On the banks of the Mekong River, Chiang Khong town is all that remains of the much larger territory of Chiang Khong, most of which was lost to the French in 1893, when they claimed it as part of French Indochina (the rest of this land now forms part of Laos). A growing border town, Chiang Khong is largely dominated by events in Laos. The town was one of the key points of arrival for refugees after the Communist victory in Laos in 1975. There is a large Thai Lue community here too, and shops sell their distinctive, multicolored textiles. Chiang Khong’s main temple is the 13th-century Wat Luang, in the town center. On a hillside just northwest of town is a cemetery where some 200 Chinese KMT soldiers, killed in battles against Communists in the area since the 1960s, are buried.
Visitors can take a ferry to Huay Xai, just inside the Lao border. Visas can be obtained on arrival at Huay Xai immigration at a cost of $35. You will need two passport-size photos. An important trading center, Huay Xai boasts the 19th-century Wat Chan Khao Manirat.