Visa Run to Laos – Savannakhet
I recently had to do a visa run to Laos. It’s the first time I’ve ever had to do one in three years, and so I was a little confused as to how the process works. I asked ten different people and got ten different answers. But after doing it I can safely say that it’s an easy process and there’s really nothing to fret about. I had to obtain a 60 day visa, but I imagine the information is pretty much the same for a 90 day visa. However, you will probably need to go armed with a lot more paperwork for the 90 day visa. This post is going to be brief and to the point. I will just list out the steps you need to take to get your visa. So here goes!
- Get to Mukdahan. I live in Bangkok so I took the bus from Mochit. Make sure you take passport photos.
- Get a ticket to Laos. The ticket office is located in the Mukdahan bus terminal. Can’t miss it.
- Get your Thai visa cancelled. Everyone piles off the bus at Mukdahan border control. Make sure you’re fast. Don’t be polite or you’ll end up at the back of the queue. You have to fill out a departure card then get a stamp in your passport to show you have officially left Thailand.
- Back on the bus. Over the Friendship Bridge.
- Off the bus to enter Laos. Go to the window to your left, the one where all the other foreigners are going. You will need to fill in a visa on arrival form. The visa costs about 1500 baht. This is where you will need those passport photos. If you don’t have them it’s a 50 baht charge. The man in the office will you give you an arrival card. Might as well fill it out while you wait.
- You now have to get a stamp in your passport. Join the queue, pay the 40 baht fee and enter Laos.
- You will now be approached the by tuk tuk drivers. It’s up to you whether you accept their 2-300 baht charge or wait for some other mode of transport. I jumped on a tuk tuk for speed…well, speed compared to waiting for a bus, if you know what I mean…tuk tuks aren’t exactly known for their speed. The tuk tuk drivers do accept baht, as do most other business owners in Savannakhet. However, just so you know, 25000 Laos kip is equal to 100 baht.
- If you arrive at the embassy before 11:00 am then you’re just in time. Go to the small shop opposite the embassy to buy the visa application form and get copies of your passport. It’s about 20 baht.
- Now enter the embassy, give them your passport, get a receipt and you’re done.
- You now have to pass some time until the next day when your visa will be ready. Might as well book a hotel, have a manicure and enjoy some of the Laos cuisine. I found Laos food to be excellent and cheap. If you’ve missed steak while in Thailand, you’ll be able to catch up with 2 or 3 of them while in Laos. The beer is good too.
- The next day, enjoy some baguettes and coffee for breakfast at the Chez de Bourne cafe about 5 minutes up the road from the embassy. You’ll be able to pick up your visa at 2:00 pm. If you want to use the internet, I found an internet cafe not far from the embassy opposite Savan Auto. From the above mentioned restaurant, go up the road until you come to the cross roads. Take a right then walk for five minutes along the road. The internet cafe is on the right.
So that’s it. A quick, to the point guide on getting your visa in Laos. It’s actually really easy, and a good chance to see another culture.