A perfect place to do nothing. Bring books and relax. Walk the river promenade up and down.
Today, more of a stopover than a destination itself. It is scenic and charming, but not much is going on. If you think Chiang Saen is laidback, you will think again after spending time in Chiang Khong.
Brief history of Chiang Khong
- AD 701, Chiang Khong was once a trading hub for local hill peoples and important for the commercial exchange with northern Laos.
- In the 1880s, it became annexed by Siam.
- In 1976 the area here on Mekong right bank hosted around 5000 ethnic Yao, Hmong and Lao people escaping the revolution in Laos
- In 2013 the fourth Friendship bridge was built over the Mekong, connecting Chiang Khong to Huay Xai in Laos. Therefore fewer travellers are spending the night here.
Some people stay overnight here and then go to Huay Xai on the Laos side; it’s a two-day slow boat or a 14-hour bus trip to Luang Prabang. It’s also possible to reach Yunnan Province in China from Huay Xai
Chiang Khong is 55 kilometres to the east of Chiang Saen. Part of the road here is over hills and mountains and following the Mekong. It is a very scenic drive here with some beautiful sections of the Mekong.
Chiang Khong is also famous for Pla Buk – the giant catfish is cultivated here.
Chiang Khong has some markets, but life is in the slow lane here. There is even a bar/coffee shop called Slow Bar. One of the best coffee shops in town.
Take a short walk before sunset enjoys some views and the sound of Laos. There is exercise equipment on some sections of the river promenade. Along the way, there are vendors selling BBQ and drinks.
The hotel where I stayed was the three-star Chiang Khong Teak Garden. Very decent, clean, a bathtub on the balcony. Nice swimming pool.
In Chiang Kong, you a very close to one of the best mountain, community-based lodges that exist in Thailand, The Lanjia Lodge. More about this in a later posting.