photo by www.rottourthai.com
Quick company Intro
Based in Morchit bus terminal, located in the north of Bangkok, Sawadee Esan serves towns in the northeast of the country, including Udon Thani, Khon Kaen, Nong Khai. Sawadee Esan is one of the most popular and well-known operators along this route and only use express buses.
Routes served by Sawadee Esan
Sawadee Esan operates a frequent service out of Bangkok.
Bangkok–Nong Khai & Nong Bua Lamphu
The most popular of all the company’s routes connects the capital with the border town of Nong Khai in Isan. The trip takes about 10 hours and costs THB500. Nong Khai is a handy starting point for onward trips to Vientiane in Laos, located on the other side of the Mekong River. There are several night departures from Bangkok between 19.00 and 21.00.
Buses depart for Nong Bua Lamphu at 20.30 and 21.10, arriving at 05.10 and 05.50 respectively (a journey time of 8 ¾ hours). The return journey leaves Nong Bua Lamphu at either 20.30 or 20.45, costing the same and taking almost nine hours.
Bangkok–Bueng Kan & Udon Thani
There are five departures each day to Bueng Kan, between 06.45 and 21.00. This trip takes around 11 ½ hours, costing THB590.
You can also reach Udon Thani using this operator, there are two buses per day (leaving at 19.45 and 21.00, arriving at 05.15 and 07.10 respectively). You can make the 9 ½ hour trip for around THB500.
The buses used on trips with Sawadee Esan offer surprisingly high quality wifi onboard, something that those used to travelling on buses in Thailand will know is not always the case, despite what you might be promised when booking.
The quality of the buses on these routes are better than average and an improvement on what is offered on trips with their competitors. The seats are far more comfortable than you’d expect and the buses can even run ahead of schedule, something that is almost unheard of in Thailand!
Unfortunately, there are no individual screens onboard Sawadee Esan’s buses. Instead there will be one larger communal screen with speakers dotted throughout the bus. This can be a little annoying if you were hoping to relax with a good book or get some sleep but the TV is usually turned off after a couple of hours so you don’t have to put up with it for too long.
For many, a more problematic issue will be the absence of charging points on the bus, especially if you need to contact someone en-route and your battery is running low.
Whenever travelling on overnight buses or trains it is always a good idea to set an alarm ahead of your stop to ensure you don’t miss it. This is also true on services run by Sawadee Esan, especially if you are getting off before the end of the route, as the staff onboard can’t always be relied on to wake you up. It’s best to make sure you’re awake in plenty of time to avoid any hassle.
Keep in mind
Sawadee Esan is a good choice for any passengers looking to head toward the border with Laos. Bueng Kan and Nong Khai are well-connected with towns across the Laos border and with Vientiane. There are also services to Khon Kaen, one of the major cities in the Isan region, which can be quite difficult to reach.
What travellers say
Customers are always pleased with the quality of the wifi on these buses, it’s far more reliable than you’d expect and a good way to pass the time before you get some rest. Unfortunately, the lack of charging ports on the bus mean that you don’t want to use up the whole battery!
Overall, Sawadee Esan is a very popular choice for anyone headed from Bangkok to destinations in the more remote Isan region.