Ticketing Obstacles on the Laos Side

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Train in Vientiane, Laos
Train in Vientiane, Laos

The Thanaleng, Laos station opened March 5, 2009 but services and procedures are still being developed. They had no equipment or capability to print hard tickets at this office yet but hope to around May 2009. You must buy your tickets in Thai Baht only, in cash in advance at the Thanaleng station. THERE IS NO CURRENCY EXCHANGE THERE. You will not get a printed receipt, as this cannot be done either. They will have your tickets printed inNong Khai and sent on the next day’s train to be held at the ticket window for you in Thanaleng so plan ahead at least 1-2 days. This feels a little scary with no receipt but we found the process to be straight forward and honest. Two other daring couples also did the same thing and had no problems. In May 2009 they hope to have these issues resolved.

Buying Train Ticket in Laos
Buying Train Ticket in Laos

ADVANTAGE: You will get your tickets at actual face value without paying the commission markups from agents. You will also save time and money on the transfers across theFriendship Bridge and the slower customs procedure.
DISADVANTAGE: You will spend most of what you saved on a separate round trip tuk-tuk to the Thanaleng station to buy your tickets in advance. You will have a 2 hour layover in Nong Khai until continuing to Bangkok but there are places to eat and drink.