How to Easily Get a Thai Visa in Savannakhet, Laos

Savannakhet, Laos, presents a low-key option for getting a Thai visa instead of making a Thai visa run to Vientiane.

Sunrise on the Mekong River at Savannakhet, Laos

Sunrise on the Mekong River at Savannakhet, Laos

Savannakhet, Laos is located just across the Mekong River from Mukdahan, Thailand. If you are heading to Savannakhet to make a Thai visa run, it’s best to first find your way to Mukdahan.

Buses leave from Bangkok’s Mo Chit Northern bus terminal to Mukdahan:

  • Non-air con buses leave throughout the day: around 350 THB, about 12 hours
  • VIP buses leave around 8 pm to Mukdahan: cost about 800 THB (confirm everything with bus terminal in Bangkok), about 12 hours

From Mukdahan, Thailand there is a bus service that runs about every hour across the border to Savannakhet, Laos.

Thai Visa Savannakhet

Thai Visa Savannakhet

The Thai Embassy in Savannakhet is actually just a Thai Consulate – General, and they give Visas!

How Much Time Does it Take to Get a Thai Visa in Savannakhet:

At the very least you will need 9 am Day 12 pm Day 2 (29 hours or so). Yes, you will need to spend the night in Savannakhet, Laos (see below).

Step 1

I arrived at the Thai consulate (day 1) at about 8:30 am. The consulate is located right in the center of town, with a Mekong River view. It’s possible to walk to the consulate from just about anywhere in town.

View Thai Consulate – Savannakhet, Laos in a larger map

Step 2

You can get a Thai visa application form right outside the gates of the consulate. There are a number of makeshift stalls that also take visa photos and offer photocopying services.

They charge 20,000 Kip for 9 passport photos and 2000 Kip for a single page photo copy (a bit expensive). The forms they supplied us were free. If you can pre-arrange your photos and your photocopy, you won’t need to worry about this!

This is what you need for your Thai visa:

  • Passport (usual valid for 6 months or more)
  • Visa application filled out
  • 2 Passport photos
  • 1 photocopy of main page of passport
  • Thai Baht, or USD
Thai Visa Savannakhet

Thai Visa Savannakhet

Step 3

The Thai consulate in Savannakhet opens the gates to applicants at 9:00 am (despite the sign saying 8:30 am). Nothing get’s going too early when you’re in Laos! You enter the gate and submit your visa application at the counter.

Step 4

The Thai visa costs 1000 THB for a 2 month visa and 2000 THB for a 2 month double entry visa. There is no options on the visa form to select double entry, so make sure to tell the clerk that you would like a double entry. He will examine your passport for a few seconds and then write double entry at the top. Note that you must ask him!

Step 5

You will be handed a small receipt with a number on it, and your visa will be ready the NEXT (day 2) business day at 2 pm.

NOTE: Be sure to look at the schedule of Thai and Laos holidays to avoid having to waste more time than you need to on a Thai visa run to Savannakhet.

Getting From Savannakhet to Mukdahan

Immediately after getting your Thai visa (Day 2), it’s possible to head straight to the Savannakhet bus station and catch the bus back to Mukdahan (if you are on a visa run from Thailand), or continue on you Laos travels. I walked to the bus station and it took about 20 minutes, so you can either walk or take a tuk tuk.

Here is the Savannakhet to Mukdahan bus terminal schedule:

Savannakhet to Mukdahan Bus Schedule

Savannakhet to Mukdahan Bus Schedule

Cheap guest houses in Savannakhet:

  • Leena Guest House: Nice location with 40,000 Kip double rooms
  • Phone Vilay Guest House: Decent guest house, about a 10 minute walk from city center with rooms ranging from 25,000 to 50,000 Kip per night.
Savannakhet, Laos

Savannakhet, Laos

It’s one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had in my entire life, and it’s located in Savannakhet, Laos. After turning in your passport on Day 1 of the visa process, head over to the main square of Savannakhet and the small breakfast restaurant is located right across the street from Phongsavanh Bank (biggest building in Savannakhet?).

Best Sandwich in the World

Best Sandwich in the World

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  1. David says

    Thanks man for all your great informations and advices.
    It’s clear and easily understanding!
    I live in Paksé for 2 years and never been in Savannakhet!But i need a visa to go in Thailand next month so it ‘ll be all right !

