Onward to Laos
Many make Chiang Rai or Chiang Saen their last port of call in Thailand and head overland to rugged but inviting Laos. It is possible to travel downriver 70km (43 miles) to Chiang Khong, a small border town (buses and local songtaews also make the connection from either Chiang Rai or Chiang Saen). Most travelers head right across the border, but if you are stuck in Chiang Khong, try Ban Tammila (tel. 05379-1234), with basic rooms overlooking the river, from 350B; or Reuan Thai Sophaphan (tel. 05379-1023), right next door with slightly fancier rooms, some with A/C, from 350B to 600B. You'll need to arrange a visa to enter Laos, which is best done in Bangkok or Chiang Mai at any travel agency. Once you're over the border, the slow boat to Luang Prabang is rugged but memorable. Pick up Frommer's Southeast Asia for more information on travel in Laos.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.