Solo Overland Backpacking Trip to Thailand & Laos – Part 11: Crossing to Laos

Solo Overland Backpacking Trip to Thailand & Laos – Part 11: Crossing to Laos

Previously: Part 10 – Nong Khai Arrival


Still Day 5: Friday, 30 August 2013

Finally, after thoughtful consideration, we decided to take the tuk-tuk to the border gate. After all, to wait for another 2 hours at a quiet place like this would be so boring and torturing. At least, if we get to Laos early, there will be a lot of things that we could do instead of wasting for 2 hours for the train to come, if it even come on time.

Lepas dah fikir masak-masak, kami pun ambil keputusan untuk guna tuk-tuk pergi sempadan. Tak guna jugak kan kalau aku tunggu 2 jam, sekali keretapi tak sampai-sampai jugak. Sekurang-kurangnya, kalau sampai Laos awal, banyak benda boleh dibuat dan dilawat.

Finally, we chose the tuk-tuk over waiting.

I was not sure how much the tuk-tuk ride will cost and how long the tuk-tuk ride will be. We went out of the station, where some of the tuk-tuk drivers have been sitting since we arrived and asked for one to go to the border. We haggled until the tuk-tuk driver agreed to charge us THB 20 each for the ride. Soon, we left the station. The tuk-tuk driver drove (or rather rode) the tuk-tuk in an extra-ordinary manner. By extra-ordinary, I mean dangerous.

Aku tak pasti berapa harga tuk-tuk ke sempadan dan berapa jauh. Keluar-keluar je dari stesen Nong Khai, nampak pakcik-makcik driver tuk-tuk bersidai. Dia bukak je harga lepas kami tanya, terus kami tawar menawar sampai dapat harga seorang THB 20. Dah okay, setuju semua, kami naik tuk-tuk pakcik tu. Bapak bahaya dia bawak tuk-tuk dia. Lintas jalan main redah je!

Uncle, drive (ride?) safer, please!

Less than 10 minutes away from the train station, finally we arrived at the border. It was possible to walk but with my 2 backpacks, I would rather pay the tuk-tuk instead of walking. Sometimes, my shoulders need some rest too.

Dekat je sebenarnya dari stesen keretapi ke sempadan. Tapi, nak menapak tu, boleh terbakar jugaklah lemak-lemak dan tayar spare di badan. Hehe.

This is Hibiki and Yuya. Guess who is which?

At the border, I stamped my passport and walked to the other side. It was a smooth process. There were a lot of people, some of them without any bags, lining up to get their passport stamped. I suspect they are locals or maybe Laotian who work on the other side of the border, thus explaining the lack of bags.

Sampai sempadan, aku cop passport dan jalan ke depan. Setakat ni, perjalanan keluar masuk aku tak ada masalah. Ramai orang beratur nak ke Laos. Ramai jugak yang tak bawak bag walau satu. Mungkin sebab diorang kerja kat sempadan, jadi hari-hari ulang-alik kot.

The bus carrying people to cross the Friendship Bridge.

After walking, the three of us saw several buses waiting. We saw a handwritten signboard saying “Bus to border: THB 25”. We paid the fees and board the bus.

Lepas Hibiki dan Yuya pun dah cop passport, kami bertiga berjalan pergi ke depan dan nampak banyak bas parkir tepi jalan. Ada satu notis tulis “Bus to border: THB 25”. Kami bayar dan naik bas tu.

A very classic bus. We were the only foreigners, I guess…

The bus was without air-conditioning. It was a sort of classic bus with big windows and wide body. When we entered the bus, everyone were looking at us like we were some kind of aliens from different planets. I looked around and no wonder they looked at us, even me who looks like a local, differently. Whilst other people brought boxes of flour, live chicken and other poultry inside the bus, we were bringing large backpacks inside the bus.

Bas tu tak ada air-cond. Memang klasik. Tingkap besar dan dalam dia lebar. Kami masuk je bas, semua pandang kami pelik. Mungkin sebab backpack besar kami. Tapi, diorang pun pelik jugak. Bawak ayam bagai naik bas lintas sempadan. Lol.

Waiting to depart for Laos. Gloomy day ahead.
A classic feeling when the bus crossed the Friendship Bridge. If taking the train, the train will also cross this bridge. Notice the train track.
The mighty Mekong river. Crosses several countries, the stream will bring you to Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand, among others. Amazing!

The driver waited for the bus to be filled in and soon, we began our journey crossing the Mekong river via the Friendship Bridge to Laos.

Pemandu bas tunggu sampai bas penuh dan lepas tu mula bergerak. Kami lintas Sungai Mekong guna Friendship Bridge dan terus menuju ke Laos.


Sabaidee, Laos!


To be continued – Part 12


Another alternative to go to the border of Laos is by road transport. A tuk-tuk ride from Nong Khai train station to Thai border costs around THB 20 and above. A bus ride from Thai border to Laos border crossing the Friendship Bridge costs around THB 25 [as of August 2013].

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