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Thread: Visa run Lao double entry

  1. #1
    The artist formally known as Wabbits Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน wabbits's Avatar
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    Feb 2011

    Visa run Lao double entry

    Long stay on tourist visa requires some effort and a little planning.
    But is not hard and there are plenty of establishments in major tourist areas to assist.

    For those in the Pattaya area the choice is large and some are better than others.
    5 Star visa runs Soi 13 (sportsman's bar) i have used for the run to Lao and also Cambodia.

    Aprox 7000 Bt inc over night stay in Vientane for your double entry.
    2000 bt will get your visa run to Cambodia which is a nice drive the first time....not after that.
    Allow a full day.

    Vientane is sleepy by Pats standards but is still worth a night out.
    Supping a Beer Lao in a bar on the Mekong is well worth doing.
    I also note it is where Thai tuk tuks go to die as they look and sound very much patched up.

    The guys at 5 Star will look after all your paperwork and will pick you up an drop you back to your abode in Patts.

    Once done you have 2 months, then you must visit your local immigration office, then in one month you must do a land border crossing usually to Cambodia then repeat same three month process.

    From what i can gather you can do the Lao run about 7 times before the Thai immigration get upset but still not bad on a tourist visa.

    Experiences good and bad let us know.



  2. #2
    Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Hatari's Avatar
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    Jul 2013

    Visa Run - Pattaya - Vientiane, Laos (Part 1)

    I did this trip a couple of months ago (the yellow line shows my 'shortcut' on the return trip) from Chanthaburi, had to get to Pattaya first, neighbour took me to Sukhumvit 3km from home (yes it runs all the way to Bangkok), 2hrs by minivan from there to Pattaya, motorbike taxi from there to arranged pick-up point - I'd been recommended 1st Class based at the Queen Victoria on Soi 6 and no problems there, made booking by email they phoned to confirm and also rang on the day to make sure I was on the way.

    Cost: 7900baht. Check of passport and my photos for visas, paid 7900 baht for a double-entry Tourist Visa. (1000 less if you want a Single-entry Tourist Visa)
    This fee covered visa into Laos, the double Thai Tourist Visa, hotel, lunch/dinner/breakfast/lunch at hotel and all transport.

    Note on the fee - talking with others at lunchtime next day some had payed 8500 to a high of 9900 through different agencies/pick-up points who'd added some extra commission

    Had time for dinner at QV and left on time 7pm. Under an hour later stopped at a gas station and waited for 3 other vans, travel in convoy from there on, dodn't think there was ever more than 2 hours driving without a stop at a gas station with 7/11 etc.

    No complaints about the van - 3 rows of 3 seats, good leg room, though I'd have preferred to have had the option to wear a seat belt (none fitted). No tv/music - take your phone and headphones.

    We were in what was the lead van most of the way. I had a row of red/blue lights across the dashboard to look like a police vehicle at night and make slower vehicles pull over to let us pass. Vans traveled insanely close to each other, maybe a fuel-saving effort by streamlining?

    We arrived at Nong Khai 4.30am and joined the queue of people already waiting for the Thai Immigration to open at 5.30am. Very slow process of getting visa for Laos; take a bus across the Mekong to the Laos border checkpoint, more delays and finally we were on the bus to Vientiane at 9.20am - almost five hours.

    Last edited by Hatari; 12th August 2013 at 23:40.

  3. #3
    Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Hatari's Avatar
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    Jul 2013

    Visa Run - Pattaya - Vientiane, Laos (Part 2)

    On to the Thai Consulate (NOTE this is not the Thai Embassy, separate locations in Vientiane), change of minivan (left-hand drive) - about 40-50 people already waiting but there must be a little 'encouragement money' in the deal as we went in and were out again in 5 min having just sat there while our driver handed over a stack of passports.

    Then on to the hotel about 10.30am, minivans split up at this point they had people staying at various locations. I got Hotel Lao tidy enough for a few nights, good central location easy walk to riverside and shops; liked the staff, and the food - all fairly basic but you get what you pay for, and had no complaints. Best rooms - like my one was - are on the interior of the building, with balcony overlooking the garden and outdoor dining area.

    Lunch provided from a basic menu, and rooms ready from 11.30am. Shower, change and off around Vientiane, had been there before and decided on a rental bicycle as best way to get around, 50b got me a sturdy old-style bike (and how handy is that basket on the front!) and a street map showing places of interest. Easy to fill in an afternoon and next morning too, and a leisurely cycle good after so long trapped in the minivan. No need to change currency every place i went to happy to take baht and while they make a few % extra on conversion, hardly matters for a 24hr stay.

    Next day, morning free till 11.30am then lunch and minivan collects us, back to the border to wait while someone collects all the passports from the Consulate.

    The return trip, arrived just before 1pm, and arrived back in Thailand at Nong Khai at 3.10pm, a little over two hours - with 30min for duty-free shopping. Road works and construction underway, the crossing was a building site hope it is to allow for more immigration staff.

    Note on Visas: not saying this always happens, can only relate my own experience.
    As with many visa issues things change from day to day but on that day, while I got my double entry Tourist Visa no problem (in a new passport) there were three in our group who were given a single TV only with a note 'no further Tourist Visa' and one who got declined altogether so came back with just 15 days for his efforts.

  4. #4
    Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Hatari's Avatar
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    Jul 2013

    Visa Run - Pattaya - Vientiane, Laos (Part 3)

    The return trip back to Pattaya would have been an uneventful one, however I'd had the clever idea of getting off the minivan and catching a connecting government bus service direct to Chanthaburi .

    To stay on minivan meant arriving Pattaya about 1am and waiting till 6.30am for first van to Chanthaburi and getting home round 9.30am.

    My clever plan, after about 7hrs minivan travel, get out at Kabinburi intersection - have a friend teaching near there and he said the bus came through about 10pm. (about . . . Thai time!)

    Kabinburi 10pm on a Tuesday night is not exactly lively. I waited near the traffic lights looking out for my bus. There was a food place nearby so grabbed a meal, back to my corner. There was a drunk sitting in the gutter further down the road who was trying to make conversation. Maybe he knows about the bus so I went nearer. Very drunk, but in full police uniform, must have been quite a party, and he suggested I wait outside a hotel sign about 200m away.

    At 11.30pm I was starting to worry, nothing was open that i could see, waved down a few minivans - and some even stopped but none headed my way. Plan B - phone a friend who I didn't think would appreciate being woken at that hour, but polite chap that he is said he'd be there in 30min. 20min later the bus I'd given up on arrived, he was just slowing down to do a u-turn when it got there so only had time to wave hello/goodbye.

    180b and back in Chan city about 2.30am, a pickup/taxi from there to home another 150b. My clever plan hadn't been so clever, and quite stressful, but did save me about 6 hours.

    And I had my double-entry Tourist Visa

    I don't know how much could be saved by doing this trip without using a Visa Run company. It was (apart from my trip back and that was my fault) hassle-free, well-organised and for the sake of saving a few baht I wouldn't bother trying to do it by myself.

    Last edited by Hatari; 12th August 2013 at 23:35.

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