Sleeper Train BKK to Laos
Sleeper Train BKK to Laos Bangkok Reviews
Very cheap and clean! Nov 08, 2012
If you are thinking of traveling from Bangkok (Hua Lumpong) to Vientiane (Laos), then you should probably consider taking the over night train.
The train does not take you right into Laos, it stops just prior to the border at Nong Khai (when booking a ticket this will be your destination). The train is express, leaving at 8pm each night, and scheduled to arrive at 8.30am the next morning. I have NEVER arrived at Nong Khai at 8.30am - it has always been later. Twice it was 5 hours late. This is important to know, especially if you are taking the train for a visa run, and need to make it to the Thai Embassy in Laos before 12pm.
I do suggest you book a couple of days in advance, and be sure to check whether you are traveling during Thai holidays (it fills up pretty quickly). You can book up to an hour before the train is scheduled to depart, but you might not get what you want. You can also change your ticket dates for a small fee of 50baht, and can refund the entire ticket up to an hr before departure.
The train has several options - 1st class sleeper: a private room with a lockable door will cost upwards of 1000baht one way - 2nd class sleeper (air con or fan): seats will be changed into beds around 10pm and then back into seats around 7am, will cost between 600-750baht one way - the price depends on which bed you choose - lower is better - more room, window and when you shut the curtains its dark - upper has smaller space, no window, and even when curtains close you still have a lot of light. There is also a 3rd class option - wooden seats and not preferable if you want to sleep, but I have heard that the prices for this area are below 200baht - so maybe a good option if you're on major budget.
There is also a dining cart on the train. You can order a selection of Thai meals for dinner and breakfast for approx 200baht - they also serve beer, soft drinks and water. You do not need to walk down the train to find the dining area, simply ask one of the train staff who constantly walk up and down, and they will bring your meal and drinks to you.
Most people I have spoken to about the train tend to be concerned most about the cleanliness of the linen being used. I can assure you, in my 6 return trips to Nong Khai, I have never once been disappointed with the cleanliness of the sheets! They have also recently installed small garbage bins, which is helping to keep the place cleaner.
Bathrooms are small, and can get a little dirty - I usually tend to hold it. There are also sinks so you can brush your teeth in the morning.
I suggest getting to the train station at Hua Lumpong about an hour before it is due to depart. You can get the MRT to Hua Lumpong station, and only takes approx 1/2 hr from Sukhumvit. Once you get to Nong Khai, its only 30 baht in a tuktuk to the Thai/Laos border.
I would definitely recommend the train from Bangkok to Laos to anyone wanting to travel on a budget, and in comfort.
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