How to get to Nong Khai from Bangkok
It is a real pity that for the overwhelming majority of foreign tourists passing through Nong Khai the provincial capital and the province itself remain just a transit point on the way from Thailand to the capital of Laos. Stretching along the banks of Mekong, Nong Khai boasts the scenery striking with its quiet beauty. Pink sunsets, rural temples and laidback vive are what the region can offer to the traveller who is ready to slow down and to indulge in simple pleasures of life in Isan. Probably the two most well-known attractions of Nong Khai are the surreal Sala Kaew Ku sculptural park (there is a similar creation on the other side of Mekong, too) and the ethereal naga fireballs which are an inexplicable phenomenon observed yearly on the last day of the Buddhist Lent, Wan Ok Phansa. Note that though the backpacking scene is quite modest in Nong Khai, the city still remains the most explored by travellers region of the northeastern Thailand.
Getting to Nong Khai
Getting from Bangkok to Nong Khai is straightforward and easy as the route is well-travelled. There is a direct railway line from Bangkok which passes through Nakhon Ratchasima before terminating at Nong Khai. You have also a wide choice of buses, both governmental and those of private companies. If you are travelling by car, follow Route 2 from Saraburi to Nong Khai which is actually the first Thai highway meeting all the international standards, so the road trip is normally smooth and pleasant.
From Bangkok to Nong Khai by train
Trains to Nong Khai depart from the Hua Lamphong train station in Bangkok and cover all the 624 km to the Lao border in 10-11 hours. There are morning and evening trains. Though travelling during the day makes you ‘loose’ the precious day-time of your journey, it is still worth considering as the countryside scenery you are going to pass is idyllic: grazing water buffalos, rice paddies, lively villages and much more. Besides, if you do not bother to book your train ticket in advance, the morning #75 train may be the only option available for the dates of your travel. Note that this train has the 3rd class seats only (air-conditioned, though), and for a lower back of an unprepared traveller it may turn our a challenge to spend on board 9½ hours. The night trip saves you some baht for a hotel room and the whole journey is normally a pleasant experience as you can sleep the whole night through. Even the 2nd class sleepers provide quite comfy seats which fold out into bunk beds, and there are curtains to give you some privacy. Second class AC sleepers go at THB958 and are the first to sell out. Note that #69 train departing at 8pm from Hua Lamphong also offers ladies only carriages at the same price. The first class sleepers cost THB1517 which is a good investment for the most comfortable and carefree ride. If you are on a budget, there are also 2nd class AC seats only carriages (THB453). #69 arrives to Nong Khai at 6.45am. This is the most convenient option for travelling from Bangkok. There is also the #77 train leaving Bangkok at 8.35pm but it arrives to Nong Khai early in the morning (4.15am) and has only second class AC seats.
The train station in Nong Khai is located southwest from the downtown. A tuk-tuk ride will cost you around THB60.
From Bangkok to Nong Khai by bus
The main bus terminal in Bangkok serving the route is Mochit which is in the north of the city. Buses depart throughout the day and differ in the level of comfort, but all of them have a toilet on board, serve snacks and make pit stops at a larger gas stations with multiple forecourt operators. A bus ride is about 9-10 hours long. It is a good idea to take an advantage of night buses which arrive to Nong Khai early in the morning. Budsarakan Tour and Sawadee Esan both operate night express buses and offer similar service which also includes an entertainment program (be prepared to listen to Thai style music!). Generally TV is switched off a couple of hours after the departure, so it is not a problem. There are three Budsarakan Tour night buses – at 7pm (THB479), 8.20pm (THB661) and 8.30pm (THB562). Note that the 7pm bus arrives to Nong Khai in the small hours (3.25am) and the two latter both reach the city at 5am. The Sawadee Esan’s 7.45pm bus arrives at the same time – about 5am – and costs THB551.
From Nong Khai bus station you can either walk to your guesthouse or take a tuk-tuk (about THB50).
