Udon Thani Airport is located on the south side of town and can be reached by songthaew #15, which will drop you outside the front gates along the main road. Taxis are available at the arrivals terminal to take you into the city.
At time of writing, Nok Air, Thai Airways, Air Asia, Bangkok Airways and Thai Lion Air combine to offer over 15 daily flights between Udon and Bangkok. Nok Air also runs a daily flight between Udon and Chiang Mai.
The train station is situated on the east side of town in the heart of the shopping and expat area, a 10-minute walk northeast from the old bus station.
Trains run north to Nong Khai at 03:35, 06:00, 07:40, 11:30 and 17:10, and take around an hour. Trains run south to Khon Kaen, Nakhon Ratchasima (Khorat) and Bangkok at 07:40, 18:50, 19:20 and 20:00, with a couple of additional departures terminating at Khorat.
In Bangkok, Udon-bound trains depart at 08:20, 18:35, 20:00 and 20:45. Several types of fares are available, including hard third-class seats for 205 baht, air-con soft seats in the 450-550 baht range, and sleepers in the 740 to 1,280 baht range.
Udon Thani has two main bus stations. Bus Terminal 1, or the Old Bus Station -- Bor Kor Sor Gao in Thai -- is centrally located between Prajak and Posri roads, just southwest of the train station. Bus Terminal 2, the New Bus Station -- Bor Kor Sor Mai -- is situated far west of town on the outer ring road. Songthaews #10, 15 and 22 pass close to both stations and are very cheap, but you’ll need to know where to hop off as they don’t actually go into the parking lots. Tuk tuks will ask for a negotiable 150 to 200 baht to take you from one station to the other.
At Bus Terminal 1, some of the ticket offices are located around the corner from the actual station on Sai Uthit Road. Fares include:
Bangkok (Morchit): Multiple departures every hour from 06:30 to 22:45, with most of the first-class buses costing from 400 to 500 baht. Most of the VIP buses depart around 21:00 and cost 600 to 700 baht. The trip takes around 11 hours and most of these buses also service Khon Kaen and Khorat.
Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi Airport): Departs at 21:00, costs 434 baht. Ticket office is on Sai Uthit Road.
Vientiane, Laos: International buses depart every one to 1.5 hours from 08:00 to 18:00 for 80 baht and take around three hours including waiting time at the immigration checkpoints. Travellers who do not already have Lao visas cannot take these buses. You can acquire a visa at the Lao consulate in Khon Kaen, or do what most foreigners do: take a bus to Nong Khai and grab a tuk tuk to the border, where many nationalities can get a Lao visa on arrival.
Vang Vieng, Laos: One daily bus departs at 08:30 for 270 baht and takes the better part of a day. As with the Vientiane buses, travellers who don't already have Lao visas cannot take this bus.
Chaiyaphum: Departs every two hours from 08:10 to 16:10 for 200 baht and takes five hours.
Chiang Rai: Two buses depart at 18:15, a first-class for 660 baht and a VIP for 1,010 baht. Also services Mae Sai. More Chiang Rai-bound buses depart from Bus Terminal 2 (see below).
Kanchanaburi: A first-class bus departs at 09:30 for 495 baht, and a VIP bus departs at 19:30 for 770 baht. The trip takes 12 hours.
Khon Kaen: Multiple departures every hour by regular bus and minibus from 06:00 to 17:00 for 80 to 90 baht. After 17:00, catch a Bangkok-bound bus and get off at KK.
Khorat: A mix of regular buses and minibuses depart multiple times every hour from 05:30 to 18:00, cost around 190 baht and take six to seven hours. Bangkok-bound buses also service Khorat.
Mukdahan: Minibuses depart hourly from 06:30 to 09:30, and again at 12:40, 15:00 and 16:00. The cost is 180 baht and the ride takes four to five hours.
Nakhon Phanom: Departs roughly every hour from 05:00 to 16:00 for 160 baht and takes around three hours. Also services Sakhon Nakhon.
Nong Khai: Multiple departures every hour from 06:00 to 20:00 for 40 to 50 baht, and the ride takes an hour. Minibuses also also depart direct from the airport along with several other places in town (see below).
Phuket: A first-class bus departs at 14:00 for 1,300 baht, and a VIP bus departs at 15:45 for 1,735 baht.
