TheLoneRider
a nomad in search of Easter Eggs
Loei, Thailand

A First-Timer in Loei, Thailand Jun 27, 2020

A First-Timer in Loei, Thailand

Location Google Map: Loei (province), Thailand

Moving on from Chiang Khan
After 8 days in Chiang Khan, it was time to move on again. Practically, the only way out of Chiang Khan and into the rest of Thailand is through the main city of Loei. What's in Loei? I don't know but I feel good about it.

King Hotel
Problem is, the cheapest lodging in Agoda is B350 at King Hotel. It's way beyond my budget of B100/night. I know, for most travelers, B350 a steal. But for a budget backpacker who can't see where the next money comes from, it's a money pit. Usually, I just bypass the destination and continue to another place where I can find a friendlier price. But again, I felt good about Loei. I had to take my chance.

As the cheapest room, I was expecting a dump. But no, the room was more like a B1000/night room - a/c, flat-screen tv, fridge, ensuite and queen size bed! I didn't feel too bad about staying here. If I can't make a deal, then I'd check-out the following day. At least that's the plan.

I made a pitch to the manager, but again, being the manager and not the owner, the chances were very slim. Nothing came out of it. Perhaps it was fortuitous as well as I didn't see more to Loei to make me stay longer.

A First-Timer in Loei, Thailand
at the garden of King Hotel

Loei City Proper
After walking around a few blocks, the sense I got about Loei was its functionality. Its been around with an aging infrastructure. Loei is what you might expect of small provincial cities who have seen better days. I would say however, that Loei is well-maintained and well-thought through. It's clean and you don't see peeling paint on its buildings. There is a bike lane on the major roads. The park is manicured with the laborious figure-trimming of the trees, you would think Edward Scissorhands was there.

Needless to say, this is not a popular place for tourists. Loei is a working city where people make a living supporting their families. This city supports the needs of the satellite towns for hardware, and big items not available in their villages. But you can make this your base to explore the other offerings on the outskirts.

For tourism offerings, you need to go outside the city limits - the provincial parks where you see waterfalls, and a lot of nature. The satellite towns like Chiang Khan and Dan Sai are likewise charming.

Where Next?
What's next? The plan was to take a bus to Phitsanulok and transfer to another bus for Phrae. What's in Phrae? I don't know, but the hostel owner in Chiang Khan said I should stop by Phrae and Nan on my way to Chiang Mai.

But the bus was already full for Phitsanulok when I got there. The staff told me that I could still go to Phrae by taking the bus for Chiang Mai and get off at Phrae. What? A bus for Chiang Mai? Finally, after looking for a bus to take me to Chiang Mai since early May, the schedule landed on my lap. This changed everything. I got a ticket for the 8:30pm for Chiang Mai. I messaged Mike about my change of plans and he made plans for my arrival and accommodation to my old haunt, the Nawa Saraan.

Ending Thoughts
Initially, I thought I could stay a full 7 days but with no hotel deal and with nothing much happening within the city, I had to cut my stay short to an overnight. At least I had a stay in an a/c room - something I was longing for during the previous hot months.

As for Chiang Mai, I could say the universe intervened. I had to ditch my plan for Phrae and Nan to accept this opportunity - back to Chiang Mai. I wonder what imperative awaits me in Chiang Mai for my universe to put my other plans on hold.

--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
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Coming Back to Chiang Mai traveling

Coming Back to Chiang Mai

(Jun 29, 2020) Not unlike Odysseus (of the Iliad) who spent the next 10 years trying to reach home after the Trojan War, so were my frustrated attempts at coming back to Chiang Mai after the burning season - but my sojourn only lasted 2 months. Because of the Covid lockdown, it wasn't possible. In a stroke of luck, I came upon a bus trip for Chiang Mai without me even looking for it.....more »»


Loei Travel Information / Tips

About Loei

Loei felt tired and old, like a weary old man who finds the couch a very comfortable place. Its infrastructure is that of old buildings with peeling paints. It's very much what you might expect of small provincial cities who have seen better days. Places have their unique personalities much like people if you've traveled enough.

For tourism offerings, you need to go outside the city limits - the provincial parks where you see waterfalls, and a lot of nature. The satellite towns like Chiang Khan and Dan Sai are likewise charming.

Needless to say, this is not a popular place for tourists. Loei is a working city where people make a living supporting their families. But you can make this your base to explore the other offerings on the outskirts.

