When the time came to cross the border between Vientiane in Laos and Chiang Mai in Thailand, we asked around in several travel agencies and the lowest price we got was 34USD. We knew we could get it cheaper.
Below I’ll show you the prices we got by buying the tickets separately instead of buying it in the agencies.
The tuk tuk from our hotel, in the very center of Vientiane to the bus station cost 30 000 KIP for two people. This trip didn’t take more than 20 minutes.
At the station we bought the ticket to Udonthani (Thailand) for 24000 KIP per person.
When we arrived in Udonthani we asked in the station where we could buy the tickets to Chang Mai and were told we had to go to Grand Plaza Mall. Those people with the ticket bought at the agencies had a transfer waiting for them. It took us 2 minutes walking to reach the mall. We got there before the rest of the guys, who were still struggling to find their transfer. The ticket to Chiang Mai, bought directly at the bus station, costs 560 Bahts per person. The bus leaves at 20:30 and arrives in Chiang Mai at 7:30 in the morning the next day.
We travelled all the time with other people who have bought the tickets through an agency, so we know they took the exact same buses as we did.
The trip for all of us finished at Chiang Mai bus station.
Agency price: 34 USD (includes transport from the hotel in Vientiane to the bus station in Chiang Mai).
Price for the exact same trip, but bought separately by us: 19.80 USD
- tuk tuk from the hotel to the bus station in Vientiane: 30000 KIP (2 people)
- bus Vientiane to Udonthani: 24000 KIP per person
- wfrom Udonthani station 1 to station 2 (2 minute walk): 0 USD
- bus Udonthani to Chiang Mai: 560 Bahts per person
Total savings of 14,20USD per person. Not bad.
At the station in Chiang Mai there are several alternatives to reach the center. After asking around to pretty much everyone, we chose the cheapest: a shared taxi, for 20 Bahts. It’s a red pickup truck that is waiting on the back of the station.