Take a trip to Vientiane @ The Transport Company

There are a number of reasons why those visiting Korat would enjoy visiting the Laos capital Vientiane. Visiting tourists are generally interested in the culture and history of Thailand and want to experience it to the full. A lot of them are also on their way north to see more of the country, so crossing into Laos is a natural progression to experience a different country's history and culture.

Laos and especially Vientiane is also used by a number of longer term tourists who have decided to stay in the Kingdom a little longer then originally planned to get 60 day tourist visas from the Royal Thai Embassy in the city. These can then be extended by visiting any immigration office within Thailand 60 days later to get an additional 30 days allowing a 90 day stay in Thailand.

I have found that the easiest way to get to Vientiane is by using one of the over-night bus services. My personal favourite being the Transport Company who run a VIP bus service which leaves Korat's main bus station daily at midnight.

The service is actually part of their Bangkok to Vientiane route so it is normally somewhere between quite and very full even when it arrives in Korat, so if your keen to go on a particular day then it's best to book ahead. It isn't cheap with a book in advance price of 900 Baht per person, which is the same price as if you'd booked the whole route from Bangkok to Vientiane. If you wait for the bus to arrive before getting a ticket a discount is given but if all the seats are taken, either with passengers from Bangkok or with people who have reserved a seat you'll be waiting another 24 hours for the next day's bus.

The tickets are available from the Transport Company's office which is located all by itself at the very end of the bus ranks on the right hand side of the main part of the station (every other office is either inside the main building or on the left hand side). The bus arrives from Bangkok at around 11:30pm to let the passengers already on-board stretch their legs, eat some food and have a toilet break. Therefore, if your early and have a ticket you can wait in the air conditioned bus as opposed to waiting outside in the hot nighttime air.

The bus is a proper VIP bus, unlike some of the regular buses which have VIP stickers plastered all over them but offer no additional luxuries. There are three very generous seats per row as opposed to the normal four, with plenty of leg-room, they are comfortable, reclinable to a near horizontal position, clean and in average condition. There is a very large plasma screen at the front of the bus, and a good toilet. The air-con works well and clean, quality blankets are provided if it gets too cold or you just want to be as snug as a bug in a rug.

The bus arrives at the Thai-Laos border at around 5:45am. Then everyone has to leave the bus and go through Thai Border Control (opens at 6:00am) and get their passports stamped on foot. When this has been done it's time to return to the bus to cross the bridge into Laos. At the Laos side of the border everyone again exits the bus to get a Laos Visa on entry (currently 1500-1800 Baht depending on your home country) and a Laos entry stamp and then it's back to the bus and off to the end of the journey in Vientiane Bus Station at between 7:30am and 8:30am depending on the amount of delays at the border.

Price: 900 Baht in advance, discount available if you wait for the bus to arrive before buying your ticket.

FF


Best Bites

Samosas @ The Indian Shack
Chicken Nuggets @ Yen Hay
Khao Mok Gai @ Bibi
Mushroom Schnitzel @ O & D Pub
Peking Duck @ Tapestry, Kantary Hotel

Thing's to do...

Buy some Large Clothes @ Jam Nai Seua Pa
Make a flower arrangement @ your house
Learn more about Korat City Gate
Visit a temple @ Wat Sala Loi
Watch Sun Bears in the wild @ Khao Yai

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