Getting there & away
For most destinations, including Bangkok’s Northern bus terminal (air-con 443B, eight hours, every 15 minutes), buses use Udon’s old bus terminal (0 4222 1489; Th Sai Uthit) or the street in front of it. Other air-con buses include those to Khorat (193B, 4½ hours, every 20 minutes), Sakon Nakhon (109B, 3½ hours, every 15 minutes), Khon Kaen (104B, 2½ hours, every 20 minutes), Pattaya (504B, 10 hours, 10 daily) and Vientiane (80B, two hours, six daily; you must already have a Lao visa). Many companies, including 999 VIP (0 4222 1489) and Roongprasert Tour (0 4234 3616), operate 24-seat VIP buses (640B) to Bangkok in the evening.
The new bus terminal (0 4224 7788) is on the Ring Rd on the western outskirts of the city (take the Yellow Bus or sǎwngthǎew 6) and has buses to western destinations, including Loei (ordinary/air-con 60/110B, three hours, every 30 minutes) and Chiang Mai (air-con/32-seat VIP 563/657B, 12 hours, eight daily).
For Nong Khai (ordinary 40B, one hour) you can use either terminal, but the most frequent departures are from Rungsina Market.
Udon Thani is on the Bangkok–Nong Khai line. Express trains leave Hualamphong station in Bangkok at 8.20am, 6.30pm and 8.45pm arriving at Udon’s train station (0 4222 2061) about 10 hours later. Express departures in the reverse direction leave at 6.47am, 6.40pm and 7.20pm. The fares to Bangkok are 245/369/1177B for a 3rd-class seat/2nd-class seat/1st-class sleeper.
THAI (www.thaiairways.com), Nok Air (www.nokair.com) and Air Asia (www.airasia.com) together make 10 daily flights to Bangkok (one hour). One-way fares average 2200B. Nok Air also flies three times a week to Chiang Mai (1½ hours) for the same price as to Bangkok.