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BANGKOK 22 February 2019 19:07
Ombra

What's the best route from Buriram to Nakhon Phanom??

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Next week I have to drive from Bangkok to Nakhon Phanom, and we shall stay overnight in Buriram so that the wife can visit some relatives. We made this trip a couple of years ago and went via Yasothon and Mukdahan, I think. What I remember is that I got pretty tired driving along single lane roads and that I saw some alarming overtaking. I was wondering if the experience this time will be much the same on any route we choose or if someone could kindly suggest a route that is a little easier?

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Use the 'google' search engine for 'Buriram to Nakhon Phanom' then click 'find directions' and it will give you (usually) 3 alternative routes on a map with detailed directions.

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Do that trip regularly and you have already used the quickest route. Unfortunately, as you described, the Suwannaphum - Yasothon - Mukdahan road remains the nightmare part of the 400 km journey. 

We saved time after finding the 2081 west to east road which starts around 10 km north of Satuek. Only one set of lights, no speed cameras and surprisingly not on any bus routes. Previously we took an outdated google map taking us all round the houses.

Last week we saw 6 elephants feeding an the rice stubble along there so something to look out for to break the monotony. 

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Thanks for the suggestion. Google will tell me the route, but it won't tell me what the road is like. For example, I remember one stretch of road south-west of Mukdahan where there was no hard shoulder, and so not only were cars and trucks using the single lane, but motorcyclists were, too. I also remember other stretches where road construction was taking place, and I imagine that that work is now finished. I was hoping that someone who has experience of this part of Isaan could tell me which are the better roads.

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2 minutes ago, yosib157 said:

Do that trip regularly and you have already used the quickest route. Unfortunately, as you described, the Suwannaphum - Yasothon - Mukdahan road remains the nightmare part of the 400 km journey. 

We saved time after finding the 2081 west to east road which starts around 10 km north of Satuek. Only one set of lights, no speed cameras and surprisingly not on any bus routes. Previously we took an outdated google map taking us all round the houses.

Last week we saw 6 elephants feeding an the rice stubble along there so something to look out for to break the monotony. 

Thank you, Yosib157. you've said what I was afraid I was going to hear. I'll check to see where the 2081 road is one the map, though. One advantage I have is that i can take my time, and I would certainly like to see some elephants.

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Favor four lane roads for a reasonably acceptable detour?

You could go all the way up highway #2 (Mithrapap) towards Udon Thani.

South of Udon you turn towards route #22 which ends in Nakon Phanom.

This would cut the two lane stretch down to about 250 km.

Max. detour compared to shortest path is about 50 km (790 to 740 km).

All rough numbers from some fictional point in Bangkok.

 

I never drove Udon Thani - Nakon Phanom.

So I can't tell whether traffic is easier or worse than on the other routes.

Edited by KhunBENQ

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That is a very interesting suggestion. In fact, it cuts the single lane section down to a little more than 160 kms because the Sakon Nakhon to Nakhon Phanom road is now nearly all four lanes. The only problem is that Udon to Sakon Nakhon is not just a single lane in each direction, but it is winding, too, and frustrating for drivers. However, it makes more sense to be tired for just 160 kms than for 350 kms. Thank you for the help.

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23 hours ago, Ombra said:

That is a very interesting suggestion. In fact, it cuts the single lane section down to a little more than 160 kms because the Sakon Nakhon to Nakhon Phanom road is now nearly all four lanes. The only problem is that Udon to Sakon Nakhon is not just a single lane in each direction, but it is winding, too, and frustrating for drivers. However, it makes more sense to be tired for just 160 kms than for 350 kms. Thank you for the help.

I know this road well (Udon to NKP) which is being upgraded to 4 lane more and more every day of every year working towards Udon and it takes less and less time on the (non-stopping) buses which I take. But I just arrived from the UK and will not travel on the bus from Udon to NKP until tomorrow or the day after so I cant update u yet. I havent travelled it since March. But I can tell u that some of the Sakhon Nakhon to Udon road is already 4 lane. The problem is that the sections remaining involve quite a few bridge constructions; allbeit small ones which seem to be slowing the buses down again by about 20 to 30 mins from 3hrs 40mins to 4hrs 10mins. I often see my favoured bus from NKP arriving in Udon in the evening.

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1 hour ago, SunsetT said:

I know this road well (Udon to NKP) which is being upgraded to 4 lane more and more every day of every year working towards Udon and it takes less and less time on the (non-stopping) buses which I take. But I just arrived from the UK and will not travel on the bus from Udon to NKP until tomorrow or the day after so I cant update u yet. I havent travelled it since March. But I can tell u that some of the Sakhon Nakhon to Udon road is already 4 lane. The problem is that the sections remaining involve quite a few bridge constructions; allbeit small ones which seem to be slowing the buses down again by about 20 to 30 mins from 3hrs 40mins to 4hrs 10mins. I often see my favoured bus from NKP arriving in Udon in the evening.

It is very good to know that in the near future the drive from NKP to Udon will be much easier and safer. Thank you.

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On 11/4/2018 at 2:34 PM, Ombra said:

It is very good to know that in the near future the drive from NKP to Udon will be much easier and safer. Thank you.

OK. I travelled on the bus from Udon to NKP yesterday and noted the 1st 60k is 4 lane then about 12k is 2 lane then 12k is 4 lane, then anothe 22k is 2 lane  then the rest is 4 lane all the way to SkNk. From SkNk to NKP much is 4 lane but nearer NKP it is still 2 lane but usually quiet with not much traffic.

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I live in the neighborhood and 22 is not a bad road and does not have a whole lot of traffic.

It's mostly 4-lane. 

 

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The decision about which route to take was made by the missus because she announced that she wanted to stop off and see a relative near Kalasin, and the choice turned out to be a very good one. It started well when I found that the first 90 kms or so from Buriram to Mahasarakham and Kalasin was almost all dual carriageway. The next 30 or 40 kms were a mixture of 2-lane and 4-lane roads, but the 4-lane sections were frequent and the drive was easy. What made it easy was that the traffic was light and there were very few trucks. I don't know whether it was a lucky day or whether the trucks take more the direct routes to the northeast. I couldn't take notes unfortunately and the wife suffers from car sickness, so she was not of much help, but Mahasarakam to Kalasin and then on to Sakhon Nakhon was a pleasant drive. I was a bit worried about people overtaking in the mountains, but I think that most realise that there isn't much advantage in doing so, and I saw only one bloke narrowly avoid a collision with a truck. From the mountains to Sakhon Nakhon, the roads are in good condition and have wide hard shoulders. My memory of the 90 km section to Nakhon Phanom was not correct, but instead it is as SunsetT says. The single lane sections are long and straight and easy for overtaking. Given that I saw a fair amount of road construction on the way, a journey like this will get easier in the next few years. I was amused to see, by the way, that many rural drivers treat dual carriageways as single lane roads and never move from the outside lane, but I don't think that my amusement would last very long if I lived in Kalasin.

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perfectly timed post! I'll be traveling that exact route (minus detours to find what seems like every single wat along the way and anything even *remotely* interesting) Buriram->Maha Sarakham->Kalasin->Sakon N->Nakhon P (then maybe to Bueng Kan)

 

Now I just need to figure out how I can spend 14 days between Kalasin to Nakhon Phanom (or Bueng Kan). I'll have 7 days in Buriram/Maha Sarakham border to visit the wife's family but then I get to "pick" where we go after that. And then, after 6 trips and over 180 days, my tour of Thailand will just about be complete and we can go to other countries near there after stopping by for the yearly week visit to see her family.

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