Rayong: First-class buses depart at 11:45 and then hourly from 16:30 to 20:30 for 560 baht, and take around 12 hours. VIP buses depart at 08:00, 18:30 and 20:50. All of these also service Khorat and Pattaya.
Sakhon Nakhon: Departs every half-hour from 06:00 to 17:20 for 105 baht and takes around two hours. Also services Nong Han, where you can grab a tuk tuk or private songthaew to Ban Chiang.
Ubon Ratchathani: Departs roughly every hour from 06:30 to 14:00 for 230 to 300 baht depending on class, and takes around seven hours.
A handful of other options pick up at a stand in front of Central Plaza, a five-minute walk northwest of Bus Terminal 1 on the northern side of Prajak Rd (look for a gazebo-type building with ticket booths in front of the mall). Fares include:
Chiang Mai: Picks up at 17:45, 18:45 and 20:45 for 606 baht. More departures to Chiang Mai are available at Bus Terminal 2 (see below), but those available here will be the most convenient for a lot of travellers.
Khon Kaen: Minibuses depart every half-hour from 05:00 to 17:30 for 80 baht.
Nong Khai: Minibuses depart every half-hour from 06:00 to 20:00 for 50 baht.
From Bus Terminal 2, fares include:
Bangkok (Morchit): There are three departures from 20:45 to 21:25 for 500 baht.
Chiang Mai: There are at least six departures from 17:00 to 20:45, with fares ranging from 600 to 850 baht depending on class. The somewhat grueling ride uses winding mountain roads and takes a solid 12 hours. Also services Phitsanulok and Lampang. If you don’t want to take a night bus, catch a Phitsanulok-bound bus and make a transfer.
Chiang Rai: First-class buses depart at 15:50, 17:00 and 18:50 for 595 baht. VIP buses depart at 18:15, 20:00 and 20:45 for 700 to 1,110 baht. The ride takes 12 to 14 hours. Also services Phitsanulok, Uttaradit and Phrae.
Loei: Departs every half-hour from 04:50 to 17:50 for 100 baht and takes around three hours. Also services Nong Bua Lamphu.
Nong Khai: Minibuses pick up hourly from 05:00 to 19:00 for 50 baht.
Phitsanulok: Departs at 07:30, 09:30 and 12:00 for 225 to 300 baht depending on class, and takes around seven hours. Also services Loei, Phu Ruea National Park and Dan Sai. If heading to Sukhothai, make a transfer in P’lok.
Additionally, a handful of minibuses and long-distance songthaews depart from Rangsina Market, located on the far northern side of town off Udon Dutsadi Road. Fares from here include:
Ban Phue (closest city to Phu Phra Bat Historical Park): Minibuses depart hourly from 06:00 to 20:00 for 80 baht and take an hour.
Nong Khai: Minibuses depart every half-hour from 05:00 to 20:30 for 50 baht.
Sangkhom: Songthaews depart five times from 10:00 to 16:40 for 120 baht and take four to five hours.
Udon is a spread out city that’s easy to get lost in if you don’t have GPS or a good map. Keep an eye out for the quality English maps printed by UD Map, available at many guesthouses and Western restaurants, or stop by the TAT office on Tasa Rd to pick up an official tourist map.
A fleet of cheap public songthaews connects the city, though they’ll be rather daunting for those who aren’t familiar with the system. Number 15 is a particularly useful one, running along Posri Road in the east of town (near the old bus station) before cutting west past the police stations on Srisuk Road and continuing onto the new bus station.
Udon also has a huge number of tuk tuks along with a few meter taxis, motorbike taxis and a dying breed of old-fashioned samlors. The constantly available tuk tuks are notorious for over-charging foreigners.
Bicycles can be rented at Asia Backpackers Udon and Baan Rare Guesthouse for 100 baht per day. Motorbike rental is available at several places on Soi Sampantamit as well as at Pet Motors, which has an office directly across from Central Plaza on Prajak Road. Expect to pay 200 to 300 baht for a motorbike, depending on the style you choose and how long you intend to keep it.
There are also several car rental options, including the aforementioned Pet Motors, Lek Car Rental, UD Car Rent and some more mainstream agencies with booths at the airport.
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