From Nong Khai to other cities of Isan
Nong Khai has good bus connections with the other towns and cities of Isan. Buses and minibuses head to Loei, Khon Kaen, Nakhon Phatom and Udon Thani. It is also possible to get to Kanchanaburi (Central Thailand) from Nong Khai.
Getting to Laos from Nong Khai
Nong Khai is a gateway to the Lao capital of Vientiane which is located some 20 km from the border on the other side of Mekong.
If you arrive by train, you can catch a shuttle train which goes from Nong Khai train station to Tha Nalaeng train station in Laos. Buy tickets at the railway station on arrival. Note that Tha Nalaeng is literally in the middle of nowhere, and you will have to make your final 20 km to the capital by a tuk-tuk – and tuk-tuk drivers in Tha Nalaeng are very reluctant to negotiate prices! After arriving to Nong Khai train station walk (or take a tuk-tuk) to the bridge instead. Go through border formalities on the Thai side, cross the bridge (there is a shuttle bus going back and forth over the bridge) and check-in at the Lao side. From there take a tuk-tuk to Vientian which are plentiful and offer reasonable prices.
International buses to Vientiane depart from Nong Khai bus terminal every two hours (THB60). The whole trip takes about 1½ hrs due to border formalities both on the Thai and Lao sides. In Laos, buses head to the bus station in the centre of Vientiane, opposite the Morning market. If you are in a hurry (e.g. to submit your documents to the Thai consulate), you may save some time by hiring a tuk-tuk at the Lao border to go directly to the embassy. Depending on your negotiation skills it will cost you from THB100 to THB200 (you can pay in Thai baht).
Note: If you are heading to Vientiane to get your tourist visa to Thailand, note that effective from November, 13, 2015, there are no more double entry tourist visas. In Vientiane, the only option for a foreigner is a single entry tourist visa which costs THB1000. A long waited for 6-month tourist visa costs THB5000 and can be obtained through the Thai consulate or embassy in your home country only.
The First Thai-Lao Friendship bridge
Opened in 1994, a 1170m concrete bridge connects Nong Khai province in Thailand with Vientiane prefecture in Laos. While crossing the bridge, take a notice of traffic driving on the left side of the road as in Thailand. After the traffic lights at the Lao end of the bridge traffic changes the side of the road and drives on the right side.
Nong Khai is a great place for cycling. Traffic is quite limited and the scenery of the countryside near Mekong is beautiful. Many guesthouses rent out or let you use their bicycles for free. You can rent a scooter (THB200-THB250 per day), which will make your life in the city much easier and will be a good companion in your explorations. A tuk-tuk ride around the city costs from THB40 to THB60. There are taxis, too, but you have to negotiate the cost of your trip in advance. If you are planning to go to Sala Kaew Ku, all the eastbound local buses from the bus station pass close to it (THB10).
Where to stay
The majority of budget accommodation is located near the riverfront. You can easily walk to this area from the bus station or use a tuk-tuk (THB50). There are several nice digs around the town, too, but they are generally not so atmospheric as those at the banks of Mekong. The quality of guesthouses and prices are among the best in Isan. The cheapest rooms go at THB300 and offer both air-conditioning and hot water.
Visiting Nong Khai is a meditative experience. Watch the sunset over the Mekong River, sample some local food and admire intricate rural temples on the riverbanks west of the city. Nong Khai is famous for its colourful festivals, so try to adjust your schedule accordingly. There is the unique week-long Anou Savari Festival in March, the Rocket festival in May or June, the Candle festival marking the beginning of the Buddhist Lent (normally in July), and the mysterious Naga Fireballs festival at the end of the Buddhist Lent in October.
Sala Keaw Ku sculptural park occupies the upper lines in every Nong Khai visitor’s program. Built in 1996, it cannot be considered a monument of great historical or architectural value, but weird sculptures featuring Buddhist and Hindu mythical creatures do impress.
Every Saturday the colourful Nong Khai night market fills the Riverside Promenade with local handicrafts, mat mee cotton and delicious food. Do not miss it if you are around during the weekend. During the rest of the week you can find the latest imports from Lao and China in Tha Sadet market, aka Indochina market.
