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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat 9999's Avatar
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    Road Trip - Chiang Mai to Kunming - Doable?

    The new road crossing from Thailand into Laos at Chiang Khong has recently been opened (in the last year or so).

    I stayed at the Golden Triangle casino a few months back, and noticed lots of Chinese cars in Chiang khong. There was a motorcade of about 30 old Rolls Royces with Chinese number plates, quite a site.

    It looks like they cross into Thailand and then hop over to the casino in no man's land. It was quite a site, rubbing shoulders with cashed up Chinese guys in suits, donning life vests for the motor boats ferrying everyone across to the casino.

    I really want to visit Kunming. Never been to China, and Kunming looks like a very interesting place. Also, the ethnic group of the Mrs (Yong) can trace their roots to this region.

    If we were to do the trip, it would be with two young children, so we'd need solid accommodation along the way, like decent guest houses and stuff.

    I did the direction function on google maps for driving Chiang Mai to Kunming, but it said could not trace the route. I don't think it would be that hard though, considering cars, buses and trucks are now flocking in from China.

    Just looking at the map, the trip looks to be about 2,000 kms. We could cover this in 10 days if the roads were OK (which they should be). Vehicle visa into Laos is easy, and China should be no problem if pre-planned.

    Below is the approximate route we'd have to take.

    So...doable or not? It would be a pretty cool trip to do. I'd hope to do it in the next year or so, possibly this coming December / January. Am I nuts?


  2. #2
    Thailand Expat aging one's Avatar
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    Oh oh oh, I want to go as well. Kunming is about the only place I really want to go in China, I will be following this thread. Road trip!!!

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat
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    200kms per day on shit roads with kids? Tough road trip for them.

  4. #4
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    if you get to kunming,head for a drive up to dali and surrounds,
    not in winter though,great countryside and friendly people.

  5. #5
    disturbance in the Turnip baldrick's Avatar
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    international license not valid in china

  6. #6
    Thailand Expat 9999's Avatar
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    What would be really sweet is a round trip through Dali, back down through Myanmar, but would not really be feasible with small kids. The place is opening up and I'd really like to visit, but going through northern myanmar, Kachin state, Shan state, etc, is like the wild west. Pirates are still active on the small stretch of the Meekong that runs through those areas, and drug lords operate with their own armies. I imagine the roads are pretty dodgy and my big white arse would like a fluro target. Maybe down the track when they get their shit together up there.

    I don't think it would be rough on the kids at all. 4 hours driving a day anyway. A bigger concern is the level of accommodation available. If 30 Rolls Royces can do the trip then the roads can't be that bad.

  7. #7
    Thailand Expat 9999's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by baldrick
    international license not valid in china
    Should be a pretty minor hurdle. Not sure what she had to do, but my sister could drive legally over there, she lived there for 5 years.

  8. #8
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    Phuketrichard's Avatar
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    I have been to Kumming/Dal/Lijing a few times, used to travel often back in the 80's an last trip was 1989. Its a beautiful place, great food an the stone forest near Shilin outside Kumming is a must visit

    The road via the old ferry from Chiang Khong ( in Dec they opened the bridge across) has been open for a few years, IN July 2012 i drove across and then uo to Mueng Sing an then up to the Chinese border before they turned me back, I was told with a Chinese visa u can travel all the way, if u have a visa in advance, u can get them in Lunag Namtha or Vientiane.

    You can take a laos car in thou with prior permission!!!!
    "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol or insanity, but they've always worked for me" HST

    View my pics

  9. #9
    Thailand Expat 9999's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phuketrichard
    i drove across and then uo to Mueng Sing an then up to the Chinese border before they turned me back,
    What were the roads like?

    If the road trip is not feasible we might fly there anyway.

    Will see how it goes, perhaps the time of year I planned (Jan - Feb) would not be the best due to winter?

    Obv we would organize visas into China beforehand (for both vehicle and people)

  10. #10
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    Phuketrichard's Avatar
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    road from ferry point in laos to Lunag Namtha very good 4 hours
    another good road ( although very twisty as ur in the mtns) to Mueng Sing less than a hour
    45 minutes to where we were turned back form the Border to China

    ONLY really bad road i encountered in laos was between Udomaxi to Luang Prabang 80 kms of pot holed shit

    and to site three in Phonsavan ( plain of jars) I am usually up in that are july/august for past 3 years, rains a bit but not many tourist where as in Dec-March its crowded

    Like is said u will NOT get a Thai registered car ( unless ur on one of those big sponsored caravans) into China

  11. #11
    Have you got any cheese Thetyim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phuketrichard
    road from ferry point in laos to Lunag Namtha very good 4 hours
    OK for a saloon car ?

  12. #12
    Thailand Expat 9999's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phuketrichard
    Like is said u will NOT get a Thai registered car ( unless ur on one of those big sponsored caravans) into China
    Bummer, that's gonna make it tough. Any idea why, or if there's a way around it?

  13. #13
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    Albert Shagnastier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9999
    Any idea why, or if there's a way around it?
    Quote Originally Posted by Phuketrichard
    You can take a laos car in thou with prior permission
    Take a bus to the border and hire a car in laos.

    Job's a goodun

  14. #14
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    Phuketrichard's Avatar
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    I drive and have driven my older honda civic all over Thailand, laos, Cambodia an Malaysia

    :: Asia Vehicle Rentals ::
    International travel
    Cross border travels are possible under conditions, please contact us for more information info@avrlaos.com

  15. #15
    Have you got any cheese Thetyim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9999
    What would be really sweet is a round trip through Dali, back down through Myanmar,
    You will have to be quick.
    I just read this today:

    "Myanmar soon will close its borders to vehicular traffic following the Myanmar government announcement that in July 2014 there will be no more overland trips allowed to enter Myanmar by car. Reason for this is not explained or available at this time. "

  16. #16
    Thailand Expat 9999's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albert Shagnastier
    Take a bus to the border and hire a car in laos.
    Quote Originally Posted by Phuketrichard
    I drive and have driven my older honda civic all over Thailand, laos, Cambodia an Malaysia
    Yeah getting into Laos from Thailand is easy. It's going from Laos into China that's the hard part. Can it be done?

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