I spent a few relaxing days last week in Nong Khai, Thailand, which is just across the border. My house is actually closer to that town than it is to Vientiane, since the bridge across the Mekong River is about 8km away, whereas the distance to downtown Vientiane is 16km. Nong Khai is a fairly small town that many tourists probably bypass if they’re heading to Laos, but there are a lot of expats who have retired to the area.
Nai came with me and we stayed at a small hotel, the Baan Mae Rim Nam, located on the banks of the Mekong and right on one of Nong Khai’s chief attractions, the Walking Street, a river walk that runs for several kilometers next to the river. It’s a great place for strolling, jogging, bicycling, or relaxing. I especially like it at night when it’s gently lit by streetlamps, and families and joggers are abundant. There are quite a few bars and restaurants along the walkway, and the one we frequented, Macky’s Riverside Kitchen, puts a few of their tables out in the evening next to the river’s edge. It’s so nice to sit outside, when it’s not raining, and dine or have a beverage and do a bit of people watching. It’s also great for viewing sunsets:
Down a bit from Macky’s is the Irish Bar, which also features a decent restaurant and a good view of the river and the walkway. The owner, Mick, an Irish expat, of course, is a jovial fellow, so stop in and say hello if you’re in the area.
Another highlight is the Saturday Walking Street market, which has a number of food stalls, handmade crafts, and a stage area where bands entertain the market goers. Usually. Unfortunately, it rained quite a bit on the Saturday we were there, and the market was washed out. Oh, well, next time.
We also went to the former Tesco-Lotus shopping center (I think it’s just called Lotus now) and replenished our wardrobes. I needed some new shirts, jeans, socks and other types of clothing, and Thailand is cheaper than Vientiane right now, since the inflation rate in Laos is quite high.
All in all, it was a relaxing time in Nong Khai, but even better, it was a chance to get out of Vientiane and visit Thailand after being stuck in Laos since December of 2019, mainly because of the covid virus epidemic restrictions that had been in place. I’m looking forward to December when I have plans to get down to Bangkok and perhaps to one of the beach areas, like Phuket or Koh Samui.