  2. shalyn says


    This post is great ! It’s short and sharp, and helpful.Thank you.

    I plan to have a same run, did you buy your return bus ticket (Mukdahan to Bangkok) at Mochit in advance? May i have your advise?

    Many thanks

    • says

      Hey Shalyn, thanks a lot for taking a look.
      The last time I went to Savannakhet, I actually crossed the border further south in from Ubon (Thailand) to Pakse (Laos), and then I went north from there to Savannakhet. I would recommend just going and not buying a return ticket. I would guess that there will be time to buy your return ticket later.
      Hope you have a great trip to Savannakhet,

  3. says

    Hi Mark

    One important question. If I enter with 2 weeks visa (visa on arrival) can I get 2 months visa In Laos?

    Best Regards and many thanks for your post!

    • says

      I’m not fully sure the answer to this question, but I think you can. You may want to ask on a forum though for more support as I only speak from my own personal experience on this article.

  4. says

    Your answer not help very much, sorry to say this…anyway, that means better make 2 months visa before enter Thailand for be sure, right? If someone did 2 moths visa in Laos after visa on arrival(15days)…will be nice to share it here with us.

  5. says

    Dear Mark,

    We are now offering a Thai Visa Run to Savannakhet, Lao PDR. Our packages start from 999 THB. We would like to invite you to try and comment on our service on your next visa run. For more information regarding our program and Thai visas in general, please take a look at our website at

    Thank you!

  6. says


    Thank you so much for this blog! I had a friend refer Savannakhet to me over going to Vientiane and I am so doing this form now on! I live in Southern Thailand and this was my first trip here. I did pretty much everything you said and had no problems. Also, there is a morning 2nd class bus that leaves Mo Chit at 0730. I reached Mukdahan around 6:30pm and hoped on the bus to cross the boarder around 7pm. Flawless! ALSO, I totally ate that sandwich this morning and you are right my friend, it was delicious!!! Im heading there in the morning to have a 2nd go at it! Thanks for sharing!


    • says

      Hey Hannah, awesome, thanks a lot for the update, and glad it’s still an easy process to get a visa in Savannakhet. That’s incredible you got the sandwich, it is one of my favorites in the world!

  7. Tony Mitchell says

    Hi Mark. I arrived in Savannakhet this morning after taking the bus from Mo Chit Bus Terminal in Bangkok to the Laos border at Mukdahan. It may be worth mentioning that in order to get into Laos a visa on arrival is necessary, which costs 1,300 baht and requires one passport photo. Did you do this when you came here?

  8. Tony Mitchell says

    I’d also like to recommend the Savanniramit Guest House in Savannakhet. It’s a short walk from the bus terminal in the direction of the Phongsavanh bank. The rooms are very clean and new with air-conditioning and hot shower, free WiFi, TV and a double bed with a ‘real’ hotel-quality mattress. The room I had was called a ‘Happy Room’ and cost only 500 baht per night.
    I also found a delightful Café that is ideal for relaxing and eating while waiting for the visa to be processed. It’s called Café Chai Dee ( and is run by a very nice Japanese man, Koichi-san. It’s also on the same street as the Phongsavanh bank.
    By the way, I ate 6 of those sandwiches while I was in Savannakhet!

    • says

      Hey Tony, awesome thanks a lot for sharing these extra tips. Will be sure to use them the next time I’m in Savannakhet. Wow, awesome, glad you found the sandwich spot!

  9. siobe says

    Hi. Im Siobe and im from philippines. my tourist visa is about to expire soon and i need to get new visa before it expires. My question is, is the double entry visa still available in savannakhet? And how much does it cost? I have been to Vientienne lots of time and I know that my visa application there is going to be denied and it get more strict in Vientienne every yearso I need to know another option in obtaining Thai double entry visa. Thank you.

  10. Rana says

    Hi David ,

    Thanks for the very informative post. I was wondering if this applies to all nationalities as I am an Indian..would the same 2 month rule apply?