There are nice temples in Nong Khai, some of which show a slight Vietnamese influence. The holiest temple of the region is Wat Pho Chai which holds a gold and bronze Buddha statue, Luang Pho Phra Sai. The statue has a beautiful legend behind it and is considered to be one of the three holy images of Buddha which had belonged to the daughters of the King of Lao until King Rama I sacked Vientiane. The second statue was lost in the waters of Mekong during transportation to Thailand and the third one is kept in Bangkok.
Bangkok to Nong Khai @ train, bus, flight Jul 2, 2017
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From Hua Lamphong to Nong Khai by train
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From Morchit to Nong Khai by bus
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From Don Mueang Airport to Nong Khai by flight
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From Suvarnabhumi Airport to Nong Khai by flight
Passenger reviews out of total 7,700 passengers traveled with us on this route
At 12Go our operators offer three types of service:
Cheap, Fast, Good - but you can usually pick only two of them!
Cheap & Fast won’t be Good. (e.g. buses from/to Khao San Road, local buses or 3rd class trains)
Cheap & Good won’t be Fast. (e.g. VIP trains in Thailand)
Fast & Good won’t be Cheap. (e.g. private limousine services, or VIP24 buses vs Express buses)
Make your choice! Please remember that though we are closely monitoring services, we are still an agency marketplace - meaning we focus on ticketing service and route availability / coverage rather than on factual seat recline angle you got today ^_^
Very clean and efficient train. Very helpful staff, ticket pick up opposite station excellent. Only downside was that the train was too light, making it difficult to sleep
Very comfortable - seating and temperature. Only complaint was the "food" provided. Serving Oreo like cookies with milk at the start of an overnight ride is a joke: maybe a healthier snack option so my teeth don't rot away.
2nd class and upper bed is the best one if want to have some rest. Bed is not that comfortable byt bedsheet is warm
Very good trip on train no25, the booking was exceptionally easy with a pick up of the ticket by my Thai driver who commented that the company was most efficient and helpful..highly recommended. Jack, New Zealand.
Really easy to book online before our arrival, great communication and clear instructions for getting our train. I would highly recommend 12go Asia for any travel assistance in Bangkok :))
We have a delay of almost 4hs. Anyway, the condition facilities of the train are great
Trian staffs are very friendly and train opertion system is very nice. Especially, restaurant is clean and foods are deligious. Sleeping beds are clean and confortable. Nice ^^
The bus was nearly 2 hours late to arrive at the bus station and also I was informed that it wasn't going to be a VIP but an express bus (I did receive a refund for this) The actual bus was comfortable, the chairs fully reclined and had a massage mode which was nice. Snack, water and blanket also provided. Was going to give 2* due to the bus being so late and the down grade etc but throughout the staff members were really helpful and spoke good English in getting to me to my destination.
Clean, new and modern trains..touchscreen doors and all that. Looks nice. The seats and mattresses are hard, and with bright white light constantly on during the night, sleep was not good. The old trains were a lot more comfortable, and I slept better on the old trains, even though they were noisier. Still... beats the bus.
Perfect bus and driver. Only inconveniënt thing is the airco. It was sooo cold in the bus that i couldnt sleep
Sleeping was difficult due to constant light on the train. But generally an easy journey with efficient staff.
My.bed is 12 no. 38 its very shaky because im in the last row overall good
Our trip was very pleasant. Great AC. Car clear and confortable
Great service from 12go Asia. Found office without any problems. 1st class sleeper compartment great. Little sink. Beds made up about 9 pm. Quite comfortable but didn't sleep particularly well because of stopping and starting. Would do again.
The best bus I've taken! Very comfotabke seats. Wifi was fast! Loved it.
We enjoy a lot.
Everything from start to finish was very easy for travellers. The train bed was clean, the journey was fine (bumpy), guard woke passengers up at their stations. Overall very efficient.
nice, smooth and professional
I love these new trains, super clean and comfortable.
