How to Make a Thailand Visa run to Vientiane, Laos

It somehow seems hard to find concrete information on the web regarding how to make a Thailand visa run to Vientiane, Laos.  I have been on two visa runs to Vientiane recently and have taken notes to show the costs and how it really is not a very difficult process.  The first time I went, I obtained a 2 month tourist visa.  The second time I got a job teaching English in Bangkok and went to Vientiane to apply for a non-immigrant B visa so that my job could then apply for my Thai work permit.  Both times I was able to do some Vientiane style relaxing.

IMG 8251small How to Make a Thailand Visa run to Vientiane, Laos

Vientiane, Laos

I have had positive experiences both times and things have run smoothly.  There are a number of ways to get to Laos but this is what I chose to do.

1.  Bus from Khao San Road Bangkok, to Vientiane, Laos

Bus leaves daily at a time between 7 pm and 8 pm (no one knows for sure when so be early).  I arrived at Khao San road Bangkok around 5pm to purchase the ticket and then hung out till it was time to leave.  Any of the tour agencies will sell the ticket and it will cost between 800 and 900 Baht which will cover everything all the way to the center of Vientiane, Laos.

2.  At the Laos border you need to apply for a visa

To get a Laos visa you need:

  • Filled out application form which the bus will give you.
  • A passport photo for the application.
  • Payment (For US citizens it was $36), Try to pay with USD if you can because in Baht they overcharge.

3.  Across the Border

When you get across the border there will be a bus waiting for you to carry you to Vientiane center about 30 minutes from the border.  This is all included in the bus fee from Bangkok.  You should arrive in Vientiane at about 9-10 am the next day.

4.  Tuktuk in Vientiane to the Thai Embassy

When the bus drops you off, immediately hop onto a jumbo tuktuk and tell the driver to take you to the Thailand Embassy.  Should cost anywhere from 100-200 baht round trip.  The embassy stops accepting visa inquiries at 12 pm so don’t lallygag.

5. At the Thai Embassy

At the Thai embassy before you do anything pick up a number.  Then grab the form and fill out all the information asked for.  Along with the form you will need:

For the tourist visa:

  • Application (from the embassy)
  • Passport
  • 2 passport photos
  • Copy of passport
  • Payment if needed

For the non-immigrant B visa for my English teaching job in Bangkok, I needed:

  • Application (from the embassy)
  • Passport
  • 2 passport photos
  • copy of passport
  • payment of 2000 Thai baht
  • copy of University degree
  • copy of TESOL certificate (bring original)
  • packet of official papers from employer

6.  Place to Spend the Night

Ride back to the Vientiane fountain where there are loads of hostels and hotels to stay at.  I stayed at the Saysouly guest house which runs 300 baht per night for a double room.  The guest house is quite adequate but there are loads of other options as well if you have a look around.

7.  Free Time

After taking care of business in the morning, the main thing to do in Vientiane is relax and eat.  At sunset be sure to check out one of the main joys of Vientiane; having a meal of grilled fish and a beerlao while watching the sunset over the Mekong River.  There are loads of eateries set up on the banks of the river.  I would also highly recommend drowning yourself in all 16 inches of a Laos style sandwich, known as the Laos Insanewich.

8.  Passport Pickup

The next day you need to return from 1pm to 3pm in the afternoon to pick up your passport with the visa included.  Take a look at your passport and visa to make sure it is correct.

9.  Return Bus to Bangkok

Again, any of the tour agencies in Vientiane will sell you a tourist VIP bus all the way back to Bangkok, to either Mochit Station or Khao San Road.  The price should cost 700 to 800 Baht.  It will take you accross the border to Thailand, hassle free, and you will arrive in Bangkok anywhere from 5 am to 6 am the next day.

Here is what I spent in 2 days and 3 nights:

  • VIP Bus (2 ways)- 1600
  • Laos Visa $36 about 1200 (note: if you pay Thai baht it will be more like 1400)
  • Thai non-immigrant B visa- 2000
  • 1 night room- 300/2- 150
  • Food and drinks- 500

Total price to get a Thai Non-Immigrant B Visa in Vientiane Laos- 5450 Baht

Hope this is a helpful guide to making a visa run from Bangkok to Vientiane.

