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Air

The nearest airport is 55km south in Udon Thani. Udon Kaew Tour travel agency runs minivans (200B per person) to/from the airport. Coming into town it'll drop you at your hotel or the bridge; going back you need to get yourself to its office. It's best to buy tickets in advance.

Getting to Laos: Nong Khai to Vientiane

Getting to the border If you already have your Lao visa, the easiest way to Vientiane is the direct bus from Nong Khai's bus terminal (55B, 1½ hours, six daily from 7.30am to 6pm). There's also a bus to Vang Vieng (270B, six hours, 9.40am). There's a 5B surcharge for tickets to Laos on weekends, holidays and the 7.30am and 6pm weekday services.

If you plan to get your visa at the border (6am to 10pm), take a túk-túk there – expect to pay 100B from the bus station or 60B from the town centre. Unless you're travelling in a large group, there's no good reason to use a visa service agency, so don't let a driver take you to one.

You can also go to Laos by train (there are immigration booths at both stations), though it doesn't go through to Vientiane, so this is not recommended. The 15-minute ride (20B to 30B, departs 7.30am and 2.45pm) drops you in Thanaleng (aka Dongphasay) station just over the bridge, leaving you at the mercy of túk-túk drivers who charge extortionate prices.

At the border After getting stamped out of Thailand, you can take the buses (15B to 20B) that carry passengers across the bridge to the hassle-free, but sometimes busy, Lao immigration checkpoint, where 30-day visas are available.

Moving on It's about 20km to Vientiane. Plenty of buses, túk-túk and taxis will be waiting for you, and it's easy to find fellow travellers to share the costs.

Bus

Nong Khai bus terminal is located just off Th Prajak, about 1.5km from the main pack of riverside guesthouses. Although there's only one direct bus to Nakhon Phanom, you can also get there in stages via Bueng Kan or Udon Thani.

There are also vans departing from the border/bridge (they park next to the 7-Eleven) to Udon Thani (50B, hourly, 7am to 7pm): some go to the old bus station and some go to Central Shopping Mall.

Nakhonchai Air has the best bus service between Nong Khai and Bangkok.

Bangkok

Fare (B)

329-658

Duration (hr)

10-11

Frequency

frequent in late afternoon & early evening, hourly during the day

Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi International Airport)

Fare (B)

428

Duration (hr)

9-10

Frequency

8pm

Bueng Kan (van)

Fare (B)

140

Duration (hr)

Frequency

every 45min 6am-5.50pm

Chiang Mai

Fare (B)

750-820

Duration (hr)

12

Frequency

7pm

Kanchanaburi

Fare (B)

495

Duration (hr)

12

Frequency

7pm

Khon Kaen

Fare (B)

120-155

Duration (hr)

3½-4

Frequency

hourly 7am-6pm

Loei

Fare (B)

140

Duration (hr)

7-8

Frequency

7.30am

Nakhon Phanom

Fare (B)

200

Duration (hr)

7-8

Frequency

11am

Nakhon Ratchasima

Fare (B)

257-409

Duration (hr)

6

Frequency

hourly 6am-8.45pm

Sangkhom

Fare (B)

60

Duration (hr)

3

Frequency

7.30am, 11am, 3pm

Udon Thani (van)

Fare (B)

50

Duration (hr)

1

Frequency

frequent 5.30am-7pm

Train

One daytime and three evening express trains connect Bangkok (3rd/1st-class seats from 223/607B, 1st-class sleeper upper/lower 1157/1357B, 11½ hours) and Nong Khai train station, which is 2km west of the city centre.