WANT TO CATCH THE BUS TO THE THAI EMBASSY IN LAOS FOR A VISA RUN? – WE TELL YOU EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW – LOOK NO FURTHER
VISA RUN TO LAOS
Time for another run to Loas to tee up a double entry visa to go back to Thailand, but be warned, the rumors are true, if you have to many Thai visa’s in your passport they will only give you a single entry, the party is over but it’s not the end of the world, a single entry is good for 60 days and you can get 30 more days with an extension. This is the process –
IN A NUTSHELL –
- 1. Go to 407 bus station the top of Pattaya Klang and Sukhumvit rd and buy a ticket to Knong Khai. 12 hr bus ride.
- When in Knong Khai buy a tuk tuk fair for 50-100 baht to Friendship Bridge.
- Check out of Thailand at immigration and buy a 15 baht bus ticket to the Loas side of the border.
- When at Loas immigration, apply for visa on arrival and pay fee.
- After checking into Loas, catch a tuk tuk for 100 baht to the Thai embassy.
- Once at the Thai embassy, submit all documents for visa application and pay fee’s.
- Check into accommodation for the night as your visa will be ready the next working day.
- Come back to the Thai Embassy and pick up your passport and visa.
- Take a 100 baht mini bus ride from the embassy to Loas immigration at Friendship Bridge and check out of Loas.
- Buy a 15 baht bus ticket to the Thai side of the border.
- Check into Thailand through immigration.
- Catch a 50 – 100 baht tuk tuk to Knong Khai bus station.
- Go to the 407 bus terminal and buy a ticket to Pattaya. Another 12 hr bus trip.
TIP BEFORE YOU LEAVE
All Visa’s are processed over night and the day you arrive determines if you have an overnight stay or a 3 day stay or more!
If you arrive between Monday and Thursday, then your visa application will be processed over night and you can be back in Thailand the next day, and be on a bus, and back to Pattaya not long after getting back to the Knong Khai or Udon Thani bus station. Total cost of trip should be 3500 – 4500 Baht depending if you get 1 or 2 visa’s plus food and drinks.
If you arrive on a Friday, then your visa will be processed over the weekend, and you will have to find accommodation until then, also, Monday’s are frequently closed for public holidays, so check to see if you pick up your passport on Monday before leaving the Embassy. With the extra accommodation, food, drinks and entertainment, the trip can cost you 6000-10000 baht, depending on your tastes.
THE FULL STORY
In Pattaya there are many ways to get to the Thai Embassy in Loas to organize your visa’s, you can go by –
- Mini bus
CATCHING THE BUS FROM PATTAYA
If you want to go by bus, this is what you do-
- Head up Pattaya Klang (Central Rd) all the way to Sukhumvit Rd and turn left,
- go another 150 m and you will see a Petronas service station on the left,
- go in and keep to your left another 40 m and you will see a small building,
This is 407 bus station, where you buy your bus tickets north to Knong Khai on the Loas border and the gateway to Vientiane.
Buses leave hourly and there are V.I.P. buses leaving several times a day
- Standard seats: start about 480 Baht
- V.I.P. seats: are around 680 Baht and suit those who want a little bit more space, a/c and comfort, the seats are reclinable and have massaging features built in, some food, drink, water and a blanket for warmth is also supplied, the toilet is also easily accessible.
It takes about 12 hours to get to Knong Khai by bus, so you may want to take one in the evening so you sleep most of the way and wake up in the morning arriving at Knong Khai. There is a 15 minute stop at the half way point at Khon Kean where you can get food and refreshments.
ARRIVING AT KNONG KHAI
Getting to Knong Khai is not the end of your trip, you still have to get to Friendship bridge and check out with immigration before crossing over the Mekong river into Loas.
The bus can drop you off at a couple of spots along the road where tuk tuk driver’s are waiting to ferry you to the border for 50 Baht, but the bus is not always guaranteed to stop at these spots and you might end up at the Knong Khai bus station, this is not a problem, when you get off the bus there are lots of tuk tuk driver’s available, but the price will be 100 b from here.
