The Thailand Arrival & Survival Guide Get prepared

Loei

Loei (เลย) is a great place for outdoor adventure travelers. The province is covered in high mountain peaks and foggy valleys making it ideal for trekking. Geographically and culturally, Loei is in between Northern Thailand and Issan (the Northeast).

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Introduction

Loei is one of Thailand’s best provinces for lovers of outdoor adventure, and certainly the best of all the Northeaster provinces. It has some of Thailand’s highest mountains, most stunning national parks, and best trekking. Loei also has a long bank along the Mekong River, with Laos just over on the other side. Besides great natural beauty, Loei is also a great cultural destination with a number of unique customs and holidays.


Recommended for

  • Nature lovers and outdoor adventure enthusiasts
  • Cultural travelers
  • People who like to get off the beaten path

Getting there

Loei is pretty far from everywhere else so it’s either a long drive, or you can fly from Bangkok.

By car – Loei is definitely a province where having your own transportation is a huge advantage, so going by car or motorcycle is highly recommended. You can rent a car at the airport in Phitsanulok, Udon Thani, or in Loei itself. If you take a motorbike, note that Loei can be both the hottest and coldest province in Thailand depending on the time of year.

By bus – Buses go every day from Mochit Northern Bus terminal in Bangkok and take around 10 hours. Neighboring provinces will also have regular bus service to Loei.

By plane – Air Asia and Nok Air both operate a flight most days from Bangkok Don Meuang (DMK) to Loei (LOE). The schedules seem to change and there is not always a flight, so look ahead.

By train – There is no train to Loei, but you could take the Northeast Line to Udon Thani, or the Northern Line to Phitsanulok, and get a bus from either of those locations. This wouldn’t be very convenient so you’d want an actual reason to stop in one of those places to do this.


Where to stay

We find our accommodation on Booking.com by first searching for the town or province and our dates, we then filter out any rooms with a score lower than 7 or 8 (depending on availability) as well as any rooms out of our budget. After this, we open the map and hover over all of the pins in the rough location we already decided we want to stay in. Hovering over the pins gives us the price for x nights plus the review score. We click on each pin to open those hotels in a new tab, review them and book our favorite.


Getting around

Loei city has tuk-tuks that are cheap and convenient. There is some bus service between Loei city and other destinations like Chiang Khan.


Nightlife

We had heard really great things about Robot 2029 club in the center of town. We were actually a bit disappointed but it may have just been a bad night. This is a typical Thai-style club with a house band alternating sets with a DJ. The street along here has a few good bars for drinks before the club.


Fitness & gym

Line Gym is a serious gym with all the equipment you could want, and it costs just 40 Baht per day. Loei seems to have a serious bodybuilding culture and this gym is the center of it, but everyone there is very friendly and welcoming. Plenty of cardio machines on the second floor. No aircon here but enough fans.


Getting out

Head to Phitsanulok to jump onto exploring Northern Thailand, to Udon Thani for more Issan, or south to Phetchabun Province for more mountains in Khao Kho.


Photo gallery

When to go

Most of Thailand falls in to the generic high and low season categories, including Loei.

High season - begins in November and runs through to February, bringing cooler temperatures, lush greenery from the previous months of rain, good air quality, and less rain. The downside is larger crowds and sometimes higher prices for tours, flights and accomodation.

Low season - begins in July and runs through to October. During low season the temperatures are higher, the chance of rain and storms are higher. That doesn't mean it's a bad time to visit though, if you can be flexible, there are deals to be found on flights and accomodation.

Destinations like Loei in both northern and north eastern regions can be significantly cooler during the high/cool season than central and southern provinces like Bangkok or Phuket. It's a welcome and noticable change in season which may require a wardrobe change, especially at night.

As Loei is in the northern/north eastern region, it's important you consider the smokey/burning season which affects the north, north east and sometimes central/eastern provinces. You can find more information for current and historical air quality on aqicn.org.

Need more? Read our post discussing the best time to visit Thailand.

Where to stay

Instead of recommending hotels, we think it will be more useful to share our process so you can pick based on your own critera for location, budget and style.

We always start our search on either Booking.com or Agoda. They have an easy to user interface and have some extra benefits for "Genius" and "VIP" users. You can also sometimes pay with credit card in advance if you're playing the cashback or air miles game.

Process:

  1. Search for specific province, city or town.
  2. Apply rating filters for a minimum rating or either 7, 8 or 9.
  3. Apply other filters: budget, fitness, breakfast, etc.
  4. If you have a specific location in mind, use map view to browse and make a final selection.

If there are too many properties available to choose from, increase the rating filter for less, higher rated selections.

Final notes: Prices are dynamic. Check the same hotel on both Booking.com and Agoda to see which has the best deal at any given time (go through to checkout to make sure all VAT and service charges are factored in). You can go one step further by calling the hotel and checking the price for booking directly. In our experience this saves money 50% of the time but you have less guarantees.

Emergency contacts

Knowing an emergency number could save your own, or somebody elses life. Take a photo or save these numbers on your phone:

Police & emergencies - 191
The most important number to remember. If the operator is unable to speak English, call 1155 (below).

Tourist Police - 1155 or (+66) 2308-0333
This hotline is available 24 hours a day and they will all speak English. This is an important phone number to remember - They will help you out with any concerns or questions you have and can redirect you to the correct number you may need.

Public Ambulance - 1669
Dialing this number will connect you to a public ambulance service, which will dispatch a vehicle to your location. The average response time for urban areas is around 10 minutes, but may take up to 30 minutes in rural areas. English-speaking staff should be available to assist you.

Fire Department - 199
In case of an emergency such as a house fire, or forest fire, call 199 for the Fire Department to be dispatched to your location.

Highway Police - 1193
If you plan on driving in Thailand, then you may end up needing to use this number if you break down in an unsafe place etc.