This place is a scam.
1. The worker behind the counter lied to me and told me the train went all the way to Veintaine when, in reality, it goes just over teh bridge where it dumps you at imagration. About 20-30 Baht for a 5 minute train ride (Which I know might not sound like a lot of money when you compare it everything back home, but as a long term budget traveler who had just paid 250 to go all the way from Bangkok (612 Km's and a 12 hour trip) I was a pit pissed.
2. Even though it was almost 9:30 in the morning , we had to wait for almost half an hour for the border counter to open, even though there was at least 4 officials walking aroudn doing nothing. Looked like a money grab to me, basically being stuck inbetween countries with the only ststaion shop being over priced and douchbaggy Tuk Tuk drivers slowly gathered around the exit.
3. Prices were pretty extreme for transpot. They "say" it's 50 Baht per person but really, like a lot of places out here, he will only leave the station for the fixed price of 300 Baht, he can take 6 people but unless your traveling in a big group this leaves the solo traveler pretty much fucked if theres no room. Also they has these crazy posted prices of a bus service to some of teh bigger tourist destinations. They had Vang Veing priced at 3,000 Baht for the 4 hour trip! (Roughly 100 USD!) The highest I've heard since then is maybe 80,000 Kip, or 10 USD
4. I met this couple who were getting picked up by there Uncle who said they could give me and thsi other french couple a free lift into town. Great! Until a Tuk Tuk driver came over and started feeding some bullshit about a fake law that states that forgeiners have to pay to leave the train station if there not getting picked up by family (What an extremely convenient subsection of Lao law that seemingly would only affect people in our situation!) motioning over to the police officers who were watching to all of this from the station (bloody corrupt pigs were in on it) and basically scared away out ride. All of this went down in French so I wasn't fully aware of the situation until I was halfway to the city with the french couple in another Tuk Tuk (what else could we do at that point?) ******* Scam Artists.
I know it's not the worst crossing in the area and all in all they didn't rip us off superbad, but It's a place where you basicaly get stuck and don't have a lot of options and one I wouldn't recomend anyone to take. I hear there's a train from Udon Thani that goes ALL the way into the city and will stop long enough for you to go through all the necessary customs. Probably a better option for the future.
#1 Naturepunk324 has been a member since 25/5/2011. Posts: 1
Totally agree. There's really no point to the Thanaleng station at this stage. You just wait a lot longer for what is effectively a ride across the bridge to a mostly ceremonial isolated location, then are at the mercy of very few transport options the remaining 25km to the city.
Until such time as the railway actually goes into Vientiane proper, just hop out at Nong Khai and take the 20 baht frequent bus over the bridge and get another frequent 50 baht bus into the city.