Chiang Khong (เชียงของ) is a town in Chiang Rai Province, Northern Thailand. It is mainly visited as a stop-off point en-route to the ferry crossing to Laos.
Chiang Khong is the Thai counterpart to the Lao border town of Huay Xai, just across the Mekong. Chiang Khong is a small, sleepy town with one main road and no night life. It has a Friday market, a lot of temples, a craft village with a busy market and a temple. The best time to visit is from October to January, or on the April 18 Giant Catfish Festival when baby giant catfish are taken to the Mekong river.
Buses arrive from Chiang Rai every 30 minutes from 5.00 AM to 16.00 PM and other major cities in Northern Thailand and Isaan. Daytime and overnight buses run directly from Bangkok's Northern Bus Terminal (Moh Chit) to Chiang Khong every day. There are also 5 overnight buses from Moh Chit which leave at 19.00 pm and arrive at Chiang Khong the next morning at 8.00 am, and one daytime bus which leaves Moh Chit at 7.00 am and arrives in Chiang Khong at 20.00 pm.
From Huay Xai in Laos is a short ferry trip (10,000 Kip) across the Mekong (6am to 6pm). Thai Immigration here seems to lack both computers and the annoying cameras now installed in Bangkok's airport and, consequently, is extremely quick. However, arriving by this overland route means that you will only be given a tourist visa valid for fifteen days, compared with the 30 days you would get flying into Bangkok. The ferry is at the northern end of Chiang Khong: if you want to move on without stopping in the city it is relatively easy to make independent travel arrangements with various vehicle operators, or you can walk into town to the bus station. Minibuses for Chiang Mai are available for 250 baht. There is also the "green bus" making many stops to Chiang Mai for about 200 baht.
The riverfront area can be seen on foot but it's worth getting a tuk-tuk or taxi for the trip out to the bus station. Small ferries cross the river every few minutes for about 20 baht (5,000 kip). The border crossing closes at 18:00.
If you want to look around Chiang Khong the best way is rent a bike or motorbike to visit local villages and the banks of the Mekong.
- H'mong Village (10 km.)
- Nam Chang Dam for fishing and swimming (7 Km.)
- Thai Lue village with cloth weaving(15 Km.)
- Waterfall (near to H'mong village)
- Thai sauna at Baanrimtaling
- The Chiang Khong Fishery Station is able to inseminate and breed this largest fresh-water fish. Fingerlings bred here have been released in several rivers.
- Learn Thai cooking at Baanrimtaling
- Visit the golden triangle by motorbike - 1 day trip(60 Km.)
- Visit a rustic village near the Mekong Village.
- The Hub -Bike Museum ran by an Professional cyclist Alan bate that has a great selection of bikes you wouldn't see anywhere in the centre of town
Temples in Chiang Khong:
- Wat Sri don Chai
- Wat Sob som
- Wat Prakeaw
- Wat Luang
- Wat Hat Krai
- Wat Hou weing
- Wat Tung Duk
There are several ATMs in the town - Kasikorn Bank, GSB, Siam Commercial Bank, Krung Thai Bank and a new machine in front of the 7/11 at the bus station. All banks are closed on Saturday and Sunday but you should be able to use the ATMs. If you are heading to Laos get your money first because there are no ATMs in Huey Xai, though there is a bank near the riverfront. Outside of banking hours it may be possible to cash a traveller's cheque with a local shop or hotel.
There is an ATM in Huey Xai which dispenses Laos KIP. This has been the case for several years now. The maximum withdrawal per transaction is 700,000kip. The bank is situated at the top of the road leading from the pier. Simply turn left at the top and you can miss it. It is called Banque pour le Commerce Exterier Lao and the exact address and contact details are: Huaysay North Village, Huaysay District, Borkeo Province, Tel: (856-084) 212162, 212169, 212171, Fax: (856-084) 212162, 212169, E-mail: [email protected]
- Sukhawadee (สุขาวดี) 84/1 Ban Had Bai Tel: 0 5365 0975 (cotton)
- Rimnam Guesthouse and Restaurant 166/1 moo 12 . River view.
- Baanrimtaling Home stay & Restaurant have a Vegetarian food and good Thai curry, call 053-791613, 084-6155490 Learning Thai cooking How to make Curry, Pad Thai, Tomyam. After cooking you have your own dinner.
- Visit a small market at Baan Hat Krai village to see catfish for sale and some produce from the jungle, for example mushrooms and river weeds from the Mekong.
- Restaurant above Boom Guesthouse on the other side of the street - Is run for 25 years by a very nice lady who does even some talking with the falangs. And good food too!
- Nang Nuan (นางนวล) Ban Hat Khrai, Tel: 0 5379 1271 (Thai food)
There are very few bars as such in Chiang Khong. Your best bet for evening entertainment is a Big Chang beer/Singha Beer at your guesthouse.
- Tee Pee Bar, (Near Madam Pub). Best described as a "rat hole" By Jip at the Bamboo Riverside Guesthouse. Offering the standard fare of traveller music (Eric Clapton, Bob Marley, Oasis and others).
- Bamboo Riverside Guesthouse (แบมบู ริเวอร์ไซด์ เกสต์เฮาส์) 71/1 Mu 1 Hua Wiang (Tel: 0 5379 1621 E-mail: [email protected]), 10 rooms: 150-250 baht
- Ban Fai Guesthouse (บ้านฝ้าย เกสต์เฮาส์) 108 Mu 8 Ban Wiang Kaew, Tambon Wiang (Tel: 0 5379 1394), 9 rooms: 80-150 baht
- Ban Rim Khong (บ้านริมโขง) 278/3 Mu 7 Ban Had Krai, Tambon Wiang (Tel: 0 8 1281 9966, Tel & Fax:0 5379 1269), 4 rooms: 200-400 baht
- Ban Rim Taling (บ้านริมตลิ่ง) 99/4 Mu 3 Ban Sopsom Tambon Wiang (Tel: 0 5379 1613, 08 4615 5490), , 10 rooms: 200-450 baht. Room with hot shower, Bungalow, Mekong River view. 400m from bus stop/7-Eleven towards Wat Sob.
- Ban Tammila (บ้านตำมิละ) 113 Mu 8 Tambon Wiang (Tel & Fax: 0 5379 1234), 9 rooms: 200-500 baht
- Boom Guesthouse Rooms from 250 baht. But nice style. Everything in wood, including the terasse with view over the mekong.
- Chom Khong Guesthouse tel. +66-53655661
- Chiang Khong River View Hotel 141 Moo 12; tel. +66-53791375  Hot showers, river views, some rooms with air-con. 350-600 baht.
- Nam Khong Gueshouse 408 Moo 1; tel. +66-53655102
- Rimnam Guesthouse and Restaurant 166/1 moo 12  350-500 baht.
- SP Guesthouse 409 Moo 1; tel. +66-53791767  Dorms, single and double rooms, and one two-person guest hut. 80-200 baht.
There have been reports from travellers that there are wild/feral dogs which come out in this town late at night.
- Laos - most guesthouses can arrange a package deal with food and overnight accommodation in Pakbeng for the trip to Luang Prabang, but it is fairly simple to do as an independent traveller as well. It's worth crossing the border a day early and spending the night in Huay Xai to be up and ready to catch a boat down the river first thing in the morning.
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