Tag Archives: Nong Khai

Laos, Thailand Sign New Cross-border Road and Rail Deal

Thailand Laos Rail and Road Extension

Laos and Thailand have signed an agreement to extend road and rail connections between the two countries worth more than THB 3 billion (USD 98.2 million).

Thailand’s China-backed Bangkok-Nong Khai Railway Back On Move

Rail Linked: Thailand's Bangkok-Nong Khai Railway to link with Lao-China Railway

Construction of Thailand’s component of the regional high-speed rail network linked to China’s ambitious One Belt One Road plan is on the move again after years of delays hampered the progress of the high-profile project.

A first 3.5km phase was the subject of a groundbreaking ceremony in December 2018, presided over by Thai PM Prayut Chan-Ocha.

Set to link up with the Lao-China railway at the Laos border, the railway will connect Thailand’s capital Bangkok with the country’s northeastern city of Nong Khai on the Lao border, a distance of  873 km (542 miles).

Trains will run at top speeds of up to 250km/h, leading overland travel time from Bangkok to Nong Khai to be cut from 11 to three hours when the full line is operational in 2023.

The 250-km (155 mile) section linking Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima is expected to be operational in 2021.

The bidding process for a further six phases should be carried out in 2019, Thailand’s Bangkok Post has reported.

It is expected that once completed, rail passengers traversing Thailand with appropriate tickets and travel documents shall be able to proceed onward to the Lao capital of Vientiane and stations in Laos beyond and onward to stations in China’s Yunnan including the provincial capital Kunming.

After leaving Na Tha station in Nong Khai’s Muang district, the railway is set to pass over the Mekong River via a new Thai-Lao friendship bridge specifically designed to accommodate the expected rail passenger and freight traffic.

The Laotian Times has provided periodic updates on the progress of the Lao China Railway project as construction continues toward a 2021 completion target.

The route of the Lao-China railway is explained in this video narrated in the Lao language with subtitles in English and Chinese.

Thailand May Reinstate Land Border Entry for Expats in Neighboring Countries

Thailand Visas

Could the cross-border retail and recreation-related dreams of foreign expatriates, non-diplomats and other non-Lao-non-ASEAN-passport-holding residents in Laos be about to come true across the Mekong in Thailand once again visa-free?

Laos’ near neighbour is reportedly considering removing the restrictions on land border entry affecting foreign expatriates in neighbouring countries including Laos for an initial period of two months, both The Nation and Bangkok Post reported on November 14.

Bangkok Post's List of Planned Changes includes a proposed lift on restrictions affecting expatriate residents of Laos.

Bangkok Post’s List of Planned Changes includes a proposed lift on restrictions on land border entry, potentially improving connectivity for expatriate residents of Laos.

The move would loosen restrictions that have been in place since December 31, 2016 as reported by Laotian Times.

The reported move from the country’s cabinet Tuesday comes amid efforts by Thailand’s policymakers to attract more visitor arrivals.

Other proposed measures also include double-entry visas for six months and special discounts at Thai malls under the “Amazing Thailand Grand Sale: Passport Privileges” campaign that continues from November 15 to January 15, 2019.

Since the start of 2017, limits on land border entry have affected foreign non-ASEAN passport holding expatriates (including those eligible to a visa-waiver), restricting them to just two single visa-free entries on arrival via the country’s land border points per year.

It remains to be seen whether the mooted liberalization will come in the form of carving out an exemption for foreign expatriates or result in the removal of the two-times-per-year land border entry restriction entirely.

Either way, a loosening on the restriction is likely to be welcome news, particularly to those for whom visa application processes and fees have proved onerous enough to prevent them from regularly visiting otherwise accessible destinations located on the far side of mighty Mekong.

Thai Visas

Asia Peak Aims High in Nong Khai

Asia Peak, a mega-development tourism complex is in the plans for Nong Khai. Asia Peak will be a huge wholesale, retail, and entertainment center located behind the Asawann Shopping Complex and behind the Nong Khai Provincial Administration Office, covering an area of 48,000 square meters.

Several Thai investors saw the natural tourism potential in Nong Khai, as well as its strategic location near Vientiane, and pooled their resources to invest in a 30 year lease on the land. The entire project is expected to cost 1 billion baht (approximately US$28 million).

Asia Peak in Nong Khai

During the day, it will be a wholesale, retail and restaurant space of over 400 shops, while in the evening there will be a night market. One section of market will have a retro vibe created entirely of shipping containers, hoping to attract young people and hipsters alike. An amusement park is also planned with four primary attractions: an 80m Ferris wheel (the tallest in Thailand), a swinging ship ride, a grand carousel, and a chair swing ride. There will also be a beer hall with 400 tables and there are plans to host monthly concerts at the venue.

The investors hope to open in February of 2017 and aims to attract at least 1000 visitors per day. They will primarily target Thai and Lao tourists, with a focus on Lao traders who will come to purchase foreign and domestic goods to take back to Laos and sell.

Asia Peak is looking to position itself to become a tourism landmark well-known throughout both Thailand and the AEC.

Source: Manager