"From Chiang Mai to Guangdong to SEA" China Favorite Tip by seagypsy
China General: 366 reviews and 336 photos
Favorite thing: Are you in a rush or a time-table to visit Yunnan and Guangdong. If not, then there's no real need to rush through Laos. I would recommend visiting north or central Laos for a couple weeks before crossing into Yunnan via the Boten/Mohan border. This way you would not have to return to Laos but could head back into Southeast Asia via Vietnam. I would recommend at least travelling as far as Luang Prabang before heading north to the border. Althernatively, you could fly from Luang Prabang to Kunming aboard Lao Airlines.
Yet another option is to FLY from Bangkok to Macau or Hong Kong from where there are organized buses to Guangdong/Guangzhou City. Air Asia offers budget flights (and they're really cheap right now since Air Asia did away with their fuel surcharges). Yet another option is that there may be direct flights from Chiang Mai to Kunming or Guangzhou.
There are 'organized buses' from Vientiane and Luang Prabang all the way to Kunming with stops/pickups in Udomxai, Modan, Jinghong, etc. BUT, you will need the Chinese visa in advance since their visa is not issued at the border. If crossing into Laos from near Chiang Mai via the Chiang Khong>Huay Xai border, you can get a Lao visa upon arrival at the cost of U$35 + passport photo (U$42 if you're Canadian).
If you decide to stick to your original plans, ie. traveling into Laos to head to Yunnan/Jinghong/Kunming etc. and then onward to Guangzhou/Guangdong, then you can enter Vietnam via the Ping Xiang to Dang Dong border (southwest Guangxi to northeast Vietnam) or via the Mong Cai border along the Vietnam/China coast BUT you will need your Viet visa in advance. You can get a Chinese visa in Kunming, Nanning, and Guangzhou City. There's an organized bus from Nanning to Hanoi BUT alternatively you could drop down from Kunming via bus to Hekou in Yunnan which would bring you directly across from Lao Cai in northwest Vietnam (and from where it's easy to head on up to Sapa).
Tons of options but I hope this helps to give you an idea as to some of them! Safe travels.
PS--even if your grandparents came from Guangdong, you'll still need a Chinese phrasebook unless you speak perfect Mandarin/Guo-Yuo/Putong Hua. Also realize that China has many regional dialects such that Mandarin speakers may not necessarily understand the 'mandarin' that is spoken back to them in other provinces.
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