If you do have more time to spend in Laos it is a marvelous treat to maximize relaxation in Vientiane, spend time in Luang Prabang or boat the Mekong River for a couple days.

For more information check out the official website of the Thai Embassy in Vientiane, Laos.

-Migration Mark

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Comments

  1. says

    Good article,

    some additions:

    you can take the 50 (or 70?) baht international bus from vientianne to udon thani. goes all the way through customs. in udon you can find tons of busses going all the time to bangkok. the bus to bangkok is around 450 for a vip.
    sometimes it’s better not to take the large busses when you cross the border, cause these busses have to wait two times for EVERYONE in the bus to get through the border customs. and there are always at least one or two idiots waiting at the “thai only” line :) that can add 1-2 hours to your regular trip time. so if you are in a hurry or don’t like to wait you better use individual transport throught the border.

    you can do the same on your way up to laos, but a) you have to figure out what bus to get at the norther terminal which can be a pita cause all signs are in thai. but it’s doable, you have to follow the countless “assistants” welcoming you, but check the price before you get the ticket, cause you don’t want to end up in the 350 baht bus that stops at every village. these guys are usually fair game and don’t try to trick you. just tell them you want vip. b) the international bus from nong khai to vientianne does not stop for your visa application. so it would only be good to get to the border. or you get a visa at the lao embassy before leaving bangkok.

    i found vientianne lost a lot of it’s appeal when they flatened all the riverside bamboo hut kind of places. always nice to sit there for a sundowner. now it’s a contruction site where you can sit on platic chairs on gravel. not too nice. the rest of vientianne i find a bit boring after a couple of times. the new shopping mall near the central market is quite funny. they have funny laos music videos playng all the time. they make great souvenirs.

    • says

      Wow, thanks for the useful comment. Sounds like you have a lot of experience going back and forth from Bangkok to Vientiane. I agree that going there time and time again can become a bit boring. My second time there I mostly sat by the river eating fish, drinking a couple beer lao’s, and having massive baguette sandwiches.
      Thanks for the additions Jan!

      • Antonia says

        I’m considering getting a bus to Vietntiane tonight to get my Non-B Visa. If I go straight to the Thai embassy before booking a hostel for the night, will it be an issue that I don’t have my passport with me?

        • says

          You mean not have you passport with you for checking into a hostel? It shouldn’t be a problem… maybe just bring another ID with you just in case. You should be fine!

  2. David Yerac says

    It is much easier and more comfortable to get the night train from Hualampong to Nong Kai than take the bus. I always take the 2nd class aircon sleeper for 688฿. Then hope in a van at the border for about 50฿ to take you into the centre of Vientiane.

  3. Steve Sorrell says

    Hi Mark,

    As always, thanks for your great videos. I also have found your ebooks very useful as well!

    I have to go to Thai Embassy in either Vientiane or Vientaine on Monday and was wondering which one was the easiest for you?

    I have to get a two month tourist visa to give my school time to process a non B immigration visa.

    Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.

    Steve

    • says

      Hey Steve, glad you found it useful. When I had a job I got my non-immigrant b visa in Vientiane and it was quite a hassle free process. All the best!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] The most useful visa for longer stays is the 60-day tourist visa, which you can apply for in your home country or any neighboring Asian country for 1900 baht. The easiest places for a visa run are to Laos or Cambodia, where you cross the border and stay for two to four days while a 60-day tourist visa is processed. You can also extend the 60-day tourist visa for an additional 30 days at the immigration office in Bangkok or other parts of Thailand for 1900 baht. So, you can effectively use tourist visas to stay in the country for 90 days at a time and then travel to a neighboring country, visit the Thai embassy or consulate, and return with a new tourist visa which you can again extend for another 90 days. Read more on visa runs from Migrationology. [...]

  2. [...] could leave the country of Laos without embarking on the water journey.  I happen to be getting a Thai visa in Vientiane and had some spare time to explore the country a little further North.  After a number of ultra [...]

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