Since opening, the First Thai-Laos Friendship Bridge had just been a road link between Laos and Thailand. That changed on March 5th 2009, however, with the formal inauguration of the Nong Khai to Vientiane Rail link by Her Majesty Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, second daughter of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand. It means that there is now a twice daily rail service from Nong Khai to Vientiane, making the journey from Nong Khai to the Laotian Capital all the more effortless. This rail link is also the first major operational railway anywhere in Laos, although a short portage line once existed.
As well as providing a link to Laos, the bridge is also an excellent vantage point from which to take in magnificent views of the Mekong river, Nong Khai, and Laos. Indeed, at the weekend the bridge is opened up to pedestrians from both the Thai and Laotian side to stroll on the bridge and admire the views.