Has anyone gone from Vientiane to Bangkok by train? Am looking for some useful info about how to travel from Vientiane to Bangkok by train.
Would be great if i could find out what type of trains (1 day, 2 days?), how often they run (twice a day? once a day?) and how much it might cost (for different classes, if any). Most important, how many days in advance would you need to book tickets? I'd be most grateful if you have any reliable agents who do the booking for you and give you a ticket ready for your journey.
#1 the_tundraman has been a member since 18/3/2008. Posts: 11
I'm not sure if it's what Tundraman was asking about but supposedly by the end of April, (I'm not holding my breath) the line across the freindship bridge to Ban Tanalaeng (outside Vientiane) will open for passenger service, and it will truly be possible to travel all the way from Bankok to the outskirts of Vientiane. No rates or fares on Thai Railway Web Site.
This rail service has been rumored for years, the Thais even built all the way across to the line at the bridge thinking that a deal is a deal. Many years later it just might be.
I sincerely hope the tuk tuk mafia by the freindship bridge goes out of business and they end up selling flowers at the market.
I did the trip by train in Nov 2006. You can't actually go from VT because its in Laos. You have to cross into Thailand, and catch the train fron Nong Khai. The train station is a few kms out of town, but within bike riding distance. There are daily trains to BKK. The rail extension to the border at the Friendship Bridge is currently under construction, but unfinished (to the best of my knowledge). Second or third class is the way to go on this trip. Up-to-date info on times and prices can be found at www.seat61.com Good luck.
#4 rayc101 has been a member since 19/2/2006. Posts: 50
thanks, rayc101 tis is an awesome site. it will go into my favourites.
#5 the_tundraman has been a member since 18/3/2008. Posts: 11
As its a long ol' trip, i recommend a 1st class sleeper train if there is 2 of you (or 4 people in to rooms etc...) If your on your own and dont want to share a compartment with a stranger it might be better to take a lower class and shre with everyone. Ive done both and are both fun.
You will get the train from BKK to Nong Kai. When you get off the train at the station get a TUK TUK (actually, they will get you!) and tell him to take you to the boarder for Loas. He will probably take you straight to a visa service for you to make a visa. If you have one you wont need this. MAKE SURE HE UNDERSTANDS THAT. Its very annoying getting taken around places you dont want/need to go to when your just trying to get a taxi ride.
If you dont have one you can make your visa at the border. Once thru the boarder just get a taxi in the carpark to Vientian. I usally bypass all the taxi drivers shouting at me and find one that dont look like hes desprate to get all my money in one fair. ;)
Once in the center its a great place to explore! We hired a moped. Make sure you check out BUDDHA PARK.
well i am definitely going from Bkk, i have already planned a train trip from Singapore to Bangkok, a final train from bangkok to nong khai and then on to vientiane will be needed!
thanks for the tips. likely i'll be going 2nd class.i'm indian and have traveled in my country in my trains, and i suspect these sleeper coaches will be very similar.
Buddha Park, here i come.
#10 the_tundraman has been a member since 18/3/2008. Posts: 11
Did the train 16 months ago from BKK.
Don't miss out on a few days stay in Nong Khai.
It's a super laid back place, hardly any traffic, and some lovely little places to eat.
Visited the Buddha Park too, just outside Vientienne.
You can get there by public bus from the main bus station.
The park is right on the Mekong and actually overlooks Nong Khai.
It's got a v.pleasant open air restaurant, and it's as cheap as chips.
Get the bus back and drop in on the BeerLao Brewery.
#11 LancasterLad has been a member since 13/9/2006. Posts: 62
Have to agree with LancasterLad, Nong Khai is a really great place. Take your time there. It grows on you. It may not have the superficial appeal of Phuket or Ko Samui, but its laid back, friendly, super easy to negotiate, and has a couple of good drinking holes. I found it more congenial than Vientiane, but not as out-there as Pnom Penh.
Currently counting down the days until I'm back in Laos and Cambodia in June.
#12 rayc101 has been a member since 19/2/2006. Posts: 50
Each to their own Rufus
#14 rayc101 has been a member since 19/2/2006. Posts: 50
Quite amusing that Rufus.
What are all thoser big holes in the pavements in Vientiane?
Stinky, slimy, and potentially very dangerous 'bogholes' are they not mon?
#15 LancasterLad has been a member since 13/9/2006. Posts: 62
I agree with LancasterLad's recommendation to visit Nong Khai too. Vientiane certainly has the better beer and a definite charm, but that shouldn't preclude anyone from enjoying a few days in Nong Khai either. The two locations are different, but one isn't necessarily better than the other.
I like Nong Khai because of the laid back feeling, the variety of cheerful watering holes, and its comparitively better location along the river, particularly from places like the Mut Mee Guest House. If it is still running, the nightly dinner and/or drinks cruise that departs from the pier near the Mut Mee is lots of fun too. Just be sure to avoid the "cheese" sandwiches at the cafe across from the train station! Regards.
Thank you all. My train tickets are almost booked.
On another note, does anyone know if Re-Entry permits to Thailand can be obtained in Nong Khai?
