Finally back to Laos ..

In Nong Khai tonight hoping to cross Friendship Bridge 1 tomorrow. Going through a Tour Agency to grease the wheels but the crossing was supposed to be today and then when we showed up he said no, not today. Coordinated ahead but did not work. No problem, we lived in Nong Khai for about a year and a half back in 2014-15 so we visited some old haunts. Staying in the KhiangKong Hotel right off Walking Street, basic accomodations for 500 baht. Tonight across the street to the Irish Bar for a few. Hopefully tomorrow check in from Vientiane!
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Made it across FS Bridge 1 today. Used this agency. He got it done, 2500 baht with 1 month Laos insurance for the bike included. Took about 3 hours from when he had us show up until we were done on the Laos side. I guess you have to use a tour Agency now to get a bike in, hopefully if someone else makes it without one they will let everyone know.
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Michael R

Member
Aug 3, 2022
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Thank you for that update. I am also going to cross the border in Nong Khai, Monday 12-Dec for me, also using Deaw, also coordinating ahread. I wanted to cross at 8 AM but he said "not possible at the Laos side", must be 10 AM. Maybe is is right.

I suppose Deaw knows what he is doing for Thai's, many Thai's are using him but I have mixed feelings. I had nicely prepared all documents (and some unnecessary ones) but he asked me to resend only "in his mind the necessary ones" which I did. I told him that I am a permanent resident so you must get my blue book stamped too and he answered - No, no (@*(*^%@)!%@^)!@%&^. My permanent residency will be cancelled if I leave Thailand without that book being stamped both on the Thai and Laos side. I'm OK if he doesn't know the procedure for permanent residents, I do so I can tell him, but he must listen to those who do. I'll bring 3 copies of everything myself. Also disliked that he insisted on speaking his broken English when my Thai obviously is much better than his English (been in Thailand for 31 years, been Thai - English interpretor in court in Thailand). A bit over confident perhaps

Will I be able to go? This will be interesting :)

Added later. Actually, I have a feeling that it could be better to not use any agent sometimes. Getting past the Thai side is easy. Driving over to the Laos side, sure, they can say - Come back tomorrow. So what? Drive back and stamp into Thailand again? Easy. I can drive back and stamp in again or get a no at Deuw's shop, all the same for me. Only documents I haven't prepared are TM2, TM3 and the passenger list, they're easy to fill in.
 
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Thais do not get their blue book stamped when they cross so why would you have to? Check with immigration again to be sure. Daew coordinates with a travel agent on the Laos side and they did all the work on that side other than when you actually have to go to the window for the Laos visa. We had to wait for the Laos side to be ready before you could go to the bridge. Patients is required!
 

Michael R

Member
Aug 3, 2022
5
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Thais do not get their blue book stamped when they cross so why would you have to? Check with immigration again to be sure. Daew coordinates with a travel agent on the Laos side and they did all the work on that side other than when you actually have to go to the window for the Laos visa. We had to wait for the Laos side to be ready before you could go to the bridge. Patients is required!
I don't mean the blue tabien baan. It's another book that non-Thai citizens who are permanent residents in Thailand have. Permanent residents in Thailand must have border exit and entry stamps in two books 1) passport 2) the blue alien book
 
