Just downriver from Vientiane, the capital of Laos, and 310 mi/500 km north of Bangkok, the Mekong River town of Nong Khai, Thailand, is a popular transit point for travelers. It has also emerged as an attractive option in its own right—there is a fantastic sculpture park of Hindu deities and Buddhist images created by a Lao national who moved to Nong Khai after the king of Laos was deposed. His original sculpture park still stands on the other side of the Mekong, in Laos.
Nong Khai has a quaint riverside atmosphere and several good seafood restaurants. It's a nice place for a rest. If you're interested in crossing the border to Laos (a bridge allows easy access via bus), purchase a visa on the Laos side, at one of the local guesthouses in Nong Khai for a bit more money or ahead of time at the Laotian consulate in Bangkok. Visas can also be arranged at Tha Naleng train station in Vientiane; the train station connects to the one in Nong Khai.
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