Center for Vocational Building Technology
Kilometer Stone No. 485 Friendship Highway
175 Group 5, Ban Thin, Tambon Ban That, Phen District
Udon Thani 41150 THAILAND
Phone +66 (0)81 2611398 +66 (0)81 2611715
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From Suvanibhum Airport, Bangkok
Say you arrive at about 11 pm. You'll probably get out of immigration (just tick the "tourist" category) and get your baggage about an hour later. There are bank kiosks to change money by the baggage carousels; change $100 (alternatively punch it out of an ATM). There will be a lot of "touts" asking you "where are you going" or "taxi," ignore them. Go upstairs to the 4th floor (departures). The elevator is easiest if there isn't a queue. There will be more touts asking you "taxi?" Ignore them. Walk out the door and across the first few lanes to the traffic island. There will be taxis dropping people off and waiting a few minutes hoping to pick up passengers, like you. Get in, make sure he puts the meter on and tell him "no express way." There's no traffic that time of night and you won't need to pay the extra. The fare should be about 200 Baht. We want him to take you to Sala Thai Guest House on Soi Ngam Duphli behind Lumpini Tower. I can make reservations for you. Khun Anong is the owner of Sala Thai. She lives at the guest house. She's become a friend of our family. (When Justin came in, she was concerned that he find it OK so she waited up for him) Have the taxi driver call her; 02 618 7418. The guest house should be 200-300 Baht. It is small, cozy and filled with art. Khun Anong is the only one who speaks English. I think that the easiest thing to do is have the taxi driver call me (and wake me up) and have me give some directions. That'll give me a little peace of mind about where you are and it will give you a little peace of mind that you've made contact. The phone number for me is 081 261 1715. If I don't answer (or my battery is dead) it goes to my wife Yupin's phone. When calling to Thailand from the US you drop the first "0" so calling me is +66 81 261 1715. So, Sala Thai is in a little Cul d Sac off a lane. It's all the way at the end of the dog leg of the cul d sac. There will be a gate. You'll have to wake the keeper up to let you in. I think it takes about 1 hour to get from the airport to Sala Thai. You might talk to two other people on the plane about sharing a taxi. Backpackers often use guest houses on Khao San Road (further on) and you should get dropped off first.
At 6:20 in the morning catch a taxi to Mo Chit (about 200 Baht). Just walk out to the lane and flag one down. Mo Chit is the Northeastern and Northern Bus Terminal. It takes about an hour to get there. When you get out there will be porters and touts. The touts will ask you where you're going. Ignore them. Go to the Chan Tour booth (number 113 and 114). I can reserve a ticket for you. Your bus (to Nong Khai) will leave at 8:30. You're supposed to pick up your ticket an hour ahead of time and pay for it (about 500 Baht). The gate number is 19. Go get some breakfast. "Khao Phat" means fried rice. "Goong" is shrimp, "moo" is pork, "gai" is chicken. There is a cafeteria inside and food stalls and a 7-11 outside one side of the bus station. Get some food & water to snack on during the trip. The bus is very nice with electric massage seats, a box lunch, a bottle of water and a sweet included. You should pass our village at 4pm. You'll need to communicate to them where to let you off. About 2 O'clock they'll stop in Khon Kaen to fuel up (about 15 minutes); that's their home base. I think the easiest thing is to have the bus attendant to call me (they'll have a driver, assistant and an attendant).
By Bus from Chiang Mai
Buses to Udon leave from the Chiang Mai, "Arcade" bus station at 8pm. Tickets are about 600 Baht. It's best to buy them a day or two in advance to make sure you have a seat. They arrive at the "new" Udon Bus Station at about 8 am. They are cold; dress warmly. The new bus station is on the ring road that encircles the city of Udon Thani.
Get off the bus and take a Song Taew (pick up truck with a roof and 2 bench seats in the back, about 10 Baht) Number 6 (white with blue letters) to Rangsina market. The song taews are queued at the exit of the bus station (on your left as you walk out).
Take the highway toward Nong Khai. After about 30 kilometers you will pass Km Stone 485 in Ban Thin. Continue. After the next pedestrian bridge make a U-turn proceed South. Turn left into the CVBT just adjacent to the Catholic Church.
Driving from the Friendship Bridge
Drive straight out of the immigration check point; you will be on a 2-lane highway. Go straight. About 500 meters after you cross the train tracks you will come to an intersection with a stop light. Turn right; you will be on The Friendship Highway heading South. The CVBT is about 20 kilometers. After the second large village (Nam Suay) you will cross a bridge, go up a hill and the road will curve to the right. The CVBT will be on the left inside the Catholic Church with a gold color statue of Jesus. You have gone to far if you get to the intersection to go to Phen District; turn around and go back.