From Bangkok you can travel by train to within 22 km of Vientiane, the capital city of Laos. Its a good journey to do by train as there is some very good scenery on the way. To explain how to do the journey we need to break it down into three stages:
To explain how to do the journey we need to break it down into three stages.
- Stage 1 is the train journey from Bangkok to Nong Khai.
- Stage 2 is short train journey from Nong Khai over the border to Thanaleng railway station in Laos.
- Stage 3 involves taking a taxi or minivan from Thanaleng railway station to Vientiane.
Stage 1: Train from Bangkok to Nongkhai
Nongkhai railway station is at the top end of the North Eastern Railway Line in Thailand, 623 km from Bangkok and about 2 km from the Thai Lao friendship bridge which is the location of the border with Laos. The journey by train from Bangkok to Laos starts at Hualamphong railway station in Bangkok.
Trains from Bangkok to Nong Khai
There are four direct services per day from Bangkok to Nong Khai railway station.
|Train No.||Depart||Arr||No. of Stops|
Location of Bangkok Hualamphong Railway Station
Staying at hotel near Nong Khai railway station
Nong Khai railway station is about 1.5 km from the centre of Nong Khai. If you take Train #75 you will need to spend one night in Nong Khai before continuing onward by train to Laos as you arrive after the connecting trains to Laos finish running and we do not advise people to try to travel onwards to Vientiane after sunset. Either take a tuk-tuk from outside the railway station into the centre of Nong Khai, or check in for a stay at one of our recommended hotels near Nong Khai railway station which are within walking distance of the station.
Location of Nong Khai Railway Station
Stage 2: Train from Nongkhai (Thailand) to Thanaleng Railway Station (Laos)
There is a train service twice a day which takes you from Nong Khai railway station to Thanaleng railway station in Laos. The journey across the bridge and onwards into Laos takes only 15 minutes and costs 20 THB for 3rd class or 30 THB for 2nd class (2016 prices).
- Buying a Train Ticket: The ticket from Nong Khai train station to Thanaleng train station can only be purchased at Nong Khai train station.
- Thailand Train Tip: The train shuttle service is slightly less convenient that simply getting a bus from the Laos side of Thai Lao Friendship bridge. However, if like us you are train enthusiasts then the small inconvenience is worth it. We say support the fledging Laos railway network by using the shuttle train service!
Departure times from Nong Khai to Thanaleng Station in Laos:
- Departure from Thailand: Remember to go to the Immigration desk at Nong Khai railway station to be stamped out of Thailand before you board the shuttle train to Laos. If you forget Laos immigration will send you back to Thailand.
- Visa on Arrival In Laos: When you arrive at Thanaleng Station you can apply for visa on arrival. In 2016 the visa on arrival cost $35 which you must pay either in US Dollars or Thai Baht. Bring passport photos and a copy of the picture page of your passport.
Stage 3: Thanaleng Railway Station to Vientiane
Thanaleng railway station is in the small village of Dongphosy.
- Dongphosy: Dongphosy is a only 22.2 km by road from Vientiane and there are plans to extend the railway line as part of the Pan-Asia Railway Network to Vientiane and beyond. However, for now the remainder of the journey needs to be done by road.
- Taxi or Bus: A number of different types of taxi and bus are waiting at Thanaleng railway station for the onward journey to Vientiane. Expect to pay the equivalent of around $14 (500 THB) for a private taxi or minibus and less for a journey in a shared taxi or minibus. The drive from Thanaleng Railway Station to Vientiane normally takes 30 minutes.