Day 1: Drive from Siem Reap to Udon Thani
Bright and early this morning, we said goodbye to Siem Reap as we headed towards the Thai border in Poi Pet.
At a distance of approximately 150km, we drove for about 1.5-2 hours. We spent about another 1.5 hours at the border, standing in line to get our passport and travel documents checked at the immigration.
Udon Thani was about 500km away from Poi Pet, about 7 hours of driving. We took it easy and made several stops along the way (mainly to ease my undersized bladder as well as for snacks).
It was rather late in the afternoon and we haven’t yet found a place to eat lunch. At our second stop, we found a humble little place selling noodle soups. They turned out uh-may-zing!
I had two.
By the time we arrived in Udon Thani it was quite late in the evening. But before that, we passed by a town called Khon Kaen to have dinner (the only place open was KFC). Interestingly, Khon Kaen was like a mini-US. Many things about it–the highway, car dealers by the highway, outdoor parking lots, Baan & Beyond (a knock-off of Bed, Bath & Beyond), Power Buy (knock-off of Best Buy), and then Tesco (reminded me how much I miss Walmart and Target). And then there was also a knock-off of Home Depot! It was hilarious. Wish we had actually stayed the night in Khon Kaen!
DAY 2: Udon Thani/Drive to Vientiane, Laos
Since we were quite drained from the road trip the day before, we decided to wake up a tad later at 9AMish. We had breakfast at the hotel and headed for…Tesco! Did a little shopping and boy, it was amazing how Walmart/Target-like it was. Needless to mention the layout, flooring, aisle and counter design were similar as were the product offerings. Even the smell was familiar! Besides getting some snacks and a few home products, we managed to get a monopod!
Lunch: Tha Naam Lakeside Restaurant
The Naam Lakeside Restaurant was recommended by some friends who had had it the day earlier. The restaurant was truly lakeside, and we got to sit outdoors which was really nice. We were surrounded by greeneries and the weather was quite cool.
THA NAAM LAKESIDE RESTAURANT
141 Ban Nongkam
11 AM – 11 PM
Pass Big C to Sakhon Nakhon, then make a left at the Private Parkville sign just after the pedestrian overpass. Take the first right and go straight about 200 meters. You’ll see the restaurant on your right.
After our satisfying lunch, we made a quick stop at a Premium Outlet (again, like ones in the US except most of the brands were local). And then we were on our way to Vientiane, Laos.
Passing through the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge
We arrived in Vientiane late in the evening. After our express dinner, we checked in to the hotel, watched some TV (almost all the channels including HBO were dubbed so we ended up watching some Korean drama – one of the only few undubbed programs), and dozed off!