparable (but less comfortable) than a hard-sleeper berth on a Chinese train.  The mattress I had was thinner (and thus harder) than the hard sleeper pad.  Also, the boat is not air conditioned, though there's a bit of a breeze coming through the screen.

The cargo boat I was on was large enough that the ride was quite smooth.  My girlfriend (who gets motion sick very easily) was fine.

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0

Joined: 2006-05-08
Points: 0
*Posted: Mon, 2006-05-08 20:51 | Subject: Boat to jinghong

is it posible to do this trip from thailand to china

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mod

Joined: 2005-04-24
Points: 648
*Posted: Tue, 2006-05-09 03:08 | Subject: It will probably be a

It will probably be a fraction slower, since you're going upriver.  You'd want to go to the port at Chiang Saen, which is accessible from Chiang Mai, or via a public bus from Chiang Rai (30 baht).  In our case, the cargo boat actually stopped a wee bit upriver, to unload cargo in Laos.  It was about a 10 minute speedboat ride between the Chiang Saen port and the cargo boat itself (800 baht per speedboat).

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mod

Joined: 2005-04-24
Points: 648
*Posted: Mon, 2006-07-03 14:58 | Subject: Thailand to Jinghong -- perhaps a bit slower

A traveller took the trip upriver from Thailand back up to Jinghong. It took them 5 days.

so, survived the trip although [very] slow, it was great. left chiang mai on sunday, arrived jinghong following friday. river was so fast at some points that we were brought to a standstill - on one occasion we actually got pushed backwards down the mekong, and had to be winched up river. got stranded in guanlei one night, as the fifteen or so chinese we salvaged from their broken down ship [we had 27 people on board the final night] early the morning before scrambled onto the only bus of the afternoon bound for jinghong; thanks for the ride guys... but once again, was great. the crew were good fun, food was decent, cabins were pokey, but fine. moral to the story: upriver - slow, downriver - much faster, ie jinghong to chiang saen 2 days [possibly one day from guanlei to chiang saen with present river swell]

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asenesi's picture

Joined: 2006-07-06
Points: 0
*Posted: Thu, 2006-07-06 03:38 | Subject: Thai Visa

Hey wtanaka, thanks for the great info.  I think I'm going to be taking this rout along the Mekong to Thailand towards the end of July, but was wondering, do you need a Thai visa?  I know many places in Thailand give you a visa on arrival, but considering this probably isn't a very common path I just wanted to make sure.  Cheers.

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mod

Joined: 2005-04-24
Points: 648
*Posted: Sat, 2006-07-08 07:25 | Subject: Thai Visa for entering at Chiang Saen

As a U.S. citizen, I don't need a visa to enter Thailand for a short trip, so I don't know.  They just stamped my passport with an entry stamp and let me in.  If you have a passport which doesn't require a visa ahead of time, then you won't need to do anything special.  The other passengers on the boat were all Chinese and had all done their visas beforehand.

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Michael Hennecke's picture

Joined: 2006-09-30
Points: 0
*Posted: Sat, 2006-09-30 15:24 | Subject: night stops?

Now it's me asking as we want to do the trip downstream in less than two weeks. Does the boat stop at night or go through in the dark? Any other news with the trip? Well, the infos are very precise already... Many thanks!! Michael

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just charlie's picture

Joined: 2006-11-26
Points: 0
*Posted: Sun, 2006-11-26 13:30 | Subject: All very useful information.

All very useful information. After picking up my Chinese visa tomorrow here in Chiang Mai I'll take a bus to Chiang Saen (after first arriving in Chiang Khong) and hopefully be able to board the boat to Jinghong the following day. Hopefully the journey won't take 5 days, but if it does, I suppose I'm at its mercy. I wonder how much seasonal rain conditions affect the length of the trip.

About how much did the trip cost, entirely?  

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charwhite's picture

Joined: 2008-07-31
Points: 0
*Posted: Thu, 2008-07-31 16:41 | Subject: im thinking about getting

im thinking about getting this boat from thailand to china, but need proof of leaving thailand 30days after entering thailand in order to not have to get a visa being a british citizen. does anyone know how to go about this?

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Joined: 2006-09-11
Points: 5
*Posted: Fri, 2009-07-31 06:44 | Subject: Since 2007, there is no more

Since 2007, there is no more cargo boat allowed to take passengers from Jinghong to Thailand. Now only the passenger(speed) boat available. It is takes around 9 hours to Thailand.

More info, please visit http://forest-cafe.org/tours.htm#11

Trekking Yunnan
www.forest-cafe.org

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