VISA RUN TO LAOS 2015

 

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READ ABOUT MY DOUBLE ENTRY TOURIST VISA RUN TO LAOS 2015 AND SEE WHY I SWITCHED FROM THE E.D. VISA

 

 

IN A NUTSHELL
  • VISA RUN ORGANIZED WITH A TOUR COMPANY
  • 3 DAY TRIP WITH OVERNIGHT STAY IN VIENTIANE
  • GUIDES DIRECTING STEPS THROUGH ALL IMMIGRATION POINTS
  • 8,000 BAHT – ALL INCLUSIVE – NOTHING MORE TO PAY FEE

I received a Double Entry Visa on this trip even though I had so many previously in my passport that I was eventually denied in the past, it seems that having the ED Visa has acted as a buffer and has pushed the reset button to allow me to get a new round of Tourist Visa’s in the future.

 

THE DOUBLE ENTRY VISA VS E.D. VISA

Deciding what visa I wanted was a pretty easy choice this year, and when you compare the Double Entry Tourist Visa VS the E.D. Visa, I decided to go with the cheaper option and less time demanding tourist visa.

 

THE ED VISA PAIN

Being on the ED visa for the past 2 years I was really tired of all the issues attached to having the Education Visa in Thailand, mainly being –

  • Doubling of the lesson fee’s (30,000 Baht for 200 Hrs)
  • Doubling of the attendance hours ( 2 hrs x 4 days/week)
  • The crazy pace that the language was being taught
  • The feeling I was not free any longer

As well as other points not mentioned here, it boiled down to that – learning Thai Language is now expensive and not an enjoyable experience anymore and was the reason why I decided to give the ED Visa a miss for a while.

 

BEING A TOURIST AGAIN

I longed to be a care free tourist again without Immigration breathing down my neck anymore, so I called up a Thai lady that I have known for many years who runs a tour company and visa service, then asked her what she could do.

 

DENIED A TOURIST VISA BEFORE

I was concerned that I would not qualify for the double entry tourist visa because I had so many in the past and that I had been refused one the last time I had applied for one 2 years ago.

My friend assured me that in her professional opinion that I would have no trouble getting a double entry tourist visa because it had been over 2 years since I had been issued with one.

I took her word for it as she had never not delivered on her promises to to get me what she said she could do, so I booked the trip on the spot.

 

THE TRIP

I was told I was to be picked up the day before my visa expired in the evening at a designated point of my choice, being where I stayed at  between 5 -5:30 pm

5:20 – I get phone call from my mini van driver that he is 10 minutes away

 

MINIVAN ARRIVES

5:45 – Minivan arrives, i get in and I take my seat then we continue on picking up other passengers.

6:30 –All passengers are onboard and we leave Pattaya for the Thai border at Knong Khai.

 

1 STOP

6:50 – We pull over at a petrol station and fuel up and buy snacks.

7:00 – We continue our journey.

 

2ND STOP

10:50 – We stop for a 2nd time, for a 1 hr break, passengers eat and walk around while the minivan drivers who have formed into a small convoy of minivans, do visa paperwork needed for immigration.

11:50 – We board the minivan and continue on our way.

12:20 am – It starts raining and the travel time slows down.

 

WE ARRIVE AT KNONG KHAI

5:30 am – We arrive at the Knong Khai Immigration check point much later than on previous trips and the 7/11 at the stop was closed due to renovations, so there was no water or snacks to be had as we waited for the barricade to be open and we pass over to the Thai check point

6 am – The Immigration office opens up and we quickly pass through as numbers of people at the border are low.

6:05 – I had checked out of Thailand and my ED visa was officially at an end, I waited for all our group to be checked out in the seating area and watched the buses coming and going taking people over friendship bridge.

 

CROSSING INTO LAOS

6:45 – Our group finally caught a bus over friendship bridge to the Laos side of the border where we had to wait in the hot morning sun with only a few places to sit.

While our passports where processed on mass, the time spent waiting for the Loas visa was the worst time of the trip, as we were all hot, tired and thirsty.

