Pattaya to Vientiane and beyond? Airblade over the Friendship bridge?

Discussion in 'Laos - General Discussion Forum' started by Furryman, Aug 31, 2014.

  1. Hi folks, I hope this is the right subforum. As my planned trip would begin and end in Pattaya, run through Issan and then into Laos, it was sort of hard to decide. Mods feel free to move me if I chose wrong :)

    So, with the new visa rules, I have to go to Vientiane to get a new ED visa for the next year instead of just getting more extensions here at Jomtien. I have pretty much decided that I really want to go ahead and ride my Airblade up to Issan and hopefully across the border into Laos. Plus, if I have my bike in Laos already, with a Laos visa and and insurance, etc. I may as well kick around and see more of the country than a few blocks near the bus station and the Thai consulate.

    I think I have my route planned out, though I may change it up some as I'm getting some feedback that one stretch is a little hairy. No really simple way to route around that part though. any advice on that part would be helpful. Image is a screen grab of my current proposed route laid out on google maps. The hairy bit is where the 304 runs through the National parks a couple hundred Kilometers from Pattaya. Been told it's bad through there, but every other route around that section takes me closer to BKK than I really want to go and seems to have some unavoidable stretches on the big highway. Hoping to stay on small to medium size roads for the whole way.

    Really, my biggest question is about riding back and forth across the friendship bridge. A lot of the info I am finding on the web seems a little dated. I guess the bridges were closed to bikes for a while but then the Nong Khai - Vientiane bridge was re opened later, and maybe some of the other spots were re-opened as well. Also some confusion as to whether a small bike like mine is allowed to cross, maybe have to have a truck drive it over the bridge (the height of weird SEA logic there IMO) or even just that they discourage the small bikes so there is not constant traffic going back and forth every day, but as a Falang with intent to stay over on the other side for a while it is not a big deal.

    I do own the bike outright and having the proper papers is no issue. I'm hoping someone with recent experience taking a bike across the border and back can chime in. Thanks!

  2. The 304 is a fantastic road and certainly the best way to go. Where it climbs up the mountain to Wang Nam Kiao the pavement does get a bit torn up by the big trucks but it's no big deal, just take it slow and watch out for oncoming traffic passing in your lane. North of Wang Nam Kiao the 304 is simply gorgeous!

    Now, as far as riding your scooter across the Nong Khai-Vientane friendship bridge I believe technically the bridge is off limits to scooters, but rules and enforcement seem to change from day to day, so armed with a positive attitude and some patience I reckon you should give it a try. Worst case scenario you'll have to take a ferry across or put your scoot in the back of a pick up truck. Where there's a will there's a way!

    Best of luck!!!
  3. Thanks for the feedback! I'm getting fired up about this trip. I may even have a ride partner, but not gonna depend on that.
  4. I have not seen a bike go across on its own power but there are a couple of dozen Visa agents/shops close to the start of the bridge on the Nong Khai side. They will be your best source of info how to get across and so long as you don't tell them you are in a hurry then the price should be reasonable. I am away from NK for a few months or I would ask for you, sorry.

    Thats a long way on a scooter seat, six of us did HCMC to Hanoi on scooters ala Top Gear route and the only criteria for where we ate in the evening was if the restaurant had cushions or hard seats, the cushions were sorely (!) needed.

    Good luck, it sounds like a good trip, enjoy yourself.

  5. One of the first things I'm doing in prep for this ride is taking my seat in to a local bike saddle upholstery shop for a padding upgrade. It's something I have been wanting to do for a while anyway.
  6. I'm in the Jomtien area and looking for a place to do some work on my seat. Where are you getting your work done?
  7. Soi Khao Noi, past the first big curve but just a little before the Wat. NOt far past Black Sheep Bar IIRC. It's on the left hand side if you are coming from Sukumvhit. Little shop with a big pile of stripped bike seats out front.
  8. There is one in Thepprasit, opposite Soi 8.
    He keeps spare seats for a lot of bikes and will provide you with one while he makes your seat.

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