To give you a heads up: getting from Vientiane to Bangkok will be a long day for most of you. At least if you are taking either a bus or the overnight train. We took the latter.
But: it’s also one of the more pleasant and enjoyable journeys in Asia. Here is our review on how the jouerney is going to be like and what to avoid.
Once in Vientiane, you will find in almost every guesthouse a laminated sheet with means of transport to Bangkok. We compared some prices from different tour agencies and came to the conclusion that every tour agency is the same. We booked ours at the Mixok Guesthouse. They spoke English well and were friendly. Unfortunately, they only had two upper beds available (They are smaller than the lower bunk beds and since the ligths won’t be turned off during the night, you will have the lamps shining directly in your face). If you want to sleep better, try to get a lower bed. The price difference is only some cents.
We were picked up at 3:30 pm at our guesthouse. The pick up service was great, although we figured that we could have left our guesthouse at least 1 1/2 hours later. We don’t know why they picked us up that early. We were the only people that were picked up. Once at the train station (about 30 minutes outside Vientiane), the drivers gave us the prepaid tickets. You get two tickets: one ticket from Vientiane to the Thai border and one for the actual overnight train to Bangkok. There is a 100.000 kip exit fee to pay so please keep that in mind. There is a small shop at the train station, so while you’re waiting until the train leaves (5:30pm) you can get rid of your laos money.
The train that brings you across the border only takes about 5 minutes. In Thailand, you clear immigration and then you look for your assigned seats. The air conditioning is running so you actually sit in the train while you’re waiting.
The train itself is quite comfortable. You’re sitting about 30 minutes until the conductor is coming and is making the beds. We even ordered a meal that was delicious. At 8 pm almost everybody was trying to get some sleep. That is how the beds looked like:
You get clean sheets (they’re more like a towel but they’ll keep you warm) and a nice pillow. The washrooms and toilets are acceptable, as well. I brought some earplugs but I didn’t really need them. We arrived at 6 am in Bangkok and we could have slept a little bit longer. Next time, we try to get our tickets one day earlier to assure that we get lower beds. From Bangkok, we took another train to Hua Hin.