A number of days in the past, I made my first visa run to Laos, by bus.
Usually I'm going to Singapore to get a 60-day vacationer visa, however the final time I went, they refused to offer me a 60-day visa as a result of I've an open e-ticket again to Canada. They now need a confirmed ticket, and won't settle for an open ticket. That is silly, if you happen to ask me. I instructed the girl on the entrance desk that if the violence in Bangkok will get unhealthy, I can cellphone Air Canada and be on my means subsequent day, so an open ticket is a lot better than a ticket for a specific date. No cube. So I needed to fly again to Bangkok and obtained the same old 30-day entry on the airport. The complete journey value me 18,000 baht, counting motels, flights, meals, taxis, and so on. What a waste.
I did a few visa runs by bus to Cambodia, and discover ache within the bum, because you solely get 14 days after which should do it once more, and it prices 2000 baht every time.
So this time, I signed up for the bus to Vientiane.
I have to say that the service by the visa run firm was wonderful; the bus (a 40-seater) was full, and it was the identical snug bus they use for the Cambodia runs, with the identical driver. The motive force is comparatively conservative, appears to be aware of the very fact he's obtained 40 farangs on board, and is as cautious a driver as you'll need.
The bus left PB Tower on Sukhumvit Soi 71 precisely at eight:30 PM.
There was a pee break about an hour later at a service middle, after which one other 2 hours later, and so forth, by way of the night time. These cave the motive force an opportunity to calm down a bit, which I assumed was a good suggestion.
Sadly, I've by no means been capable of sleep on a bus or airplane, and this journey was no exception. Whereas my seat mate fortunately snored away the night time, I sat there bleary eyed, shifting in my seat periodically as my bum obtained sore. I appreciated the remainder breaks as properly.
A DVD film was performed at first of the journey, however after it completed, it was after 11PM, so no extra motion pictures had been proven.
We arrived on the border early, earlier than 6:30. I watched the solar come up. We needed to sit round for some time till the border workplace opened, after which one of many bus firm girls obtained all our passports processed. She had beforehand collected them on the bus.
After being stamped out of Thailand, we took three mini-buses (vans) throughout the bridge (Mekong River) into Laos, the place once more we waited whereas the girl obtained our passports processed by Lao immigration. In lower than an hour, we took the mini-buses into Vientiane, and arrived on the avenue for the Thai Embassy about 7:30 or 7:40 AM. There have been already at the very least 200 folks lined up alongside the sidewalk, and it was scorching.
The embassy gates opened about eight:15 AM, and all of us filed into the embassy compound. There was a ticket machine on the entrance, and we joined the queue.
Nonetheless, our erstwhile visa run girl ushered us up the steps into an air-conditioned space and handed out low-numbered tickets from the machine. Our numbers began round 95, whereas the folks on the ticket machine had been getting tickets numbered over 350. So I presume she had some contact in Vientiane who stood at the start of the road on the gates at an early hour, after which handed the tickets to her when she arrived an hour or extra later.
The ticket numbers had been known as out over the general public tackle system in each Thai and English, and repeated as soon as: "Ticket quantity 37, please proceed to counter 2".
I quickly seen that there was no pause within the quantity callout, the bulletins got here continuous, and shortly reached the 80s. All of us rushed right down to the counters and had been there when our numbers got here up. However the numbers simply stored on rolling by. Our girl collected our passports and tickets, and lined all of them up alongside the counter, after which instructed us to go wait within the different constructing.
Over there, we discovered there have been 4 extra counters, numbered three by way of 6, however just one, counter four, was energetic, and there have been at the very least 100 folks ready, sitting on chairs. This ready room was additionally air conditioned.
Once more, the numbers had been known as out, however this time there have been huge gaps between, and there was a considerable pause after every quantity was known as. When a quantity was known as, an individual went as much as counter four, acquired a paper receipt, after which exited stage left.
After each batch of 10 or 12 numbers, there was a 5 or 6 minute delay. That was once I seen that the Thai girl behind the counter was printing out after which separating the receipts. Clearly, the passports and purposes had been being processed within the different constructing, entered into a pc, after which the receipt was printed on this constructing at counter four.
After about 30 or 40 minutes, my quantity was known as; I went as much as the counter, obtained my receipt and exited. The man subsequent to me had a decrease quantity, however his quantity was not known as, so he obtained somewhat upset and went as much as the counter, the place the girl instructed him to attend.