Buying tickets thru 12go.asia completely hassle free. Pleasant overnight train ride but the bunks are pretty hard.
Ok, decent trip, probably add the possibility to stop at the friendship bridge since we drove passed it.
Excellent service from 12goAsia!
Clean and cosy ride! Dont mind riding it for an even longer distance.
Train was brand new and comfortable. Picking up the tickets was a breeze
Bus left with 1h delay but very confortable. Had a small meal distributed on the bus and a bottle of water. Arrived a bit earlier than expected. All good.
Very comfortable, no music
Everthing Well organized and exceeded our expectations. Clean compartiment (VIP). Clean toilet. Possibility to shower as Well !
The train was immaculately clean and very comfortable. The train staff were friendly and helpful. We have travelled this route every year for the last 13 years and this year was absolutely the best!!!
Pretty gud mang get that visa run boi
Great service from 12go.asia. The train was modern and clean, but I couldn't sleep well, because the lights were on the whole night in a sleeping car.
Train was two hours late but other wise comfortable ,modern, clean and effective.
Very clean and comfortable. Highly recommend!
The service is really fast. Highly recommend!
Nice clean train and not very crowded. Only problem was that the lights stay on all night - would be nice if they were dimmed but remember to pack and eye mask!
Execellent. Clean, comfy. Trains are new and bathrooms clean. You get two bottles of water included. We had a private room in 1st class with a bunk. You can hear the noise from the neighbors and the morning cleaning crew is a bit noisy but outside of that it's quiet. Each bed has its own TV and outlet and the wifi was very reliable. The blankets they provide are a little thin so I wore my sweater through the night. We arrived about 30 min behind schedule at Nong Khai but that was due to single tracking in spots, I think. Overall a great experience. Highly recommend. And 12Go was excellent all around.
Since you can not pre buy a train ticket directly with the government railway agency, this is an excellent and secure way to purchase a ticket in advance and be guaranteed your seat. Yes the commission rate is high in my estimation. We purchased 2 tickets @ 498 baht each, and paid 500 baht in commissions!! But in the end it is still good value for the guarantee of getting your preferred booking. The following comment does not reflect on the service provided by 12go.asia. We travelled during the day so we could view the scenery along the way, but the filthy windows made it difficult to see very much. And yes the air conditioning makes for a chilly journey!
Very fast booking process, got 2 Lower as requested. But could not sleep at all train very cold, light is open, will be good if can trun is down little. I understand this is real world))
Everything went very well, with 123Go operating very efficiently and providing excellent service.
Fantastic new carriages, that are very comfortable, clean, and thoughtful.
fast and easy service!
It was great! Food and water provided and the seats were very comfortable -- reclined almost flat. A bit chilly but they provide a blanket and be sure to wear a sweater! All in all a great trip. Arrived early too.
Train was great as usual pick up at office went smoothly
12go.asia very efficient service at the office for ticket pick up. Would definitely use again.
First I want to thank 12GoAsia, they were very efficient. Thank you. About the Thai Railways then it was horrible. The train was delayed almost 4hours. We were waiting in the train station in Bangkok, the train was delayed, and delayed, it was announced on one track, then another and finally disappeared from the screens. I asked the persons in charge, they had no answer, did not know where the train was. And finally a train arrived, very late but we could take it. About the trip itself, it was excellent, train (once it arrived and we were on) was clean, good service on board. Air-con was very high (so very cold) but we could manage to shut it down ! In the morning it was possible to take coffee at the restaurant-bar car. Good, and waiter was pleasant and smiling. So good service on board but national thai railways not good to manage when there is a problem....
Worked as expected. Office is close to train station and they had my ticket.
Left a bit late and stopped a lotação of times on the side of the road but managed to arrive earlier than scheduled. Free water and mal included but the insiste of the bus was old ans smelly. Lower deck had real low roof
123Go was convenient and very nice service. The price actually wasnt over too much! The train was also amazing with clean toilet and great service!
