The Friendship Bridge is a large cross-border point that bridges the gap (literally) between Laos and Thailand. Built at the end of the 1990s it served to strengthen the links and cross-border traffic.
Road Lore: It should be noted, however that bikers are (for reasons known only to the clueless beauracrats) not allowed to cross! Cars, trucks and buses are no problem but I guess in the hi-so world of over-priced mercs and pleasure palaces they don't think bikers exist or will want to cross. There are, however, loopholes.
The first alternative is to make a 100 km detour to Thakhek and cross via the car ferry.
The second way is to persuade a bus or pick-up driver to strap your bike onto the roof or cargo bed for the duration of the crossing. A couple of hundred baht should do the trick in payment.
The final way is to try and bluff your way across. One biker has made it known via cyberspace how to do it. But he cautions that he was considered an exception and the crossing point is not set up for bikes (toll-fee-wise). One to try only if you don't mind making a detour or delays.
Getting to the Friendship Bridge
From Nong Khai:
The route is easy, either follow the Mehkong River west until you reach the bridge or just follow the road west from the Naga Fountain (at the old city hall / T junction)
From Surat Thani:
Watch Rider's been on the move!
Barely visible on this pic (clearer on the roll-over one though) is the intersection for the Friendship Bridge. If you head straight on you'll go go into Nong Khai itself. If you go left onto the intersection it'll take you directly to the Friendship Bridge with no delays or traffic lights! Assuming you're trailblazing towards the Friendship Bridge the route takes a left at the intersection...
Not far to the Friendship Bridge now...
A nice, long stretch of road with barely a side road in sight. Check the roll-over pic to see what I mean.
This is the camera on maximum zoom from the same spot (X12 Optical and X48 Digital!). If you've got the need to open the throttle and let rip then this is the place to do it! Bear in mind there's a cross-roads at the dip in the road, so be sure to of anchored back on the machine by that point!
As the sign reads you can head right into Nong Khai town or straight on to Vientiane (via the Friendship Bridge).
You've reached the outskirts of the bridge (check the roll-over pic) the traffic bottlenecks at the bridge area so be prepared for a bit of a wait until you can reach customs/immigration.
Provincial Map of Nong Kai