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Vientiane to Bangkok - Sleeper Train

Bristol, England...
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Vientiane to Bangkok - Sleeper Train

Hello!

I have read that the sleeper train from Vientiane to Bangkok is clean and comfortable (in 1st and 2nd class at least). I would like to know other aspects of the train ride as well, for example :

- Any sightseeing possibility on the train (bearing in mind it is a sleeper train). Ideally, it would be nice to see all the land the train is passing by, that's the best part of train travel after all :)

- Food. Is it included in the train fare?

- Noise level. Will there be loud music playing or many children? Need a bit of quiet for some shuteye, if possible.

Hope to get some insight soon!

Cheers,

Lee Lian

Bangkok, Thailand
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1. Re: Vientiane to Bangkok - Sleeper Train

There is no sleeper train all the way from Vientiane. It departs from Thai side in Nong Khai.

seat61.com/Thailand.htm#Bangkok_to_Nong_Khai

There is a twice daily shuttle train from Thanaleg to Nong Khai but it is still a longish ride from Vientiane to the train station. The immigration is done there so the queues are shorter than at the main border post. You might still not want to tie yourself to the shuttle train schedule. http://www.seat61.com/Laos.htm

The sleeper trains travel between sunset and sunrise so you can see very little outside. If you want to see something take the daytime railcar. For that you should stay overnight in Nong Khai and probably buy the ticket on the previous day.

1st class sleepers have 2 berth cabins. Some people find the aircon too strong. The ticket is not cheap and less so if you buy the whole cabin for yourself. 2nd class has several bunk beds and people say it to be a more sociable experience. There is a risk of theft so keep your valuables on your body at all times if you travel alone. Typically sleepers have a restaurant car where you can buy food. Alcohol is nowadays forbidden on Thai trains.

If you are sensitive to noise bring earplugs. At the very least the wheels of the train will keep on clanking on the tracks. The other passengers will be luck of the draw.

Macau, China
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2. Re: Vientiane to Bangkok - Sleeper Train

So just take mini van/ tuk tuk from Vientiane to Nong khai then board the train to bkk?

Do u know How long is the ride from Vientiane to Nong khai and cost?

Thanks

Worldwide
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3. Re: Vientiane to Bangkok - Sleeper Train

The sleeper between Nong Khai and Bangkok is a pleasant way to travel overnight between Vientiane and Bangkok. 2nd class sleeping berths are my preference, for the sociable vibe in those cars. Lower berths have more room, but I usually take an upper berth (leaving the lower berth to my spouse) – but also thinking that it's a “tiny bit quieter” (though quiet and such a train don't fit together too well…). 1st class compartments are good for privacy, but also not so attractive to me because of the isolation.

There is a day train between Nong Khai and Bangkok. That will give you excellent views of the countryside. And those views are impossible to get otherwise – as the road trip cannot create the train's causeway passage over the lake, etc. Like water skiing without getting wet! 2nd Class gets you (maybe too cold) aircon, but also dirty windows. 3rd Class gets less comfortable (though sort of OK) seating (I have seen some bring small portable cushions), but also open windows for best views and photos/video. If you are making only one trip between Vientiane and Bangkok, this is what I'd recommend.

The day train departs Nong Khai at 0700, and is scheduled to arrive in Bangkok at 1710. But expect it to be “a bit” late. The northbound day train departs Bangkok at 0820, arriving at 1745 (though again likely a bit late). Veteran train users may not have heard that this day train now goes through to Nong Khai – as this is a fairly recent improvement in that service.

I have only once had a problem with badly behaved people on a Thai sleeper train. That was on a train between Bangkok and Chiang Mai, where a group of Aussie backpackers seemed to have no understanding of Thai train etiquite. However, drinking alcohol is now banned on Thai trains, so that example is unlikely to occur again. And that was only one trip out of dozens of Thai train trips that I have taken. Of course it is a train. And metre gauge. So the ride is not silky smooth. And the train is hardly silent. You are more likely to sleep like a baby (that is, waking up on occasion during the night). Again, if you are only taking this trip once, maybe the day train is advisable. And bring some food and drinks with you, though some should also be available on the train.

You can check Thai train schedules here:

www.railway.co.th/checktime/checktime.asp…

Using the pull-down menus, enter the starting and ending point in the boxes, and click “check” to get full schedules for each train, plus photos of seating and sleeping accommodations and prices. Loco hauled trains have full dining cars. Diesel rail cars do not have dining cars, but usually have food service (on some, you may have to be observant to see how that works) – though you may also want to being your own food and drink aboard – especially on the rail cars. I like ordering off the menu in the dining car of a loco pulled train. I don't enjoy the food on railcars so much – and supplement it more with sandwiches and drinks from a 7-eleven, or food packed from home or a restaurant and carried onto the train.

The “book” linked to below might also be helpful to explain the Thai trains:

…dropbox.com/u/…20Timetable.pdf

Check pages 59-65 for info on the services to Nong Khai. There are other pages with photos of train equipment, prices, etc. The “book” is quite up to date, but things can always change after “printing” to PDF of the “book.”

Nakhon Chai Air, arguably Thailand's best intercity bus company, also runs between Nong Khai and Bangkok. One night bus, with comfortable seats for sleeping. One day bus with reasonably comfortable seating. Nice onboard service. Personally, I avoid overnight Thai buses because of the poor road safety conditions in Thailand – especially involving night buses. And more so during holiday peak periods. But Nakhon Chai Air day services are excellent as buses go. The day bus departs Nong Khai at 10AM, and is scheduled to arrive in Bangkok 9 hours later. I don't see a return daytime bus between Bangkok and Nong Khai – both buses that I see run overnight – so I would hesitate to recommend those (though others may disagree, and be willing to risk the night buses).

If you were travelling both ways Vientiane - Bangkok - Vientiane by ground, I would probably take the daytime Nakhon Chai Air bus from Nong Khai to Bangkok, and the day train back from Bangkok to Nong Khai. It's best to book both the train and the NCA bus at least a few days in advance.

I hope this helps.

Vientiane, Laos
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4. Re: Vientiane to Bangkok - Sleeper Train

Good post by Earthling. I have used it a lot too and it is great value. Always quiet, clean and on time, but no sightseeing at night of course. Most people have their bed set up by 9pm. Food and coffee is available but not included. The pad khaphao is good but the rice always tastes bad.

Portland, Oregon
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5. Re: Vientiane to Bangkok - Sleeper Train

My family and I intend to take the sleeper train from BKK to VTE (round trip). I'm from the U.S., it possible to book train tickets online/in advance for either way? Or, what advice would you give about booking tickets for a group of 7?

Bangkok, Thailand
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6. Re: Vientiane to Bangkok - Sleeper Train

See the Seat61 Thailand section referenced above. It has pointers to agencies selling tickets abroad.

7. Re: Vientiane to Bangkok - Sleeper Train

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