The city name is pronounced Bueng Garn.
In Thai it is written บึงกาฬ
An aircon bus from Nong Khai will cost B100 and take 3 hours.
There are also buses from Udon Thani and Nakhon Phanom.
Bueng Khan is accessible via boat from Paksan, Laos. The following directions are from the Paksan boat terminal and immigration office.
1. If you're facing the river (towards Thailand), there are some tuk-tuks on the left side at the end of the road. On the opposite side (right side) is the immigration office. Its small and not well marked aside from a guard post (and a guard inside). Go into the building to get stamped out of Laos.
2. Walk out of the building down to the boats. The guards will check your passport and let you onto the dock. You'll also have to fill out your information (passport number, name etc.) once you get onto the dock.
3. Buy a ticket. The normal price is either 60 baht or 15,000 kip per person. This will cost more if it's an 'overtime' period (weekends, holidays, and weekdays after 4 pm). You'll then be directed to get onto the next boat that is leaving.
4. Once you cross the river you'll see some stairs. Go to the top of the stairs and turn right. You'll see a small office with Thai immigration officers. Take an arrival/departure card, fill it out, then line up in order to get processed and stamped into Thailand. There are normally 1-2 immigration officers walking around near the office to organize and help you fill out forms.
5. After you get stamped into Thailand, go behind the big building where you'll see tuk-tuks. They will charge 50 baht per person for a shared ride into downtown Bueng Kan. If it's just one person, it's 100 baht for the whole tuk-tuk. The tuk-tuks are happy to let you wait around for other people to share the cost of a ride into town. If you ask for the bus station or a nearby city (e.g. Nong Khai, Udon Thani, or Nakhon Phanom), you'll get dropped downtown where busses to Udon Thani, Nong Khai, and possibly other Nakhon Phanom pick up passengers. You can buy tickets once you arrive downtown.
Overall, this is a very quiet, low-key border crossing. This is also possibly the only place where you can take the boat across the river to/from Thailand and Laos. There are very few farang (non-Thai or Lao) that live or pass through here. The officers (Thai and Laos) and tuk-tuk drivers on the Thai side of the border were very friendly and honest here which is a nice change of pace from the other Thailand-Laos border crossings.
There are plenty of tuktuks and motorcycle taxis here. Ask the price first, but they appear to be honest and will not rip you off.
It is a fairly small city so you can walk around most of it without a problem at all.
Orienting yourself - the main bypass road where the buses from Nong Khai come is about 1.5Km outside the centre of town. there are hotels and businesses along this road, and the minibus station to Nong Khai/Udon Thani is to the right as you leave the city at a petrol station opposite the Kubota dealer some 300 metres from the road into town, on the right as you leave it. To get to here costs B50 in a tuktuk.
Coming along the road into town is the bus station about 500 metres along on the right, and then you come to a roundabout where many out of town buses stop before returning to the bus station. Here there are tuktuks and motorcycle taxis. About another 200 metres is the Mekong River.
From the roundabout to the right is the hospital (and some street eats).
There are many attractions some 50Km further along the river away from the Nong Khai direction. Transport may be the problem, although there may be local buses/songteows to this area.
Please note that "namtok" means "waterfall", "phu" means "mountain"and "Wat" means "Temple".
Some of these attractions are (in order of distance from the city):
Phu Wua wildlife sanctuary.
Wat Phu Tok
Wat Phu Tok is located roughly 50Km from, Bueng Kan, to the right as you face the Mekong, and is accessible by bus, by car, or by motorbike. Literally "Temple of the Table Mountain", it is a startling rocky outcrop overlooking the Mekong floodplain that can be ascended by steps and ladders built by Ajarn Juan a celebrated monk and visionary who was famed throughout Thailand. There are seven levels of wooden steps, ladders, roots and rocks on the mountain which represent the seven levels of spiritual enlightenment in Buddhist philosophy. Inside caves and sitting on cliffs, you will find many meditation huts that are used by monks from all over northeastern Thailand. Wat Phu Tok is a quiet mountain and a place of peace and respect where many climb to the summit to practice meditation. Auarn Juan was killed in a plane crash on a trip to visit Her Majesty the Queen and his elaborate mausoleum is at this site also.
Open 6:30am-5pm and Closed 10-16 April.
Namtok Tad Nok Kian
Namtok Chet Si
Namtok Phu Tham Phra
Bueng Khong Long
Phulangka National Park.
There are many restaurants along the riverfront, but not too many in the city itself. The riverfront ones are closed in the morning. There was one restaurant one street up from the waterfront was B100 for fried crispy pork with veggies and steamed rice. This included a large bottle of beer! It has an English menu despite few "Farangs" in the city.
If you want breakfast and are not in a hotel which provides it, you can walk around the city near the waterfront and there is at least one restaurant which provides Khao Tom (rice porridge). In addition, there are street eats close to the hospital - a couple of these have sit down places.
There are also many other hotels in this city - many of these are close to the river. The main upmarket one is apparently the "The One Hotel". A promotion was noted within the city for B790. However,the hotel itself is located on the out of city bypass road a couple of Km from the river. It is next to the Tesco Lotus.
Buses also go to Nakhon Phanom, twice daily at around 1115 and 1430 hrs and cost 130 baht. Just go to the area around the larger tower and ask one of the Tuk Tuk drivers who will (most likely) be able to provide information about approximate departure times.