I will stop there in just a little over a month. The boat to cross the Mekong River from Chiang Khong in Tai, to Houei Xai in Laos, costs 20 baht (in May '09). The visa for Lao, can be extended to a month-long visa, $ 35 USA. You need to be sure you have a passport valid for 6 months from the date of issue of the visa, and two photographs (even if you have two with it, in my case). I spent one night in Houxei, I never expected to get to Laos that day and so I had to come up with something. The next day I took the boat down the Mekong to Luang Phrabang. PS: I can not re-edit, but the photos belong to Houei Xai in Laos. I guess I felt bad, because this place did not exist in the drop-down menu, and I had to leave it as is. Sorry.
One of the typical things to do in Thailand is the Elephant Camp in Chiang Mai, north of Bangkok. In a large arena domestic elephants show off their skills by juggling, drawing, and acting for the public, always under the watchful eye of their trainers. After the performance you can ride the elephants and take a walk to the river where the tour continues on rafts.
VIP charter buses are offered by various travel agencies in Bangkok. They usually have television and air conditioning. The Bangkok to Chiang Mai route takes about 11 - 12 hours, vs 12 - 14 on the train. These buses usually leave at night and arrive in Chiang Mai at dawn. The price is negotiable - the normal price is around 450 baht (about 10 euros), but you can manage to lower it to 300 or even 200 baht. From Chiang Mai to Bangkok it is easy to find buses for 300-400 baht.
This in an outdoor visit. First, you visit an area of previously abused elephants that have been taught new activities. They live with caregivers ve bathe, train and feed them. You can take a walk and watch them bathing in the river. Afterwards, a bullock cart takes you to the Mae Taman River where you embark on a two kilometre stretch of river in a bamboo raft.
The oxcart cart is a common means of transport in rural Thailand, especially for farmers tilling fields or transporting crops. We had the chance to try this unique method of transport out, and I can assure you that it's the most uncomfortable I've ever experienced in my life! The muddy roads, full of stones, make it a really torturous experience! It's still worth a try at least to experience something from such a different culture.