Almost two-and-a-half years after foundation stones were laid on both sides of the Mekong, the third Thai-Lao friendship bridge finally opened in late 2011, at a site 8km north of Nakhon Phanom’s town centre. At the time of writing, private cars were being allowed to cross for B50. It’s not yet clear what the opening of the bridge means for the passenger ferry that leaves from the main pier across to Khammouan (Thakhek) in Laos. However you cross, thirty-day Lao visas will be available on arrival for US$30–42.

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