How about your trip and world exploration after COVID?
Hope everything is back on track and it is the time to revenge your wasted 2 years now. 🙂
This trip, after the COVID policy between Thailand and Laos is relaxed and all border crossing are openned, we did not hesitate to re-activate our planned trip since 2019, LUANG PRABANG – THE WORLD HERITAGE CITY.
Indeed, it has direct flight from Bangkok to Luang Prabang (LPQ).
But Laos has just launched the new hi-speed train called Laos-China Railways. This is the brand new product and attract many Thai people to try this innovative riding (we are the one of those 😛 ).
So, we have planned to arrive Vientiane (capital of Laos) and get the train to Luang Prabang. But the flight from Bangkok to Vientiane (VTE) is quite expensive (for 1 hour flight) and schedule is not friendly.
The best option is fly domestic flight from Bangkok to Udon Thani (UTH) in the morning and then take the public van to the border between Thailand and Laos (Vientiane).
Note : Even Vientiane is the capital city, but it is located near to the Thailand border.
For this review, we will show you how to get the flight from Bangkok until we get bus station of Vientiane (at Morning market).
Are you ready? If yes, let fly together !
It has many carriers offer the service between Bangkok and Udon Thani. The trick is to choose the flight in the morning, departure from Bangkok before 10am would be great. It has 2 airports in Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi (BKK) and Don Maung (DMK). You can select as per your convenient location.
We selected Thai Smile as the price was attractive and we trusted in their service.
The flight details for our trip are follows:
Route : Bangkok – Suvarnabhumi (BKK) – Udon Thani (UTH)
Flight No. : WE 002 (Thai Smile)
Aircraft : Airbus A320 – 200
ETD : 07.00am (GMT+7)
ETA : 08.05am (GMT+7)
Flight duration : 1 Hour and 5 minutes
We arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport at 06.00am, one hour before departure time.
For domestic flight with Thai Smile, it has check-in kiosk and self luggage drop which is located in Row B/C/D. This is very convenient and shorten the queue at check-in counter. We have proceeded to this way.
After getting boarding pass and finishing luggage drop, we proceeded thru the ticket check for domestic passenger and headed to the gate. Today, we will board the plane at gate A-7. It has security check before arrive the gate.
We arrived the gate and waited only 5 minutes, the staff did annoucement for boarding. We boarded by bus today.
The seats are arranged as 3-3 like general single aisle aircraft. The seat width is comfortable (my height is 183 cm). But it had no any in-flight entertainment like PTV or magazine.
The flight was pushed-back and taken-off on-time. Due to the COVID policy of Thailand, eating and drinking as well as in-flight meal service were prohibited (but we could grab the food & drink from the cabin crew at disembarking). But we were still able to us lavatory 🙂
Just 50 minutes, the flight was decended and landed at Udon Thani Airport on-time. It was nice weather !
We could claim the luggage at the belt number – 1.
Once we got the luggage and exit the arrival hall, we proceeded to continue our trip by seeking for the direct van service counter to take us to the Border which is about 75 km away. It has one company, Udon Kaew Tour (Thai : อุดรแก้วทัวร์). It is very easy to find their ticket counter, just opposite to the exit door. The ticket price is 200 THB (About 6 USD) per person. It take about 1.50 hours (90 minutes) from Udon Thani Airport to The border. This company used 11 seats van or 7 seats car for serving us.
The van departed from The airport around 09.00am and dropped us at the immigration checkpoint (Thailand-Laos Freindship Bridge No.1 – Nong Khai) around 10.30am. It had convenient stores, money exchange shop and toilet here. For the money, Thai Baht is widely accepted in Laos. But the rate is not good. We recommend you to carry Thai Baht (or USD, EUR, CNY,…) to exchange to be Laos Kip (LAK) when you arrive Laos and use LAK at Laos which would be very worth than another currency.
We could cross the border by just check the passport and VISA (if needed) at the departure terminal of Thailand. Then, we will have to take the bus to cross the Mekong River to Laos. The bus ticket cost is 30 THB (1 USD). The bus ticket counter is located after we passed passport checkpoint.
The bus took only 5 minutes to cross the river and brought us to the arrival hall of Laos immigration.
At here, we have to prepare 4 things to pass the immigration.
- The passport and LAOS VISA (If needed)
- International COVID vaccine certificate. Minimum 2 doses according to approval of World Health Organization (WHO) and have to get injection at least 14 days prior arrival. Note : Updated on 6th July 2022. The information can be changed anytime. Please check official information again when you are travelling.
- Filled immigration form – you can get it from immigration counter
- Service fee 20 THB – pay by cash in Thai Baht.
After we passed Laos immigration, it had money exchange counters and sim-card/mobile phone shops. You can stop by if you wish 🙂
But we are not in Vientiane. It is 20 km from here. We will catch the Bus No.14 to the main bus station at Morning Market. The bus stand is just next to arrival hall. The bus ticket is 12,000 LAK (about 2 USD) However, as the country is just open after COVID, the bus frequency is only once an hour (it was 2-3 buses per hour before COVID). It had other option like taxi or tuk-tuk service from here to city which is cost about 180,000 LAK (13 USD) per trip depended on negotiation. But if we can join trip with the other (about 6-7 person), the cost would be only 20,000 LAK/person (1.50 USD).
The bus took about 30 minutes to bring us the city center (Morning market bus terminal).
Now, we are perfectly arrived Vientiane as we wish. For our trip, we departed Bangkok by flight on 6am and arrived Vientiane city center about 11.30am. The total cost from Bangkok until here was as low as 1,700 THB (50-55 USD). It was very cheap when compare to direct flight from Bangkok to Vientiane (approx. 150 USD/trip).
Next, it is depended on your trip. Spend one day trip in Vientiane before move to Vang Vieng or Luang Prabang or take the train to other city. It is as you wish.
But, for us, we will continue our trip by catching the train to Luang Prabang on 15.05pm. We will review our train journey in next chapter. Please follow our next episode and we wish you have a greatful trip. Enjoy ! 😛
Written By : Shipy Siwarit Tiasuwattiseth