Many tourists and expats in Thailand from as far away as
Chiang Mai fly to Vientiane via Udon Thani or park their car in secure parking at
the Thai town near Vientiane of "Nong
Khai" to start their "Thailand to Vientiane visa run". The nearest
Thai town to Vientiane is Sri ChiangMai,
400 metres directly south across the Mekong River in the Thai province
of Nong Khai. About 4 kilometres west of Wattay airport
at Praphutthabat is
a small Thai border crossing checkpoint for ASEAN citizens ONLY.
Ben Grummels of
cheap 20 baht (66 cents) bus fare Friendship Bridge Crossing Bus embarking Nong Khai
Thailand and then over the Australian built
Friendship Bridge across the Mekong River
to Vien Tiane.
How to Get a Visa at Thai Consulate in Vientiane.
Prepare your Thai visa application documentation:
Download your via application form and one page instruction
The instruction says "All types of visa are issued according to the
stated PURPOSE OF VISIT". Tony in line just before us was upset when
he'd travelled all the way from Khon Kaen to Vientiane for a 1,000 bhat
tourist visa. He was advised by the reviewing immigration officer
that because he was married to a Thai, and even though he only wanted to be a
tourist, that he had to apply for a 2,000 bhat marraige visa, Non-O
visa (Non-Immigrant, category "O" ough) and had to show
marriage certificate which his wife had to bring up from
Khon Kaen the
next day. I also was only to be in Thailand for less than a month
with my Isan Thai wife on a family tourist holiday in Koh Tao,
Koh Phangan and
Samui on the
way to our home in Perth. Luckly we had our original
Australian marraige certificate and Australian embassy stamped Thai
translated copy with us. We had to leave the visa appliation
receivals window to photocopy these documents and link up again.
Then we were told more copies were required. After lining for a
third time, the embassy imigration officer told my wife that the
light copies were not good enough, to which she replied politely
that it wasn't our problem and to complain to the embassy photocopy
office upstairs from the visa application submission window office.
A simple line about HAVING to apply for a Non-O visa if you're
married to a Thai, would save a LOT of missery for visa run expats
and tourists coming far away from Vientiane.
Hopefully an electronic visa system in October 2014 will come with
an online application form with a path such as "if married to a Thai
click here". If you're a drug dealer do not pass go, go directly to
Your passport with at least 6
month validity left in it for travel.
alternative to downloading this visa application form is to have a visa
run tour guide in Thailand or Lao roadside clerks with photocopiers do all your paper work
for about 200 baht. All you need do is check and sign.
Two passport photos need to be
glued on to your visa application form.
Other original supporting documentation
such as marrage certificates, children's birth certificates etc. Last
year we presented
documents translated into Thai language and
stamped by approved noteries.
Thai, marrage certificate but in 2014
our Australian marrage certificate without translation was fine.
Thai wife's Thai ID card
Thai property papers.
Letters of support from Thai employers.
TRAVEL TO VIENTIANE BY PLANE AND OR BUS
The most popular visa run method by bus is outlined below
first. In both methods you could
VIENTIANE VISA RUN BY BUS PAPER WORK and STEP BY STEP
Pay Lao "visa on arrival" fee of 1300 bhat ($43) to Lao immigration:
When leaving Thailand hand in
your passport and departure card. Your passport will be stamped with the
date of departure from the Kingdom of Thailand.
Look right, towards the road,
for 20 baht bus ticket sellers, just after exiting Thai imigration
checkpoint to buy your 20 baht bus ticket.
Hand your bus ticket in as you
pass throught the stainless steel gate to get on the Friendship
Cross the Thai Lao
Friendship Bridge over the Mekong River to the Lao checkpoint.
In 2014 I headed to window
number 2 for embarkation card. With crossed out by hand poor signage
you'll have to have your witts on in case different window functions
change again. Outside window 2 I asked an Asian which window they
got their embarkation cards from. Their missinformation of window 3 cost
us an extra 2 hours wait. After waiting at window 3 for 5 minutes a
traveller advised to knock on window number 2. The dark tinted window
slid open and visa on arrival application form and
embarkation/disembarkation forms were handed to me.
At window number one, after
the forms were filled in I joined the window queue holding:
One page Lao visa on
arrival application form.
Unfortunately the Lao border control staff batch process Lao visa on
arrival, so we waited for 2 hot hours, standing without water or
going to the toilet for fear of loosing one's place in the queue.
When our line started moving Lao queue jumpers with American
passports were processed first.
Some Lao tour drivers
who want a job to transport you to Vientiane, get for you
embarkation forms and hold your bags when
you get off the bridge bus.
At window number 3 about 3
metres from window number 2, wait about 10 minutes. A Lao migration officer's hand hold's your
passport for collection. Watch window
3 carefully to make sure no one
makes off with your passport and money change from your visa payments.
the Lao currency is Kip, Thai baht is welcomed in Vientiane.
The ANZ Bank ATM near our $30 per night hotel displays Lak which is equal to Kip.)
