Going to South Asia by Land
The second last town (Mohan is the last, right on the border) before Laos, is about five hours away by bus from Jinghong. Buses leave from the Banna Bus Station two times every one hour for 33 RMB per head. From Mengla there is one bus daily at 9:00 am to Luang Nam Tha, the first town in Laos.
Getting from Jinghong to Vietnam can prove to be a bit of a problem. Go to Kunming and start from there. You may have to wait for a day or two to get a train or bus ticket to the Vietnamese border. A second, marginally preferable option is to take a sleeper bus from the north bus station to Mengzi. These leave every day at 14:00 am. A cost is 170 RMB per head and arrives at Mengzi at 6:00 am the following day. A taxi will be ready to take you to the town’s second bus station where a minibus leaves for the border town of Hekou at 6:50 am and gets there at 11:00 am. From there you can cross over the bridge to the Vietnamese town of Lao Cai.
There is a direct bus to Luang Namtha. Get tickets at the new northern bus station in Jinghong. Bus leaves at 10:00 am. Cost is 70 RMB. It takes 8 hours, arriving in Luang Namtha just before dark (around 18:00 pm). Be prepared for stops along the way. You can purchase a Laos’s visa on arrival for 35 US dollars.
Direct bus from Jinghong to the Laos-Thailand border at 6:40 am, is about 6 hours trip. Every day is only one shift, and 120 RMB per head.