There are two overland travel options from Pakse to Bangkok. Train or bus. While a stopover in Ubon Ratchathani or Isaan (Eastern Thailand) is recommended – with time constraints I am forced to rush past. I take the cheapest and quickest route – the night bus from Pakse to Bangkok. While sleeper trains are the more comfortable alternative they are also slower and more expensive (Thai 2nd class sleeper train). Trains leave from the Thai border city of Ubon Ratchathani and are reached on the same bus route. Tickets for travel are easily booked in Pakse. Prices and timetables below (image). Tour operators can be found on the main stretch of No. 13 South Road in Pakse.
I take the night bus (option 1) leaving Pakse at 15.00 and arriving to Bangkok 14 hours later at 05.00. I organise late check-out from my Pakse hotel and a minibus collects me at 3pm from the hotel lobby. After 2 stops along the route – a 10 minute drive finds the border of Laos. The minibus drops us at the border then disappears. From here we get stamped out of Laos before walking past Duty Free shops and underground tunnels to find Thai immigration. Tuk-tuks also available.
VISA on arrival is available at the Thai border where a 15 day stay is granted in Thailand. For longer stays you need to apply for tourist VISAs (or others) at the Thai Embassy in Pakse. There will be a short wait on at the Thai Chong Mek border to gather the group. A Tuk-Tuk then brings you to the local bus station.
Arriving at Chong Mek Bus Station the group splits as others forward to Ubon Ratchathani for the onward train journey. We arrive just after 16.00 hours. The bus to Bangkok not leaving until 18.00. The 2 hour wait a tad tedious. The bus is not VIP but is relatively comfortable. Air-conditioned, reclining seats etc.
At 01.00 we make a quick stop at the Isaan city of Korat. Enough time for a quick feed and toilet break.
Do not accept taxis getting off the bus. Taxi touts charging 600 Baht for 150 Baht journeys. Hard to believe this still happens in Bangkok. Embarrassing. Anyway ignore the taxi touts and same for Tuk-Tuks. Follow the signs to the exit and taxi stand. Here you will find metered taxis which bring you to almost any central Bangkok destination for 150 Baht. Again the traffic at this time is easy to navigate so no need for toll roads.