A beautiful view from within central Chiang Mai-mobile

How to get from
Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai

Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai Trip Overview

Distance359 km (224.4 miles)

Find up-to-date information on departure times, schedules, and prices so you can easily compare and book your tickets.

Travel Schedule Options from Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai

Taking a bus from Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai






A beautiful view from within central Chiang Mai

About the journey from Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai

Taking the journey from Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai is the perfect way to explore the uniqueness of Laos and Thailand while still finding the similarities that bring these countries together. From the beautiful green valley where Luang Prabang sits to the mountainous jungle region of Chiang Mai, you can be sure you will encounter some amazing sights.

In Chiang Mai, you can spend your days wandering around the old town where walls and moats still stand from its founding in the 14th century. In the evening, explore the expanse of night markets that extend as far as the eye can see, and make friends in the many bars and clubs in the city. Chiang Mai is often vibrant and busy due its festivals and events such as the Thai New Year in April. If you are looking for tranquility, there are many temples to enjoy such as the gold-embellished Wat Phra That Doi Suthep just outside the city.

Traveling the 353-kilometer (219 mile) journey from Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai means passing from Laos into Thailand at a border crossing. The best way to make the border crossing as easy as possible is travel by bus. Public transport is a popular option for traveling large distances in this part of the world and is therefore affordable and simple. Long travel times are common when making the journey from Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai, so a sleeper bus option is the perfect way to get as much rest as you can on the journey. 

After your overnight trip you will be eager to arrive in Chiang Mai, where the Thai culture is rich and waiting for you to experience it.


What to see when traveling from Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai

Traveling from Luang Prabang in Laos over the border to Chiang Mai in Thailand is a fantastic opportunity to see the stunning wild landscapes of two countries with a clear respect for their natural habitats. Both Laos and Thailand, especially in the regions you will be traveling through, are dense with jungle, traversed by rivers, and surrounded by hills and mountains.

During the border crossing from Laos to Thailand you will pass over the Mekong River where slow boats stream back and forth. National parks are almost constantly apparent on the journey from Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai. Some of these parks include Nam Ha National Biodiversity Conservation Area in Laos which contains jungle treks and small villages.

In Thailand, Khun Chae National Park is located close to Chiang Mai and is a great place to hike the hills and enjoy waterfalls. Much of your journey will take place overnight, but this also gives you the chance to admire the peaceful sunset of Laos and sunrise of Thailand, foregrounded by dramatic mountain peaks.


How to get from Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai

Taking a bus 

Bus travel on the journey from Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai often means taking a sleeper bus. This bus option gives you extra room to lie down while part of the journey takes place throughout the night so you can get some shut-eye while saving on accommodation.

Some buses have double flat beds which are shared between two passengers, so if you want extra privacy you will also need to book the bed next to you. Buses offer just a few departure options but can take a good amount of luggage including a suitcase and hand luggage. Despite the long trip, rest stops can be limited with certain operators, so it is worthwhile to double check this factor before booking. 

Crossing the border between Laos and Thailand

Crossing the border from Laos into Thailand by road occurs at the Chiang Khong-Huay Friendship Bridge over the Mekong River. Despite the friendly name of the crossing, you will most likely not be able to cross from Laos to Thailand without any paperwork. Bus operators urge you to bring your passport, but it may also be necessary to get a visa. As policies can change about what is required, it is best to check with your travel operator or with the relevant border control and immigration offices in advance of the journey. 


What is the best time of year to visit Luang Prabang?

The best time of year to visit Luang Prabang is between approximately November and March. These months are during the dry season which is perfect for the many outdoor activities and nature exploration that is available to you in this region.


What is the best time of year to visit Chiang Mai?

The best time of year to visit Chiang Mai is between December and February, and due to the pleasant weather that this time of year brings, it is also the high season. The temperature is unlikely to exceed 86°F (30°C) between December and February, while nights are cool and refreshing.

Popular stations and stops in Luang Prabang and Chiang Mai

Departure stations in Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang Airport (LPQ)

Chiang Mai Bus Terminal 3

Lokprasert Bus Station (Northern Bus station)

Arrival stations in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai International Airport

Lokprasert Bus Station (Northern Bus station)

Cool Muang Coffee

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