8:25 – Our passports finally came out of the office and we passed over into Loas, and we got into smaller minivans to take us into Vientiane.

 

 BREAKFAST AT THE HOTEL

9 am – We arrived at the hotel instead of going to the Thai Embassy for some reason, and there we ate breakfast.

9:45 we got loaded back into the minivans and took the scenic route to the Thai embassy as the tour guides tried to kill some time as the hotel rooms would not be available until after 11 am.

 

THE THAI EMBASSY VIENTIANE

10:10 – We arrive at the Thai Embassy and enter the fast track line for group bookings, and we handed our passports over with the visa application paperwork, that the guides had filled in for us, at a counter, then we went back to the minivan.

The process was fast and hassle free and much better organized than previous trips.

10:20 – my minivan leaves the Thai Embassy and again takes the scenic route back to the hotel in an effort to entertain us and eat up time until our rooms would be ready

 

HOTEL CHECK IN

11 am – we arrive back at the hotel but informed that the rooms will not be ready for another hour, so we waited in the comfortable lobby.

12 pm – Rooms became available and keys were handed out and we checked into our rooms.

 

EVENING

The free evening meal in the restaurant was to be served between 6 – 7 pm and everyone turned up to eat before either retiring for the night or partying in town or at the hotel’s karaoke bar and night club at the back of the hotel.

 

BREAKFAST

Breakfast was served up in the morning between 7 – 10 am and was a buffet –all you can eat – style arrangement with the main Items being – toast, eggs and hotdogs, with tea, coffee and juice to drink.

 

LUNCH

Another Lunch Meal was provided between 11 – 12 am from the main menu, but you had to order before 11:30 or you would miss out for some unknown reason.

 

BACK TO LAOS IMMAGRATION

12:10 – the drivers call for everyone to leave the hotel and get into the minivans for the ride back to Laos immigration to check out of the country

1:10 after a slow drive through and around the city we arrive at the checkpoint

1:15 we pass through Laos Immigration without our passports and go to the Friendship Bridge bus area, we are told we have ½ an hour to go shopping at Duty free which many people to the opportunity to go look for a bargain.

1:20 – With everyone being back from duty free, we were given our bus tickets to cross Friendship Bridge with the bus service, and it was just 5 minutes later we piled onto a bus

1:25 – We were crossing the mighty Mekong River that happened to be in full flood then we arrived at the Thai immigration checkpoint and waited for our passports to arrive.

 

THAI IMMIGRATION

1:45 – After a short 20 minute wait and filling in some details on our t-6 departure cards, our passports arrived on mass and once found were hurried to the counter, the guide was yelling for passports and entry cards and I handed them to him, still not knowing if I had received a visa yet.

I approached the counter and the Thai Officer stamped me through, once my bag had gone through the X-ray machine, it was only then did I see I had a double entry Visa and the dates were correct.

1:50 – We walked back to where the 7/11 used to be on the Knong Khai side of the border and waited for all parties to arrive before going back to Pattaya.

 

BACK IN THE MINIVAN

2:45 – we were still waiting to leave because 2 Israeli nationals had been stopped at immigration and were being given the 3rd degree over their identities, anyway they finally got on board the minivan and off we went back to Pattaya.

There was a couple hundred kilometres of roadwork’s happening on the highway and later about 6 pm it started raining which slowed the trip back to Pattaya down to a snail’s pace.

 

1ST REST STOP

7:10 we stop for our first break on the other side of Khon Kaen for 20 minutes.

We encounter more roadworks and bad weather

 

2ST REST STOP

9:10 – we stop our 2nd  break above the mountain range past Korat and stay only 10 minutes before gong down the step decent, traffic was backed up because a truck carrying a container had slid of the road and rescuer’s were trying to clear the road.

 

WE RETURN TO PATTAYA

12:30 we arrived back at Pattaya safe and sound and started dropping passengers off.

12:50 I was happily back in my room at my apartment glad that the adventure had come to an end.

