Sunday, January 23, 2011

D4 & D8 Tue & Sat 11&16/1/2011 Nong Khai, Northern Thailand

Sleeper train (2nd class): Nong Khai>Bangkok = B688
Hostel: Intha Hotel, Vientiane = B568 (Deluxe double bed room)
Food: 55,000kip (B222)
Tuk-tuk: B35 + 10,000kip (B40)
Exchange rate B1=247kip; Rm1=B9.52
Total expenses incurred : B1,553 (Rm163)

The Bangkok train (departed 20.00 B688) arrived in Nong Khai at around 11.00 instead of 08.25 as scheduled - late by 2 1/2 hrs. Instead of taking a connecting Laos train from Nong Khai to Thanaleng, Laos, I chose to cross the border by tuk-tuk (B20) to the Laos Immigration checkpoint. It took almost 45 mins for the queue up before my passport was processed.

During the train ride, I met a Thai businessman who has become a Taiwan national and he was looking forward to renew his old ties with two Laos friends who were his university mates in Taiwan in the 1960's. He was kind enough to ask his Laos friends to offer me a lift to my hotel in Vientiane - located next to the Mekong river. What a great start for my first day in Laos !

1) Nong Khai Train Station, Northern Thailand

2) Border crossing at Nong Khai, Northern Thailand via Friendship bridge to Vientiane, Laos - Mini buses (5,000kips=B20) and Laos-Thai International bus (17,000kip=B68) ferried passengers at the Laos Immigration checkpoint to Talat Sao bus terminal, Vientiane. On the spot 15 day tourist visa (US$30) can be issued to non-Asean members

3) The Thai-Laos Friendship Bridge - 25km east of Vientiane, Laos . The cost of building this bridge was financed by Australia.

4) Thanaleng train station, Laos - A connecting train from Nong Khai to Thanaleng costs B30 for a 15 min ride (3.5km) . Thanaleng is the first train station built by the Laos Government and started operational in 2009. China & Laos had recently signed an agreement to built a rail link connecting both countries.

On arrival at the Nong Kai train station, I boarded a tuk-tuk together with locals & tourists to Laos Immigration checkpoint - we were packed like a can of sardines, what a fun and I paid B20 (Rm2) for this ride ! "

" You feel happiness through what you experience not because of what you are "

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