LUANG PRABANG, 4 April 2019: Bangkok Airways successfully launched its new direct service from Chiang Mai in North Thailand to Luang Prabang a World Heritage town in northern Laos.
The airline plans to extend its network from Chiang Mai to tourist towns in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, although the launch to Luang Prabang was marred by a blanket of smog that has covered the Chiang Mai valley and disrupted some flights.
The new service, scheduled three times a week, makes it possible for tourists to visit North Thailand and then fly direct to Luang Prabang in Laos without back-tracking to Bangkok to connect with flights to the famous world heritage town in Laos.
Bangkok Airways flies the route Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday using the 70-seater ATR 72-600 aircraft.
The outbound flight PG983 departs from Chiang Mai International Airport at 1630 and arrives in Luang Prabang International Airport at 1745. The return flight PG984 departs Luang Prabang International Airport 1830 and arrives in Chiang Mai International Airport at 1945.
The best fare on offer this month starts at USD275 return for the one-hour and 15-minute flight.
There are no competing direct services flagged on all the popular airline booking sites such as Skyscanner, FareCompare, Wego and Expedia.
However, if you search for 30 to 40 minutes, eventually you will discover Lao Airlines has a flight between Chiang Mai and Luang Prabang on its books with departures on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. The fare is around USD215 roundtrip on flight QV635. But efforts to book a seatt on OTAs and even the Lao Airlines website failed.
Alternatives with lower fares are flights to Vientiane or to Bangkok. AirAsia offers a roundtrip fare of USD241 for roundtrip Chiang Mai-Luang Prabang travel with a change of plane in Don Mueang Airport Bangkok. End-to-end travel time is around 5 to six hours and 30 minutes.