Eventually a bus arrived to take us from Chiang Rai airport to our accommodation at Chiang Saen. It was a luxury double decker coach, comfortable seats and from the top deck we obtained an excellent view. The downstairs section contained seating with tables.
We enjoyed the ride so much to our hotel and then to the White Temple that we requested the coach for the next day when we visited the Doi Tung Royal Villa and botanical garden. We also retained the bus for our day journey to Chiang Mai.
Be aware that there are luxury coaches available.
For anyone who has sat through a 2 day boat trip to Luang Prabang, the service offered by the owner of the River Hill Hotel in Chiang Saen will be of great interest for any return trips.
A "package" deal, including
1 night's accommoation at the hotel, including breakfast
24 hour visa service
Comfortable 52km minibus transfer to Chiang Khong and exit Thailand
Boat assistance and escort across the river to Huay Xai and through customs process
Transfer to the boat taking us to Luang Prabang - which I assume he owns.
The owner had excellent English, and, in addition to the overall service, gave a practical and useful talk about Luang Prabang, what to do when we got there, money that would be required, where to look for accommodatioin etc.
A cut lunch, for 150Bt was also available from the hotel, with more food than I would eat in a couple of days. It was fresh and well worth the additional few $$.
The boat was very comfortable, with coach seats, plenty of legroom, a bar with plenty of Beerlao and other drinks, as well as snacks additional to the lunches.
The trip took a little over 10 hours, the last hour or more of which were in complete darkness!