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Flying Options for Short Holiday... Please help!

Vancouver, Canada
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Flying Options for Short Holiday... Please help!

I planning to am fly from BKK to Vientiane peak season. Than returning to BKK from Luang Prabang.

I am considering the cheapest option. How far in advance do I book NOK AIR to Udon Thani? I read somewhere that I week in advance is good. I am not comfortable with leaving it that late for peak season. Is there a site that will allow me to book well in advance? Has anyone ever encountered any problems flying to Yudon Thani than shuttle bus it to Friendship Bridge border than continue 1 more hr into Vientiane?

Do I need the correct $ in US dollars Thai Baht or Kip for the bus? Where do I find the shuttle bus from Yudon Thani Airport?

I am Canadian and plan to purchase my Visa On Arrival with the required US funds. I have downloaded the Visa On Arrival form and it will be filled out prior to arrival. Has anyone ever had any problems buying Visa on arrival “when traveling by shuttle bus?”

(I am hoping for a smooth and reasonably quick process.) *Do I buy the Visa at a counter when I arrive in Yudon Thani? Or collect my luggage and wait until I arrive at Friendship Bridge to get Visa On Arrival? Where do I buy the shuttle bus ticket? When I arrive at Friendship Bridge Border do I go inside somewhere or stay on the bus?

As an alternative I did look at Lao Airlines direct flight into Vientiane. The prices for Dec/Jan have gone up since last month. I am cutting costs where I can as my holiday is short & I don’t want to waste time traveling. I am definitely flying one way direct to BKK from Luang Prabang. Any thoughts on that?

Thanks in advance!

Kurashiki, Japan
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for Kurashiki, Cambodia, Myanmar
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1. Re: Flying Options for Short Holiday... Please help!

For peak season, I'd book at least a month in advance. Thos eflights totally book up. If you are in Thiland, you can pay in baht, if you ar in Laos, you can pay in $ but it is easier to deal in kip, as that is their currency.

I'll leave the visa inquiry for other folks to answer , as I always fly into Vientiane. :-)

I would definitely fly, it will save you heaps of time If you are short on cash, consider staying at guesthouses instead of hotels. There are plenty of places for under US$20 per night.

Oregon
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2. Re: Flying Options for Short Holiday... Please help!

I've done the trip you are contemplating. Since I did it 10 years ago, some things might have changed. Once you arrive at Udon Thani and collect your bags, just ask for the minivan to the border. You'll be on your way in a matter of moments since you won't be the only one doing this trip. You should have baht for the Thai portion of the trip and you will not need exact change (just have some smaller bills, since they won't appreciate trying to make change for a 1000 baht note). The visa on arrival is very easy; should take less than 30 minutes and if you've got a form all filled out, then you jump to the head of the line (good move on your part to have that form all ready for them). You will not buy the visa until you are at the border. There's no going inside at Friendship Bridge, just a window and then you hang around until they call your name. You're wise to fly to Udon T vs Vientiane. If you're really trying to save $$$, you could bus it back from LP to Vientiane and fly back to BKK from Udon T, but it'll cost you close to a day and I get that you're trying to also not waste time, so you'll have to make the call on that idea.

Vientiane
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3. Re: Flying Options for Short Holiday... Please help!

About 1 month is sensible in peak time. Take the mini bus from the Udon Thani airport, (the airport is small, you can't miss the signs to the mini bus near the exit). Get your visa at the Friendship Bridge. The visa is $42 for Canadians. Pay in USD and have notes in good condition.

Santa Cruz, Cal
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4. Re: Flying Options for Short Holiday... Please help!

the minibus counter is to the right of the exit doors as you leave arrival area 200 baht per person, exit Thailand, have 20 baht for the bus across the bridge, $42 US or 1500 baht for the visa, negotiate for a ride to VTE for about 350 baht and remember that Asia Air and Nokair will be flying out of Don Muang airport after oct 1, Thai Air should be out of BKK

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: Flying Options for Short Holiday... Please help!

I will still have an hr ride into Vientiane after I get my Visa. I am sooooo not used to busing it. After I get my Visa I simply board back onto the bus. Correct? The bus leaves when everyone has a Visa. (About 1/2 hr.)

Do I take anything on board the bus with me such as a laptop or is it best to lock it in my luggage?

Thanks for the tip on Nok Air flying from Don Muang! ...I totally forgot!

Edited: 26 July 2012, 03:10
Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: Flying Options for Short Holiday... Please help!

Oh... It's an additional 350 Baht for a ride into Vientiane and that's if I negotiate with the price? As well as 20 Baht to the border. That seems like a big jump in price for a 1 hr bus ride away from the border especially after paying Thailand exit fee 200 Baht.

I thought it was 200 Baht by bus to Vientiane. So the price is more like 750 Baht. Just so I'm clear... is that correct?

Edited: 26 July 2012, 03:28
Vientiane, Laos
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for Vientiane
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7. Re: Flying Options for Short Holiday... Please help!

From Vientiane immigration into Vientiane centre is about 20km and you can always get a taxi or private tuktuk for 200 baht (50,000 kip). They will ask for 300, but offer 200 and wait, someone will take you up on it. If you want to go cheaper, go to the right when you come out of immigration and 100m on the right you will see a bus stop where shared tuktuks wait. They will drop you at the morning market for as little as 5000kip (under $1).

The 20 baht is for the separate bus across the bridge between border posts only.

Once you get to Udon airport you will see it is a very easy process to get to the border and through to the lao side - just follow the crowds.

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: Flying Options for Short Holiday... Please help!

Bluecramp: Thank-you so much for clarifying & simplifying. I think I can do that.

Until I read your post everything seemed "iffy?" (It seemed to be getting more complicated.) I am used to flying & have never bused anywhere so this is really out of the box for me. I wasn't sure if it was going to be worth the hassle. Thanks again!

Vancouver, Canada
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9. Re: Flying Options for Short Holiday... Please help!

One last question...

I need to know - Does the bus drop me off at the morning market? (Same as tuktuk.) And than I'm expected to get a taxi or another tuktuk from the market to my hotel?

I hope not... It's starting to sound like a hassle again. I always travel with 3 pieces of luggage.

Oregon
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10. Re: Flying Options for Short Holiday... Please help!

Suck it up, man! You want exotic adventure travel, you got to pay a little price.

You're making mountains from molehills. Relax. It's easy.