Are you thinking of visiting the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge? One of the most north-easterly places in Thailand is the town of Nong Khai, which is a great place to visit but is also the ideal spot to access neighboring Laos and is within close proximity to its capital, Vientiane.
Whether you just want to check out some of Nong Khai’s most popular attractions or you want to either visit Laos or extend your Thai visa, the Friendship Bridge on the Thai-Laos border is important to the region in so many ways.
Exploring Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge
The Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge was first constructed back in 1994 and stretches across the legendary Mekong River. The construction of the bridge cost in the region of $25 million and was a show of strength and a demonstration from Australian companies that wanted to prove they could compete for major projects in South East Asian.
The actual design of the bridge used balanced cantilever bridge technology that was proposed by the Aussie Bruce Ramsey of the VSL company, although the actual construction was performed by Maunsell Consulting Engineers.
The Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge is 1.2km in length and connects the Thai border town of Nong Khai with Vientiane in Laos. There are shuttle buses that run across the bridge daily, while the border itself is also open daily from 6am to 10pm.
Nong Khai itself is a very nice border town that is linked directly to Bangkok via a direct train link. There is also a bus service between Nong Khai and Udon Thani. If you are visiting the bridge and border post from Vientiane in Laos, the border is 20km from the city center.
Passing Through The Bridge
If you are looking to pass through the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge, you will need to get a visa. Most nationalities can get a visa by passing through the border post so you will not have to pre-organize one.
If you pass through the border at the bride into Laos, as long as you have a valid passport, you will be given a 30-day Laos Visa. The visa costs are usually in the range of $20 to $45 depending on the country you are from.
The best form of currency to pay for the visa is with US dollars so make sure you have some handy when crossing the bridge. Another great tip is to ensure you have a couple of passport size photos handy, and if you don’t it will cost you a further charge.
If you are looking to cross the border into Laos outside of the normal working hours, or on Saturday or Sunday, it will cost you another nominal fee in dollars.
Once you have stamped into Laos at the border crossing, you then have a few options to make the 20km journey into Vientiane. Most people take the green and white air-conditioned buses for approximately 100 THB, which will take about 20 to 30 minutes.
Whether you want to enjoy the sight of the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge or you are looking to cross the border into Laos from Nong Khai, it will be an interesting experience.
Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge
Address: Friendship road, Mueang Nong Khai Chang, Laos
GPS Location: 17.875337, 102.803928