Bus from Chiang Khan to Loei
  1. as of this writing (June 27, 2020), there are only 5 bus trips to Loei: 07:15, 08:00, 09:00, 11:30, and 12:30. Fare is B38, duration: 45 mins, ends at Loei Bus Terminal
  2. from the bus terminal, it's usually a B40 tuk-tuk ride to your hotel if within the town proper
Bus from Loei to Chiang Mai
  1. From Loei town center, take a tuk-tuk ride to the bus station, B30. There is only one bus station.
  2. As of June 28, 2020 (still on Covid schedule), there are only 3 night trips: 8:30pm, 9:30pm and 12 midnight. 9 hours, B470.
  3. The bus makes the following stops at the following times from a 9pm Loei departure: Phu Ruea (9:50pm), Phitsanulok (12:40am), Uttradit (2:20am), Lampang (4:35am)
  4. Final bus stop is at the Red Bus Arcade, Chiang Mai, 9 hour-trip, arriving 6am (from 9pm Loei departure).
  5. Take a red songthaew to Old City, B50. They'll try to charge you B100, but they'll take B50 (just assure the driver you won't tell the other passengers).
Loei Attractions
  1. Peang Din Waterfall
  2. Huai Khrai Waterfall
  3. Pla Ba Waterfall
  4. Tat San Waterfall
  5. Phu Kradueng National Park
  6. Phu Ruea National Park
  7. Phu Pa Por
  8. Chateau De Loei Restaurant

Loei Blogs by TheLoneRider

  1. A First-Timer in Loei, Thailand Jun 27, 2020

Travel Tips for Thailand

How to Get a 60-Day Thai Tourist Visa and then Extend by another 30 Days

    60-Day Thai Tourist Visa

    NOTE: There is no need to go back to your country to get the Thai tourist visa. Any major city with a Thai Embassy will do. Apparently there is also no need to have an invitation from a Thai establishment to justify the visa.

  1. Bring the following to the Thai embassy:
    a) proof of money (bank statement will suffice)
    b) flight booking to Thailand
    c) onward flight back to your country from Thailand
    d) filled-in tourist visa form
    e) 2 passport pictures
    f) hotel booking in Thailand (they didn't ask me for this but better be safe)
    g) passport with at least 6 months validity
  2. After handing over all the documents, they will ask you to come pick your passport with the visa the following day from 4 to 5pm. That's it!
  3. NOTE: after 2 successful attempts, I was already questioned the 3rd time.

    30-Day Extension

    NOTE: When your 60-day visa is close to expiry and you want to extend your stay. No need to leave Thailand.

  1. bring the following to the Immigration Office:
    a) passport (make sure your Tourist Visa hasn't expired yet)
    b) Baht 1900
    c) photocopy of your passport + visa duration date stamp + TM6 card (white immigration card) and sign all the copies
    d) completed TM7 visa extension form (available at the Immigration Office)
    e) one 4cmx6cm passport picture
  2. submit the above to the Front Desk. They will give you a stub with your number on it. Take a seat and wait for your number to be called
  3. when your number is called, your picture will be taken. Then go back to your seat. They will call you again.
  4. when they call you again, they'll give you your passport with your extended visa. That's it!
  5. when there are no lines, the whole process can take only 10 minutes
General Travel Tips
  1. arrive early - in case there is a snag (visa snag, documentation snag, transport ticket snag, etc.), you will have ample time to troubleshoot the problem if you arrive early (to the airport, to the bus terminal, etc.)
  2. put detailed itinerary on the Calendar apps of your smart-phone according to timelines - this is where you do all your thinking and planning. Once written down, you don't have to think anymore while you are on the journey...you just follow the steps. This frees your mind for something else that might happen while you are already en route
  3. avoiding scams - as a general rule, I ignore the touts or anyone I don't know who call out to me. The calling comes in many forms - "Hi! Where are you from?", "Excuse me! Excuse me!", "Where are you going?". I don't look them in the eye and I remain non-verbal with them. If you reply to them, you just gave them an 'in' to hound you. In order not to look rude, I smile and wave the 'not interested' hand to them, without looking at them.
  4. power bank - hand-carry your power bank. Do not check it in. You can be called in when you are already inside the plane to go all the way to the loading dock so you can personally remove the power bank...and chances are, you'll have to surrender it to them. And you might delay the plane departure!

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