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We checked into the S 2 Modern Hotel in Vientiane, nice place. Good room, bed, small pool, good breakfast $50 USD a night 1 km to the Night Market. Ate dinner at a posh place across from the Lao Orchid, ehh..skip that place. No Name Bar after for a couple more drinks, some cute staff Buddha Park in the morning, lunch at Sputnik Burger was pretty good, and a couple temples after. Dinner was at Samyek Pakpasack near the Night Market, we like that place. Funky, good food, cheap price, great band. Off the Nam Ngum in the morning roads are in bad shape. Happy to be on the KLR650. I think probably the best tool for two up touring in Laos. My Multistrada was not nearly as enjoyable and I don't think any other big adventure bike would be either. Some of the dirt roads We were on would have been brutal on anything else. Solo riding, KLX300 or CRF300 for sure would be even better. anyhow Nam Ngum was a nice lake, the resort we were at will not be mentioned. 9.1 review score and it was shit. We were the only customer. Sanctuary Nam Ngum looked nice. Noisy at night, unmuffled boats all night kept us awake too. Vang Vieng report and some pictures soon.
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So in Vang Vieng we stayed at the Serene Premier Hotel for about $24 USD a night. Decent value for money, ok breakfast, big clean room would stay there again. Enjoyed ourselves in Vang Vieng. In Luang Prabang we stayed at the Jasmine Hotel, $38 a night. There are probably better places at that price point but it was a fair value and had a nice room. Had the exact same breakfast every day. We had a good time with good food in Luang Prabang. Today we rode from there to Phonsavan. Any bike could make the trip, just be careful of potholes, sand, gravel, oncoming trucks in your lane, goats, cows, dogs, etc., took us 7 hours with minimal stops. We ate lunch at the intersection of Routes 13 and 7 at the roundabout. a glass fronted place with Chinese lettering. It was decent. We are at the Phoumany Hotel, newish place, not recommended. Hard bed, had to wait over 30 minutes for the room when we arrived at 3:30. Booked and paid for 2 nights but going to leave after 1 because we had such a bad experience here in Phonsavan. Went to the Cranky-T Cafe and Bar and had the worst service of my life! The food was overpriced and mediocre at best as well. The only good thing was the Beer Laos which we had to beg for to get. So we will hit the Plain of Jars in the morning, come back and check out and try our luck in the next town because we don't care for this one.
 
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So in Vang Vieng we stayed at the Serene Premier Hotel for about $24 USD a night. Decent value for money, ok breakfast, big clean room would stay there again. Enjoyed ourselves in Vang Vieng. In Luang Prabang we stayed at the Jasmine Hotel, $38 a night. There are probably better places at that price point but it was a fair value and had a nice room. Had the exact same breakfast every day. We had a good time with good food in Luang Prabang. Today we rode from there to Phonsavan. Any bike could make the trip, just be careful of potholes, sand, gravel, oncoming trucks in your lane, goats, cows, dogs, etc., took us 7 hours with minimal stops. We ate lunch at the intersection of Routes 13 and 7 at the roundabout. a glass fronted place with Chinese lettering. It was decent. We are at the Phoumany Hotel, newish place, not recommended. Hard bed, had to wait over 30 minutes for the room when we arrived at 3:30. Booked and paid for 2 nights but going to leave after 1 because we had such a bad experience here in Phonsavan. Went to the Cranky-T Cafe and Bar and had the worst service of my life! The food was overpriced and mediocre at best as well. The only good thing was the Beer Laos which we had to beg for to get. So we will hit the Plain of Jars in the morning, come back and check out and try our luck in the next town because we don't care for this one.
Like I said, we were not happy in Phonsavan plus it is supposed to get down to 7 C tonight so we bailed out of there. Roads were okay down to Paksan where the low is supposed to be 16 so big improvement. Sunset over Bueng Kan, Thailand Tonight
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Paksan to Thakhek had lots of potholes and construction areas on Highway 13, dusty pretty miserable ride plus the wind was brutal so was fighting that all the way. Today Thakhek to Savannakhet we took the road along the river and it was much more enjoyable than the 13. We stayed at the Inthira in Thakhek, would not recommend it, old building with small noisy room. The restaurant there was probably the best in town so at least it had that. We are at Thongkan Mansion in Savannakhet tonight, it is an new apartment style place just under $32 USD. Comfortable bed, big room, would be good for longer stays too and only 2 km to downtown. We had pizza at Long Pizza because Molly's Pizza was closed and it was good. Dinner is at Mueangfar Restaurant, floating place on the river which has really upgraded in the 7 years since we were here last and food was excellent. Pakse tomorrow and back to Thailand after that.
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I booked this on Agoda and paid 1100 baht, the walk up rate is 500 baht! Thanks Agoda!
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Boring ride from Savannakhet to Pakse today. Best overall road conditions so far in Laos but pretty straight and flat. Staying at the Intouch Riverside hotel. Agoda screwed me again, I paid $35 USD and the walk up rate was $30. I will complain when I get home but not expecting anything.