Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Shopping trip into Thailand

On Saturday we joined the other Kiwis in Vientiane to drive through to Thailand to do some shopping.

Udon Thani is 120km away from Vientiane. It took us about 2 hours, the biggest reason for this is the border between Laos and Thailand.

The friendship bridge was opened in 1997. It spans the Mekong between Laos and Nong Khai, in Thailand. It is actually 30km south of Vientiane.

We got to the border post and it was a 5 window process
1. get forms
2. get forms stamped at the next window
3. get some more stamps at a 3rd
4. pay 200 baht ($9)to take a car out of the country
5. get the car 'passport' stamped at the 5th window.

The thai side of the border was a little less painful but a few more forms to be completed.

The as you get onto the bridge you have to pay 20 baht to drive over the bridge. The bridge was mainly funded by the Australians. There was supposed to be a rail connection all the way into Vientiane, but the Laoations are waiting for someone to come up with the funding to do that.

On the Thai end of the bridge we headed on to the left hand side of the road. In Laos they drive on the right.

There are obvious signs of greater economic prosperity the minute we got into Thailand. The roads are in good condition and are multi-laned, there are obvious sign of good infrastructure and there is much more commercial activity.

In Udon we shopped at Tescos and went to a 5 storey mall with a large department store called Robinsons. And because we were on a shopping trip we had lunch at Sizzler, a steak restuarant chain. It was a sucessful shopping trip. As well as getting groceries we both picked up some jandals that fit our seemingly enormous western feet!

The journey back was in brilliant sunshine which is lovely in most circumstances. It is a little less lovely with 5 adults in a small toyota station wagon.

Back at the Laos side of the border, Andrew and I found out the 30 day visas we got when we came into Laos were only good for one entry. So regardless of the fact we 'had' 20 more days, we had to get another visa each. US$30 each, plus US$1 each as it was the weekend, we were allowed back into the country.

No comments:

Post a Comment