  11. jo says

    im currently doin the visarun, so here are my 5 cents update for sep 2013:
    the two nightbusses leave from mo chit at 19.30 and 20.00. tickets are about 550, but there are a few seats with much more legspace for 850. i take one of those next time, because im tall.
    the thai office moved into a new bulding now just around the corner from the mekong street. easy to find: go to the mekong street, turn right and go around the curve at the end. or shout “thai visa” to everyone on the street and they point u there. :)
    there was a guy setting me up with the application and copies and everything for 20 B, i didn´t mind paying it. a guy in front of me got rejected, because his copies weren´t clean!!!
    the sandwich place is only open until 12.00, so it´s kind of a breakfast-restarant.
    the tall bank building is close to the thai consulat and its a (ugly?) yellow-grey building.
    Lord have mercy, the sandwich was awesome! and it took only a few minutes to prepare. tomorrow i eat two..been on the road now 6 weeks and had more than 20-25 different sandwiches, this sandwich is the no 1, a no brainer.
    The daughter of the couple running the place, who is here for student holiday, mentioned, that other western customers read about the place on the net. i gave her your website address. maybe u get commission next time.
    i stay at leena and pay 200 baht for my fan room. i paid in baht all the time so far and it´s ok, was too lazy to change the money to kip. but i recommend to get the 30 dollar for visa, because paying your visa in baht is more expensive (1300 Baht).

  12. Bear says

    Hello, Mark Wiens. My name is bear. I’m a daughter of the owner breakfast restaurant that you took that sandwich.
    The first time I don’t know but today Mr. Jo tell me.
    I’m very thankful that you show our sandwich, I have just shown my parents.
    They’re so happy and smile. They said that if you come here again, they will give you a free sandwich. ^^

  13. arlene says

    Hello mark,

    Thank you very much, your blog is very helpful.just arrived in Bkk and i got 2 entry tourist visa. The Thai consulate in Suvannaket is not strict, i submit my application and i asked if i can have 2 entry tourist visa and just asked for 2,000 baht and take my application without any question.
    I would highly recommend JOLI Guest house, my friend and i stayed there,the place is nice and clean.The owner is very friendly and accommodating. They have price range is 400-500 baht. free wifi, water, coffee and tea, as well as breakfast(egg and bread).
    Too bad i wasn’t able to taste that sandwich, but ill make sure to visit that place on my next time..

  14. Michael says

    Hey Mark & future travelers,

    You offer great advice and directions in getting a Thai visa in Savannakhet. I am following your directions to the letter. This is saving me time and money. Only now the VIP bus ticket from Bangkok to Mukdahan is 1,050 Baht. Better than flying because the airline schedules conflict with the Thai Consulate’s schedule and it’s cheaper. If you fly you could end up staying another night which may be OK for some people. This is because the flight leaves the Phanom Nakhon airport at 17:00 and makes it nearly impossible to get to the airport on time after you pick up your visa at the Savannakhet Thai Consulete at 14:00. Thanks again best wishes and good luck.

  15. Lyn2 says

    Halu, are we still allowed to get a single entry or double entry at savanakhet because cambodia visa run nowadays were already strick…?

  16. roy says

    Hi Mark, just surfing the net to find a hotel in Vientiane to stay for a visa run then came across with your blog… Man!…. i’m going to Savannakhet not because the Consulate there is not strict on visa stamps but….. because of that SANDWICH! let you know soon . cheers! :-)

      • says

        Hi Mark, been there 2 times now since i made that 1st comment.. now the Consulate is in their new address and much nearer to the friendship bridge.. You are right that damn sandwich is awesome and yummy! 5555+ .. how i wish i can post some of our photos here, anyhow, i used my own car going to Mukdahan the 1st time i went there and had to leave the car at the border and it’s good there is a pay parking beside the immigration office. t’was a surprised the staff there in Savanakhet informed me to comeback at 3pm to collect my visa. i regret using my car coz i can’t drive back to Rayong for i am so sleepy and tired. by the way i traveled Rayong to Mukdahan night trip and it took me 14hrs to reached Mukdahan… so, as i read here before in some comments about Leena guest house and i stayed there for a night.. cheap and very confortable place.. i took a bus the 2nd time i went there just 2 weeks ago and i never had a chance to taste again that mystery sandwich coz i had to catch my bus in mukdahan going back to Rayong that same day.. Thank you so much Mark for this blog t’was really a great help.. Cheers! :-)

        • says

          Hey Roy, very cool to hear from you, and so glad that you found the sandwich place and love it too. Good to hear that place is still doing well after so many years. Thank you for sharing all your useful tips as well.

  17. says

    Hey Mark,

    Thanks for the visa info. Do you know if you can get a double entry Thai visa processed from Pakse. I’m just trying to work out if I can avoid the extra travel. Is there a travel agency there? Google aint showing me much.