The tuk tuk driver will bring you to the immigration checkpoint where you will have to fill out your departure card if you haven’t done it already and then you check out of Thailand at the immigration booth and get your departed stamp in your passport, now it’s time to cross the mighty Mekong River.
CROSSING FRIENDSHIP BRIDGE
After checking out of Thailand, from here you need to cross Friendship bridge, once you could walk over but that’s no longer the case and now a mini bus service is provided for the crossing at a cost of 15 Baht, the ticket booth is located directly behind the checkout gate and the bus driver collects your ticket as you board the bus. When the bus is full you’ll proceed over to Loas check in immigration point for a visa on arrival.
After crossing Friendship Bridge, you need to check into Laos at the Immigration counter, but first you need to get your application forms –
- go to counter 2 for the forms, the fill them out
- after you have filled them in you submit them a counter 1 where you also pay the visa fee’s.
The visa fee vary depending on your country of origin, if your from Australia like I am, the fee is 1,300 baht, so you give the man in counter 1 your application, your money and your passport for processing, then you walk around the corner to counter 3, where you wait for your name to be called, to take back your passport with a new visa inside that’s good for 30 day stay, and now you are ready to pass all the checkpoints, where you just flash your visa to the officer’s and head out to the car park to organize your ride into Vientiane.
GETTING A RIDE TO VIENTIANE
You’ll be swamped by offer’s of rides, 300 baht will get you a ride in a mini van to your hotel, Thai embassy or anywhere you want to go, 100 baht will get you a tuk tuk to the Thai embassy and 50 baht will get you a tuk tuk ride into town to the morning market and bus station, from here you’ll have to organize another ride to the embassy for around 50 Baht.
THE THAI EMBASSY
To apply for a visa at the embassy you have to arrive before the hours of 8.30 am – 12 pm but don’t be surprised if the gates don’t open until 8:50 am and close at 11:45 am. Once in, you need to get a ticket from the ticket machine and people are processed in order of the numbers that are dispensed (first come, first served).
TIP IF YOUR LATE
If you arrive late between 11:45 am and 12:50 pm and are not admitted onto the grounds, and you are desperate to have your visa processed that day, then a ticket can be bought from one of the hawker’s for 300 baht, show the ticket to the security guard and he will let you in to fill in the application.
WHERE TO GO NEXT
- GET YOUR NUMBER FIRST!
After entering the grounds of the embassy, you need to make your way to the processing building that is on the left and is the smaller building with many seats in front of it, head here and get your processing number.
HAVE YOUR PAPERWORK READY
Then you need to take the visa application form which is located next to the ticket dispensing machine, you will also need a photo copy of your passport and relevant pages, you can have this done if you go upstairs and to the photocopy service, everything you need copied will cost you 15 Baht. You will also need 2 passport sized photo’s that need to be attached to your application.
SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION
Once you have everything you need and your application is filled out, just sit down and wait until your number is called, go to window 1 or 2, where your application is assessed and if the embassy staff are happy, they will keep your passport, write on your ticket how much you have to pay, 1000 baht per entry for tourist visa.
WHERE TO PAY
After they collect your passport, they give you a new number and tell you to go and pay over in the other building to the right and up the stairs, when inside wait for your number to be called at counter number 5 or 6 where you pay for the visa and get your receipt for your passport pick up the next day.
COLLECTING YOUR PASSPORT
You can collect your passport and visa’s the following working day, the gates are closed between 12 pm – 1 pm, After 1:10 pm the gates are re-opened, two things may happen, either go directly into the big building to collect your visa, or you go back to the ticket dispensing machine for another number.
BE PREPARED FOR THE HEAT
The midday temperature is very hot and humidity is high, so a hat and some water are needed as the gates may not actually open until 1:20 pm. Once inside the compound, you will be directed to get a number or guided into the building and just present your receipt at the counter, it can go either way, don’t worry about it.
Ok, instead of standing outside the embassy gates for an hour and a half, there are places very close by where you can sit in comfort and have something to eat and drink and pass the time in a pleasant environment, there is even a Pizza Company restaurant less than 100 meters away, where you can enjoy a good meal in air conditioning.