Travel from the Friendship
Bridge Lao checkpoint to the Thai
consulate in the Vientiane CBD or to your
hotel is by bus or
airconditioned 500 bhat taxi
/ mini bus. We hired a good driver and air
conditioned mini bus tour van for 2.5 days
sightseeing and Vientiane / Bridge transers for 1900bht.
driving to Vientiane, road signs display
Vientiane spelt "Vien Tiane"
Click the blue photo for Friendship Bridge tolls for self-drive vehicles in the
Kip Laos currancy. On the Lao
side of the Friendship Bridge the tourist bus crosses over to the right hand
side of the road. Small motorbikes, pedestrians and
bicycle are excluded from crossing the Friendship Bridge. A friend of
mine was permitted to drive his 250cc motorbike over the bridge.
Our taxi driver who dropped us off at our
Vientiane hotel tipped off a clerk who
visited us at breakfast time with an offer of 6,000 bhat for a complete
visa service saying it would all be done without us even leaving the hotel
but we didn't want to hand over our passports to a stranger.
A sign near the first stage
Thai consulate window stated "No urgent Visa" yet:
My wife was offered a same
day visa for me @ an extra 2000 baht
An Asian standing near the
first stage documentation window was collecting queue numbered
tickets from a group of Russians.
Visa At the Kingdom of Thailand Consulate Vientiane
DAY ONE: Arrive at the Thai consulate
Vientiane well BEFORE passport receivals close @ 11:30am. Some visa
runners line up outside the Thai consulate gates at 7am. By the time the
consulate gates open at 8:30am, it can be quite hot so bring an umbrella
if lining up in the street or have
a nice iced coffee in the restaurant over the road from the Thai
consulate while you wait for a bigger queue number.
If you don't receive a number
at the Thai consulate front gate, go to the door near passport receivels
window to get a number on a piece of paper.
Take a seat under the hot tin
roof or if your hearing is good at listening to called numbers, the
beautiful Thai consulate gardens are cooler. There is a green, drink
vendor as shown in this photos where you can buy drinks while you wait
or drink complementry water from near the passport collection window.
When your number range is
called, step up to the queue. Hand in your passport
with two photos stuck to your downloaded visa application form.
Thai consular visa clerks will check and advise you if there are more
Get a receipt for your
passport along with your ..
When the doors to the bigger
consular building 5 metres away open, take a seat in the cold air-conditioned waiting room.
After previous day visa
applicants have had their names called and cleared off with their
passports stamped with new visas for entry to Thailand.
Wait for your number to be
called and or if the LCD screen is working watch for your number and go
to the cashier counter when it is your turn. Show the cashier your
passport receipt and pay your non-refundable
application fee, the amount of which varies depending on the type of
visa you're applying for. The clerk will give you
a receipt for your visa application fee. Put your receipt in a safe
place ready for day 2.
Catch a tuktuk back to your
hotel, have a shower and wait
for day 2.
DAY 2: Next working day the time of
gates opening in the afternoon at the Thai
consulate in Vientiane is 1pm. Arrive before
then and you'll be lining up in the hot sun outside
or in the cool cafe near the Thai consulate with an iced coffee or
Get a numbered ticket at the
Wait under the hot metal roof
or beautiful shaded
garden which is a smoking zone. If you're early watch
the morning visa applicant submitters
for the next day, leave the big front
door. Then watch the
doors locked for about half an hour to open at 1pm
When the big front doors open,
go in and tak a seat in the freezing room.
Watch for your day 2 ticket
number to be called/displayed
On Friday 3 Oct with the LCD screen off, there was
a systems failure with incorect names being called and MANY absentee, mostly
Russian names being called. One Spanish tourist had her first 2 latin
names with a Russian surname called. The chances of one Latin name and a
Russian, not common but two correct Latin names in order and a Russian
name, highly improbable. While about 100 absentee, mostly Russian names
were being called, a group of about 13 waited for 2 hours in the
freezing room. Some responded to the roll call with "not here" and "died
waiting". It was a farse. Some ideas for system improvement
Call out or display queue
numbers and or passport numbers. That would save consular staff on
the microphone struggling with name pronunciations.
Separate out big groups
such as Russian groups which some how got one day visas and were not
present to answer day 2 role call for visa / passport collection.
Go to the counter to collect your passport and
visa for entry into the Kingdom of Thailand. People
with children were asked to come to the counter first.
Tell consular staff your first
and last name. They then search hundreds of passports on their desk, so
maybe stating the colour and country of your passport would be a good
Check your visa dates /
conditions before you leave the Thai consulate
building in Vientiane
Flights to Vientiane from Bangkok,
KL, Luang Brabang,
Hanoi or Ho Chi Min City etc are common
as shown at the bottom of this page. Tourist visa upon arrival at Wattay Airport
costs about $40. Prices vary according to nationality. The first time, I caught a flight from
KL to Vientiane's Wattay International
Airport near the centre of Vientiane with AirAsia for
an air fare of about $50
Photo of Thai Embassy for Thai Visas
Visa Run Thailand
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