I went out the exit, and there was my visa run girl amassing the receipts, after which ushering us over to one of many vans. My receipt had proven "60 days double entry vacationer visa" and "price: $ zero", so I used to be joyful.
The van took us to a neighborhood restaurant the place we had a Thai / Lao meals breakfast or brunch of fried rice and no matter. This was free, paid for by the visa run firm, however comfortable drinks had been 20 baht additional.
In Laos, you should use Lao kip, Thai baht, and US interchangeably. For those who pay in Thai baht, you get change in Thai baht. For those who pay in US , you get change in Lao kip, which, like Cambodian forex, has very excessive denominations and no worth. A Pepsi was 20 baht, which was affordable, however no weight loss program drinks had been accessible. By the best way, ATM machines in Laos solely dispense Lao kip.
After brunch, we had been taken by van to the lodge, which turned out to be enough acceptable, perhaps 2.5 stars. There was no pool, only a room, nevertheless it was an enormous room, personal bathroom, and cable or satellite tv for pc TV with many Thai, a couple of Lao, and a few film channels, together with HBO and Star Motion pictures.
The bathroom was typical Thai-style, with no shower stall or bath, and a shower head on the wall. There was a flash water heater which labored, and the bathroom labored. The towels had been giant, pink, fluffy, and clearly new.
I had paid an additional 200 baht on the entrance desk for a non-public room. The visa run price of 5000 baht features a shared room (2 per room). The price will enhance to 6000 baht after the free vacationer visa promotion ends June 5.
In mattress by 1PM within the afternoon, I slept for a number of hours, obtained up, confirmed, watched a film, then went out searching for dinner. I walked up and down the primary avenue close to the lodge, however there was nothing interesting. Nonetheless, the workplace complicated 20 meters from the lodge had a restaurant, so I went in there and located 5 different farangs from the visa run additionally there. The meals was good, the costs weren't costly, and I used to be capable of pay with Thai baht. The younger girl behind the bar was in all probability probably the most stunning lady I've ever laid eyes on, and I've been to Thailand on and off for 20 years. She made me want I used to be 25 once more.
Subsequent day, I had breakfast on the identical restaurant, after which round 1PM, we piled into the vans once more and had been taken to the border. There are a whole lot of "obligation free" outlets on the border. We waited about 45 minutes or so, after which the visa run girl confirmed up, and all of us went by way of Immigration with the Lao border folks simply us, not asking to see our passports, which the visa run girl had.
Again throughout the bridge to Thailand, the place we waited one other 45 minutes or so, then it was again on the bus for the return journey. Inside an hour, we stopped at a restaurant, the place we had one other Thai meal, once more free, comfortable drinks additional, 20 baht.
The return journey appeared a lot quicker, as a number of DVD motion pictures had been performed, which occupied the time and the thoughts.
We arrived again in Bangkok at 1:30 AM. You may get knocked off wherever alongside the route; some exited at Ramkhamhaeng. I waited till the top, which is simply beside Ekamai BTS station, the place I shortly found that the BTS was closed. An 80 baht taxi experience later, I used to be dwelling once more.
Would I do it once more? Undoubtedly, sure. The entire course of was just about computerized. The corporate took care of all the pieces. You do should ebook a seat upfront, although. One farang apparently known as to search out out the value and time, confirmed up and was offended that there was no seat for him. However he had not made a reservation, had not left his title or cellphone quantity, so was out of luck. In fact, he had left it till the final day of his visa, so he must go away the following day someway and pay the 500 baht overstay price.
To summarize: you allow at eight:30 PM, spend an evening on the bus. Then it's half a day ready round, with brunch included. Verify into the lodge, sleep a bit or, when you have the stamina, discover Vientiane. Not a lot there, although. Have dinner, sleep one night time on the lodge. Subsequent day, wait round for a morning or go to Vientiane, then bus it again to Bangkok, arriving about 1:30 AM.
If you wish to do that your self, the corporate I used was "Fast Thai Visa Run", sixth ground, PB Tower, Sukhumvit Soi 71. The contact is Phillip, who speaks good English, at 02-713-2498 (workplace hours) Egypt 09-0245-255 (24 hours). They've a site at ThaiVisaRun.com, nevertheless it has not been up to date shortly, and solely mentions their Cambodia run, not the Laos run.