INSIDE THE COMPOUND
Once inside the compound, then head back inside the building where you paid your fee’s the previous day, sit and wait for your number to be called, when called, present your ticket and your receipt, the officer will look through the piles of passports for yours, when found, it will be handed to you, make sure you check the dates are all correct before leaving the embassy, when you are happy everything is o.k. you can re-enter Thailand any time you feel.
A word of warning though, some people will start lining up outside the gates after 12 pm in the hopes of a quick exit for their passport collection, the line will be quit long and the midday temperature can be hot and humid and not to comfortable, make sure you have some kind of sun protection such as a hat and water to drink.
GOING BACK TO THAILAND
Ok, now that you have your visa or visa’s, if at this point you are planning to head back to Thailand, these are your options –
- Leave immediately
- Go to the Bus Station at your leisure
- Stay for a while in Laos
Leave immediately: you can do it from the embassy, just leave the compound and go out the gates, you will be swarmed by tuk tuk and mini bus driver’s with offers to go to the border, the best option here is a group mini bus for 100 baht, taxi’s want 200 baht and tuk tuk’s want 300 baht.
Go by mini bus –
Go by tuk tuk –
These guy’s will take you to the Loas immigration and drop you off, then you can do some shopping at duty free before checking out, don’t forget to fill in you Loas departure card, before getting to the check point.
Another option: is the international bus which is located at the Vientiane bus station near the morning market, you can catch a tuk tuk from the embassy to the bus station for 15,000 kip or 56 baht, You can buy you ticket in the morning for the 3:30 pm bus ahead of picking up your passport.
THE VIENTIANE BUS STATION
The 2 options from the bus station are –
- Local bus to the border
- International bus to multiple locations in Thailand
THE LOCAL BUS TO THE BORDER:
There is a local bus service operating from the bus station that will take you to the border for about 6,000 kip or 20 Baht, once there, you can spend as much time as you like at duty free before moving on to immigration. it’s a good cheap way of getting to the border.
THE INTERNATIONAL BUS TO THAILAND:
So you get to the bus Station, from here you can book a ticket to a number of Thai cities including – Knong Khai, Udon Thani, Korat and Bangkok. The bus to Knong Khai will cost you 15,000 kip or 56 baht.
These buses are not as comfortable as the one’s you will get at the 407 terminal, so if you’re going to Pattaya, best to only go a short way to Knong Khai or Udon Thani and change buses. So decide where you want to go, head to the appropriate ticket booth, ask for a ticket, present your passport for inspection that you have the right visa, pay your money, and wait for the bus.
DON’T FORGET TO CHANGE YOUR MONEY
If you have time it may be a good time to head over to the money changer’s and change any kip back to baht and fill out your Loas departure card if you haven’t done so already.
Once on the bus, it will take you as a group to Loas immigration to check out, once through immigration get back on the bus to the Thai border, get a Thai entry card, fill it out, once you have passed through Thai immigration and have your stamp, check the dates, if all is good, get back on the bus and head to your next destination then of course you will have to buy a ticket to Pattaya.
Note: Be aware that there will be no time for shopping at the border with this option.
- Stay longer: you already have a Loas 30 day visa, and you don’t have to use your new Thai visa for thirty days, so… why not explore Laos a bit more, maybe head up to Veng Viang for some fun.
AFTER CHECKING OUT OF LAOS
Once through immigration and you have checked of Laos, buy another 15 bath bus ticket to ferry you over to the Thai side of the bridge, when you arrive at the Thai immigration checkpoint, take a Thai entry card and fill it out while standing in line if you have a pen handy.
CHECK FOR ERRORS
After you have gone through the check-in point and you have your entry stamp, check the dates are good before going any further, if there is an error, go back and fix it now as you may not be able to later, if you are happy with your dates then your next stop will be the Knong Khai bus station,
Paying for another 50 – 100 baht tuk tuk fair will do the job and they know where to take you. When you get to the bus station, ask someone where the 407 terminal is, it’s in the complex and is not hard to find, go inside and book a ticket back to Pattaya, again you have the choice of standard or V.I.P. buses, price will vary accordingly. After a 11 – 12 hr overnight trip you’ll be back in Pattaya.
Any further questions can be posted below –
At the bottom of the page in the comments section.
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