How to Get Thailand Tourist Visas in Vientiane Laos – 2014 Edition
In August of 2014, the Thailand government made clear that they would crack down on foreigners taking advantage of the visa rules for personal gain.
The times when you could overstay 6 months and by okay by paying the overstay fine at the airport immigration is gone. Now if you overstay longer than 3 months, you can actually be banned from Thailand.
Besides this, the new militarily controlled government stated that they were going to crack down on foreigners who get back-to-back-to-back tourist visas. (Which they later changed their mind on, but it gave many foreigners who are living in Thailand quite a scare.)
This post gives detailed information on how you can cheaply travel from Bangkok to Laos and attain a double-entry tourist visa which is good for legally staying in Thailand 6 months without spending 12 hours in a bus each way.
How To Get to Laos from Bangkok
1- Fly to Udan Thani (1 hour)
Air Asia flies from Bangkok to Udan Thani for around 1200 baht (40usd).
2- Bus to Thai Border (90 minutes)
At the Udan Thani airport you can take a bus to the Thai / Lao border. 200 baht (6usd)
3- Get to Laos Border
There is about a kilometers distance between the Thai immigration and the Lao immigration. You need to take a short 5 minute bus trip that costs 20 baht (.60usd)
4- Enter Laos
For Americans, the cost for a Laos entry visa is 35usd. Paid only in USD. If you want to pay in Thai baht, you will be screwed by the exchange rate paying 1,500 baht (45usd). You will also need a passport photo.
5- Taxi to Vientiane
Once you pass through Laos immigration, you will surrounded by taxi drivers. They will negotiate using Thai baht. They start at 500 baht, but you can usually get a private taxi for 250 baht to the Vientiane city center.
Staying in Laos
By doing a simple Agoda hotel search, you can find quite a few 2 and 3 star hotels in Laos. I recommend that you stay near the “Nam Phu” fountain. This is like the “backpacker fun” area. It will be a 10 minute taxi ride to the Thai Embassy, but a much better place to stay since the area around the Embassy is boring.
Check out the “Inter City Hotel”. This is highly recommend by Thai expats.
Thai Embassy in Laos
Please note, where you apply for the Thai visas is not at the main Thai Embassy. You apply at another location which is:
No.15 Ban Ponesinuan, Bourichane Road, Vientiane Capital (near Lao-Singapore Business College).
But you won’t need to know this address, all the taxi and tuk tuk drivers near your hotel will know where you need to go. Just tell them you need to get a Thai visa.
1- Tuk Tuk to Thai Embassy
Outside of your hotel, you will most likely find tuk tuk / taxi drivers ready to help you. The “flat-rate” price is 50,000 kip (about 200 baht). But if you have time you can negotiate this down with some drivers. Many can get it down to 30,000 kip.
The Thai embassy opens at 8:30am, but the line will usually start 30 – 60 minutes before that. Wait in line, and you will get a number. Then you wait for your number to be called, which can be many hours later. The embassy will stop giving numbers at 11:30am. So if you don’t have a number by then, you are shit out of luck. If you do have a number, the embassy will not close until everyone who has a number has been helped.
To kill time, go eat at Pizza Company opposite the embassy. Not a healthy breakfast, but on a hot or rainy day, the indoor air-conditioned environment is a godsend.
*Outside of the embassy, there will be many agencies who will offer to arrange the visa for you. They will charge anywhere from 30 – 150usd to do this for you. If the line is really long, this can save you from waiting in line half the day.
3- Apply for Visa
When your number is called, give them your passport, the filled out application, two passport photos, and you will be told to wait in the building next door with another number.
Wait another hour in the next building until they call your number. Pay 1,000 baht per tourist visa (30usd), get a receipt, and leave.
Get Your Passport
Come back the next working day between 1:30pm and 3:30pm to pick up your passport.
Officially the embassy says they need two working days to issue your visa, but this is not true. They will have it ready on the next working day.
Go Back To Thailand
Get a taxi from the embassy and go back to Bangkok the same way you arrived.
Posted on Gods of Thailand October 6, 2014 in Visa Information