Making Tracks to Laos

Travel Blog  •  Julia Ross  •  03.02.09 | 1:30 PM ET

Who says there are no new frontiers to cross? The Guardian reports that the first rail line into Laos is set to open Friday, connecting Nong Khai,Thailand, to the village of Tha na Lang, over a newly built bridge crossing the Mekong river. From Tha na Lang, it’s a 20-mile hop up to Vientiane, by bus or tuk-tuk, creating a new overland route from Bangkok to the Laotian capital. Laos has been on my list for a long time, so this is extra enticement to go, and the Thailand part of the route holds extra allure because it wends through the relatively untouristed (for now) Isaan region.

Maybe this is one train journey I’ll get to before Paul Theroux.

Julia Ross is a Washington, DC-based writer and frequent contributor to World Hum. She has lived in China and Taiwan, where she was a Fulbright scholar and Mandarin student. Her writing has appeared in the Washington Post, Time, Christian Science Monitor, Plenty and other publications. Her essay, Six Degrees of Vietnam, was shortlisted for "The Best American Travel Writing 2009."

1 Comment for Making Tracks to Laos

achel 03.03.09 | 9:29 AM ET

The bridge isn’t that new! The “First Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge” has been open for road traffic for 15 years. The change is that the rail line that runs down the middle of it is finally in use…


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