Fantastic service all the way through. Considering they only charge a mere 200 baht or so for their service- it's truly incredible. Remember, what you pay for the ticket price itself- goes to the railways. The only thing these guys make for enabling you to place the order online- is a mere 200 baht. Considering the convenience they provide as a result- I wish I could give them more than five stars. Ticket pick up is easy (building is easy to find, their small office is on the main floor- you can find it by looking for their logo). Trains (if you know which train to book: some are newer trains, some older- get details on which train is best to book from "man in seat61" (google his site- its the most detailed rail travel site on the web). If you book the newer trains, they are even better/cleaner than many trains in Europe (seriously- we travel by train all over Europe). We tried both first and second class sleepers- and even the second class is VERY clean, modern, and up to European standards (again, as long as you book one of the NEW trains- the older ones- very different story). People complain about the cold on the train- but- looking at the temp. inside the train on the screen- (23...24 C... all night long) it was very comfortable. I suppose if you consider +23/24 C freezing, you've been an expat in south-east Asia for too long. ;) Anyway, from one discerning traveller to another- these guys are great, the train service far exceeded our expectations... don't hesitate to book with them. Really, very solid service. Just remember: book one of the NEW trains if possible. And if you do book the new trains- then even second class will be superior to trains we've taken in Italy, Austria, UK, etc.
Good trip. Clean and new waggons. Plenty space. Audio and video Advertisement for Thailand until 9pm.
Very good. Need to make it more clear that ticket collection is in the downstairs shop (avoid waiting in the wrong queue). Train journey was also very good (could do without the constant Thai commentary on the intercom up until 10:00 pm).
12Go were efficient honest and trustworthy. Will definitely use them again!!
Good Price and good Service. All worked very well. Train is very bright all Night Long, difficult to sleep.
Train is too bright to sleep in comfort especially at upper beth. Other than that, all are good.
Service works just as advertised. Happy to book with 12goasia again.
Worked as promised.....
Everything right unless misunderstanding
Great organisation by 123go, thank you ! The train was great too, comfortable, perfect service, dining wagon, but freezing... and a little bit too much light.
Worked without problems. Fee 2000 Baht for eight tickets costing 4000 Baht was far too much in our opinion.
Легко забрали билеты за 2 часа до отправления поезда. Новый слиппер 2го класса хороший, удобный. Широкие полки. 3 туалета и умывальник. Кондёр только морозит.
Great experience n facilities n service onboard the train. Only gripe is the train A/C is very cold n uncontrollable. Wear a lot on the train to feel warm n sleep well.
Brilliant customer service by 12goasia. Trip itself very good, clean, comfy, on time, blankets etc but i wish the lights could have gone out for a few hours being that it was overnight.
1st class sleeper was great, very clean and comfortable. Only criticism was that the air conditioning was very cold so ask for extra blanklets if you can as we couldn't do much to turn it down. Would highly recommend otherwise.
Honestly the train journey I've been on. New, smooth train with comfortable bedding and friendly service.
We got a new train (with red-coloured seats). Very nice and comfortable!
New sleeper cars and great service. However one of the AC Compressors under the coach kept coming on and off during the night - making it less than perfect. 12goasia service was great!
Great first class sleeper on brand new train, but no cargo wagon on express train for bikes, so had to leave it to go on a later Rapid train, and wait for it to arrive at Nong Khai.
News @ Nong Khai
The tourism-minister of Thailand says tourism industry representatives in Laos have asked for longer operating hours at border posts between the two nations. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said the request was made at a recent meeting with industry representatives in Laos.
Contractors in northern Laos say work on boring tunnels for a new railway line from China is progressing in leaps and bounds. In Luang Namtha Province, spokesperson Chanthachone Keolakhone says three tunnels on the route are up to 50 metres through mountains.
Authorities in the Thai city of Khon Kaen have announced they will build a museum to house collections of religious artefacts unearthed recently. Local residents dug up the pieces at Chom Sri Temple.