I am planning a trip to SE Asia and our starting point will be Chiang Mai, as we make our way through the north to Hanoi, Vietnam. As flights are fairly cheap I wondered what the best way to make this route was. From Chiang Mai I plan to head to Pai, Chaing Rai, Luang Prabang and then to Vietnam. Bus or fly? Any advice please?
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Quickest and best is fly to Bangkok then onto Hanoi. Overland eats up time and is arduous.
I visited these places overland but it was expensive and difficult. Did meet nice people along the way though. It depends upon how much you care about the environment that we pollute as we travel. If you go through Laos, take American $ if you want to buy the visa at the boarder.
If you go through China you will have to buy a visa in a place like Chang Mai
It depends on your time, travelling by bus it take much time but you will have real experience with local people. Other way, flight is best way and fast to other countries. Airasia offer best price for this route.
as the responses below tell you, both bus and plane work, bus is an experience, but flying is faster. One tip though, book your flight when in Asia, from the departure city - it was about 30% less than when the flights we prebooked!
Within the country (Thailand) you can travel by bus. They are private bus from Chiang mai to Pai, public bus from Chiang mai to Chiang Rai. Then from Chiang Rai, you need to go to Chiang Khong to catch a boat to Luang Prabang, otherwise you can fly direct from Chiang mai.
I did catch a boat, #best experience ever! The boat couldn't get to Luang Prabang in 1 day, we stopped overnight and catch another boat in the morning.
Enjoy your holiday!