Last i checked the Thailand Immigration Bureau, Nong Khai is listed as an "Immigration Checkpoint" from where "one can apply for a re-entry permit". I'd be much obliged if you could share your experience with applying for the permit at Nong Khai. E-mailing them hasn't helped, and i'm not very keen on calling (yet!).
If one can apply for the permit at Nong Khai, then looks like i'll find my excuse to stay for a few days there after all :D
Further complication, i hold an Indian passport which gets me halted and squinted at, at immigration checkpoints. This might complicate the Re-Entry permit at Nong Khai for me a bit, i am guessing. If anyone can tell me how easy it is for Indian Nationals to get this permit from Nong Khai (Will they ask me to march to Bangkok instead?) i'll be super grateful.
Thank you all, once again. Looking forward to replies.
#17 the_tundraman has been a member since 18/3/2008. Posts: 11
@RayC101 : I plan to travel through these bits in Mid june too. Tips/Travel suggestions would be appreciated.
@Tundraman : What did you finally do? Have you tried applying for a Double Entry Tourist Visa for Thailand? It costs about 3-400THB more but will save you the hassle... though I just want to take it as it comes. Hehe. Adventure.
#18 dharmakaya has been a member since 12/5/2008. Posts: 16
I'm not quite sure of the question, but assuming you mean my June trip through S Laos and down Mekong to Phnom Penh (in 2 weeks time...woohoo). Unfortunately I haven't travelled these sections before, and will be winging it. However, if its anything like N Laos, it'll be memorable.
#19 rayc101 has been a member since 19/2/2006. Posts: 50
Just read a few more of these Nong Khai posts, extolling its virtues. I am curious as to what these are. There are nothing like the hisoric Wats you see in Vientiane, no museums, no national library, the Western restaurants are not as good as in Vientiane; perhaps not even the Thai/Laos as the food there is typical Isaan and hence pretty much the same as in Vientiane. There is a Lotus Tesco which might appeal to some, and yes groceries are cheaper there. Wines and other alcoholic beverages are dearer - a lot. Oh yes, there are also some girly bars if that sort of thing appeals to you, but I suspect they are not up to those that can be found further south.
Udon on the other hand, is worth a day or so.
I guess it all just comes down to a matter of taste. It doesn't bother me at all if folks like Rufus don't like Nong Khai, consider it a boghole, and never ever choose to visit there. In fact, that would probably only add to Nong Khai's charm.
As for me, I've had several wonderful and relaxing stays in Nong Khai. And while it doesn't have the variety of national libraries and other cultural treasures of a major world capital like Vientiane, Nong Khai has developed its own enjoyable style over the past several decades. The nightly dinner cruises on the Mekong, the Mut Mee Guest House and the accompanying laid-back atmosphere along the river with its comparably better views compared to the main section of Vientiane, and the variety of places to spend a fun but quiet evening will continue to be a draw for me either on the way to or returning from Laos. There are several good temples in Nong Khai to visit, including the famous Wat Khaek, similar if not the sister facility to the famous sculpture gardens across the river in Laos.
Nong Khai and Vientiane are not mutually exclusive, and it is silly to posture that they are. Cheers.
Another inexact comment. Of course they are mutually exclusive. They are in different countries with a different system of government to start off with. Perusing any decent history book will provide relevant information. Judging a town by the liking for one guesthouse is weird indeed.
Ray, your timing seems to be round about the time Im will be there too.
Im not new to Thailand but will be my first Laos/Cambo entry.
My plans as of now is to head into Laos from CM around 10th/11th June... see my thread here - http://www.travelfish.org/board/post/laos/3892_Entering-Laos-from-Thailand--Overland-/0
Would be good to exchange notes.. drop me a mail if you dont mind psy(delete me)fraggle@gmail(dot)com
#23 dharmakaya has been a member since 12/5/2008. Posts: 16
at this point I'm convinced that Rufus is disagreeing with whatever I write solely for the sake of disagreeing. that's just silly.
according to webster, mutually exclusive means:
"being related such that each excludes or precludes the other ; also : incompatible "
therefore, by definition, vientiane and nong khai are not and cannot be mutually exclusive, since it is entirely possible to visit both on any given trip, as i've happily done many times. they certainly are "different", but again, that does not make them mutually exclusive. actually, i think they are more "complimentary" than anything else. cheers.
It gives me a feeling of great personal worth that My topic has been selected as the site of some personal bickering. Thanks to all who have made and are making this possible.
I've finished my trip to Laos, and am now in India. Thanks to everyone who offered their suggestions and advice on this topic.
And, for those who get off the train at Nong Khai and are making their way to Laos, the friendship bridge is 5 minutes away from the station by walk, and not 50 baht away by tuk tuk. The walk would have been very pleasant, long train journey notwithstanding.
#25 the_tundraman has been a member since 18/3/2008. Posts: 11
Im leaving India now to visit Laos :)
#26 dharmakaya has been a member since 12/5/2008. Posts: 16
Hmm.. About that railroad.
Just read here,
sorry no linkage on TF, that they are testing the 3.5km section in Laos, photo shows new train station and train, other photo shows track via google earth. Some day I think you will be able to get on and go to Bangkok.