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Issan odyssey, Northeast Thailand by bus

Recently did Vientiane to Siem Reap by bus – well some tuk-tuk, taxi and motodop but mostly bus. We covered the Surin – Anlong Veng – Siem Reap section in a recent post and since we unfortunately didn’t have time to stop off much on the Issan, (North-Eastern Thailand), section here’s just a few random pix we had time to snap on the way.

Pat kapao in Khon Kaen
Pat kapao in Khon Kaen

Managed to find a bus from Vientiane direct to Khon Kaen without stopping in Udon which was a good start and arrived in Khon Kean bus station to find I’d got the wrong Khon Kaen bus station – there’s apparently 2 so I got the 50-50 chance wrong and wound up with about 10 minutes to spare before the Surin bus left. No worries, bus driver pointed me to a food stall and yelled at the cook to make it snappy because the farang only had 1o minutes too eat lunch in. No way an Issan bus was going to leave on time so I ordered a 2nd plate of very good pat kapao moo, (fried pork with chili and basil), and the bus left spot on time!

Looks good but....
Looks good but….

So a plate and a half of lunch later I was on this rather super looking Khon Kaen to Surin a/c express coach. Thanks god it was a/c because it then proceeded to stop in every single village between KK and Surin taking nearly 7 hrs, via Buriram, to get there. Ruined my plans for a couple of hours in the afternoon relaxing with a cold one by the poolside in Surin! There are still plenty of local buses running along the highways between all these smaller towns and villages – do they have to use a so called ‘inter-city express’ as a glorified school bus taking hoards of giggling kids 2 or 3 kms down the road each time? (Should walk – do ’em good!)  And what was the point then in leaving spot on time?

Anyway – good evening spent in Surin, as usual, and a good night’s kip at the Petchkasem Grand by Surin bus station. (Always liked that one since cable TV, a/c, minibar, large pool and free WiFi in your room can’t be bad for $15/450 baht a night plus it’s a minute walk from the bus and train stations.)

Surin, rickshaw
Surin, rickshaw

And finally some rambutans which we saw in a market somewhere en route – can’t remember which one but they looked pretty!

A load of....
A load of….