Prachuap Khiri Khan
After 7 weeks in Russia, we were due for sunny beaches, ocean waters and a cheap place to relax and do pretty much nothing (Russia is much more expensive and we felt like we had to keep constantly moving to see things considering the money we were spending). A relaxed town on the Prachuap Bay on the southern side of Thailand, Prachuap Khiri Khan was a really perfect choice. We spent a wonderful 5 nights soaking in the calm atmosphere and the fantastic seafood.
Prachuap Khiri Khan is set along what is pretty much a stereotypical southeast asia bay with rocky, jagged, green-covered karst mountains on each end and beautiful calm turquoise waters between. The beach in town isn’t for swimming or laying, but Ao Manoa, just a quick 2 km bike ride south, was perfect and much more relaxed than any other beach we’ve been to in Thailand.
We enjoyed wandering, biking, eating seafood and sleeping.
There are various temples in the area. We were considering visiting one on a hill top, but found out that the macaque ‘bad’ monkeys were present in an intense an intimidating way (to the point that the locals often bring a large stick or broom handle when they go near the place). So we instead made a short bike ride to the languar ‘good’ monkeys near Ao Manoa.
We chose to visit Nong Khai because (1) it provided a convenient stop between Bangkok and Vientiane and (2) Angie had read about it being a very relaxed atmosphere (we later read a list of Lonely Planet’s Top 5 places to relax in Thailand and Nong Khai and Prachuap Khiri Khan were both included). We rested for a few days at Nong Khai, though on the train from Bangkok Brett came down with a pretty high temperature and flu-like symptoms and ended up spending most of our three days in Nong Khai recovering.
We chose to stay at the Baansabairimkhong guesthouse located right on the bank above the Mekong and which had a common lounge area offering stellar views out over the massive river and across to Laos on the north shore . Nong Khai has a very nice river-side promenade area on the bank with restaurants and guesthouses. We really enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere in Nong Khai.
Nong Khai, Thailand to Vientiane, Laos
Crossing the border to Laos was quite simple, especially compared to other border crossings we’ve undertaken. We took a tuk tuk to the Friendship Bridge. which links Thailand and Laos, and were dropped off right at the Thai border officer’s booth. Thailand stamped our passports out without any hassle and we took a bus over the Friendship Bridge for 15 baht each.
In Laos, we filled out our visa application, paid money ($35USD each, more expensive if you pay in Lao Kip), and then we were allowed to enter. No questions or discussion and this was all done in around an hour or so (including the Lao border guard’s “15 minute” 25 minute break).