  18. Rakhal says

    Hey Mark,
    We just had the sandwich…..WOW!!! First of all I should update the visa information. As of September 8th 2014 the Thai consulate has moved out of town on the main road past the bus station. We are staying at Souannavong Guest House where we rented a Honda Wave motorbike for 80,000 kip. As you drive out of town go past the bus station and after another km or so you will see the consulate on the left. There are many stands set up to make copies, exchange money, take photos, and even fill out your paperwork for you. We went to a lady across the street from the consulate who was nice and spoke English, she made copies of our passports and filled out our paperwork and attached our photos for 60 baht a person. If you need photos it’s 60 baht extra. We walked across the street and were the first people in line at 8:30am. By 9am when they opened the gate there was quite a line and only one window to help you, we were very glad we went early. We payed 2,000 baht each ( they will not take Lao kip) for double entry tourist visas (single entry is 1,000 baht) and they told us to come back the same day at 3:30pm to pick them up. Apparently you no longer have to stay over night.
    We had trouble finding the sandwich and almost gave up (do NOT give up!!!), our mistake was thinking “the main square of Savannakhet” was the square in the old town by the catholic church. The easy way to find it is to google “Phongsavanh bank Savannakhet” and it will come up on google maps. The restaurant is across the street from the bank and a little to the left. We ordered 2 sandwiches and a Vietnamese coffee. The baguette is on the side of a sizzling metal pan with sliced beef, onions, green onions, garlic, a big meatball, and two fried eggs. I stuffed all the ingredients in the baguette and added a bit of black pepper, it was AMAZING!!!!! Even if you are not getting a Thai visa and are traveling through Laos it is worth staying a night in Savannakhet just to have this sandwich. Thank you so much Mark for posting about this!!

    • says

      Hey Rakhal, sorry for the late reply, but thank you very much for taking the time to write this. Wow, so cool that you were able to find this sandwich spot, and glad that you enjoyed it as well. Thanks for these valuable tips about getting a visa as well. Hope you’re doing well.

  19. Dan Fraley says

    Leaving the 5th of Jan 2015 from Ubon to Savannakhet for a 60 day double entry visa. Has anything changed there? Appreciate any info. Thanks in advance.

        • DAN FRALEY says

          We were there when the Thai Consulate opened at 0900 AM. Consulate has moved, as you drive out of town go past the bus station and after another km or so you will see the consulate on the left. There are many stands set up to make copies, exchange money, take photos, and even fill out your paperwork for you. Do not enter the Consulate and search for the Visa application-There are none and do not ask. I saw an Expat and his wife argue with one of the Consulate employees and was shown the door to outside. We had our paperwork filled outside for 60 baht. Seems like maybe (Just Saying) The consulate wants it this way for $$$$$$. We went to a lady across the street from the consulate who was nice and spoke English, she made copies of our passports and filled out our paperwork and attached our photos for 60 baht a person. If you need photos it’s 60 baht extra. By 9am when they opened the gate there was quite a long line and only one window to help you, we were very glad we went early. We paid 2,000 baht each ( they will not take Lao kip) for double entry tourist visas (single entry is 1,000 baht) and they told us to come back the same day at 3:30pm to pick them up. Apparently you no longer have to stay over night. We went ahead and booked a hotel and will spend the night. “Happy Travels”

          • bobby says

            I was there at the Thai consulate today and visa application forms are available in a little pink metal basket next to the office window. You do not need to pay the woman across the road 20 baht for a form that clearly says at the bottom that it is not to be sold.

          • Dan Fraley says

            “HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR 2015-THAILAND/Gong Xi Fa Cai & Xin Nian Kuay Le.”
            I am going to try and get my Non-O multi (1-year) visa next trip. Thanks for all you do Mark. More later.
            Best Regards,

  20. Villa Pete says

    In Lao today getting visa. Went and got the streak sandwich afterwards. Very, very good. Will be going for another tomorrow! Thank you for the recommendation.


  21. Thorsten says

    Thank you Mark and all updaters for the information, I will be doing my sandwich-run in 2 days (and pick up a double entry on the occasion).

  22. Jessica Haines says


    Thanks for the informative post.

    Know any cross streets or extra help for finding GH PhoneValay? I struck out on that one last time I was in Savanaket and I prefer to find another Budget options besides Leena’s if available.




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