 

MAP

Map of visa run to Laos – zoom in and click on markers to see details and locations

 

 

ACCOMMODATION

The hotel we stayed at was –

DAOKHAM HOTEL

 

A 3.5 STAR HOTEL RATING

Which Agoda gives an impressive 3.5 star rating, which in my opinion is well deserved.

The lobby and foyer was impressive and beautifully decorated with hardwood sculptures and furnishing and a pond was located under the staircase with fish and turtles swimming about.

The restaurant located next to reception was welcoming and comfortable and the menu had a good selection of Asian style dishes and many well known drink brands available.

The room I stayed was very large with a big king sized bed, and the bathroom actually had a large bath in it as well as a separate shower.

Staff were friendly and helpful.

 

MY PREVIOUS STAY

I stayed at this hotel in 2013 when I did my first ED visa run and wrote an article about it, detailing all steps of the journey with photos in a similar  format to this post.

To read the full article click the link below –

READ – VISA TRIP TO LAOS WITH TOUR COMPANY

I would not hesitate to stay her a third time.

 

NIGHTLIFE

Daokham Hotel has a Karaoke bar and a Disco at the back of the building to supply nigh time entertainment for guest, they also run guest into town where guest are free to explore Vientiane at night, those who go are expected to find their own way back to the hotel at their own expense, but this is usually only a 100 baht tuk tuk ride from the city centre.

 

To book a room at Daokham Hotel with Agoda

Click on Hotel name to view details –

DAOKHAM HOTEL      3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

 

 

DAOKHAM HOTEL – WHAT’S ON OFFER

 

Location:2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)
Accommodation:5 Stars (5 / 5)
Family-Orientated:5 Stars (5 / 5)
Nearby-Services:2 Stars (2 / 5)
Nearby-Restaurants:2 Stars (2 / 5)
Nearby-Entertainment:3 Stars (3 / 5)
Available-Transport:2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)
Party-Hotspot:2 Stars (2 / 5)
Available-Girls:2 Stars (2 / 5)
Prices:4 Stars (4 / 5)
Average:3 Stars (3 / 5)

 

 

 

WHAT WAS GOOD ABOUT THE TRIP –
  • THE TOUR COMPANY TOOK CARE OF EVERYTHING, EVERY STEP OF THE WAY, PRIDING A GOO HASSLE FREE EPERIANCE.
  • THE TRIP WAS MUCH BETTER TIMED AND ORGANIZED THAN PREVIOUS TRIPS I HAVE TAKEN WITH THIS COMPANY
  • THE HOTEL WAS VERY NICE AND THE ROOM WAS LARGE AND COMFORTABLE, FOOD WAS GOOD

 

WHAT WAS BAD ABOUT THE TRIP –
  • THE WORST PART OF THIS TRIP IS ALWAYS THE TIME YOU SPEND WAITING FOR THE LOA VISA, YOU CAN WAIT 2-3 HOURS IN THE SUN WHILE WAITING FOR IT TO BE ISSUED AFTER A LONG SLEEPLESS TRIP THROUGH THE NIGHT.
  • WE LOST ABOUT 2 HRS TRAVEL TIME DUE TO ROADWORKS AND RAIN, BUT THAT COULDN’T BE HELPED AND WAS NOBODIES FAULT.
  • SPENDING A TOTAL OF 19 – 20 HOURS IN A MINIBUS OVER A 3 DAY PERIOD

 

 

CONCLUSION

THIS IS THE 3RD TIME I HAVE TAKEN THIS TRIP WITH THE TOUR COMPANY BY MINIVAN TO LAOS AND I HAVE TO SAY IT WAS THE BEST EXPERIANCE OF THE 3 TRIPS, I WAS WELL TAKEN CARE OF AND THE TRANSITION ALONG EVERY POINT OF THE TRIP WENT RELATIVELY SMOOTHLY AND PROBLEM FREE.

HOWEVER, I THINK FROM HERE ON OUT i WILL CHOOSE TO FLY BY PLANE IN THE FUTURE INSTEAD OFTRAVELLING OVERLAND BY ROAD.

 

 

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