Having last minute thoughts on exploring more of Thailand? Looking for ways to extend your stay? Why not get a Thailand tourist visa in Vientiane, Laos?
The Philippines is visa-free to Thailand for 30 days via the airport and 15 days via the land border. After that, we either go to another country or get a visa to extend our stay.
Why not do both?
We asked our expat host on how do they usually extend their duration in Thailand. She said that travelers and expats go all the way to Vientiane, Laos to get visas because it is easier to get a visa there than in Thailand. Most of the travelers stay for 2 days only, 1 day for processing and another day for pickup. After getting their passports, they immediately go to the bus terminal and head back to Thailand.
Our host told us that the busiest days to process the application is Monday & Tuesday. If you’re not in a hurry, it’s better to process your application on Friday because there are fewer travelers applying for a visa.
Thai Consulate in Vientiane has a 1 working day turnover for most visa applicants.
If you apply by Monday morning, you’ll get your passport by Tuesday in the afternoon. If you apply by Friday, you’ll get your passport by Monday. Some citizens might take days or weeks to process their application or some needs to fly back to their home country and apply there.
The morning schedule (8:30 to 11:30 am) is for visa processing while the afternoon schedule (1:30 to 3:30 pm) is for pickups. So please, come early especially if you’ll process your visa on the busiest days. I heard that the line for the visa is crazy. There is a long queue already as early as 8 am.
Now, the question is how do a person or group travel to Vientiane, Laos from Bangkok, Thailand?
There are 3 ways to go to Laos:
- Fly from Thailand to Laos.
- Hop on a sleeper train going to Nong Khai and then ride a bus going to Vientiane.
- Ride a bus directly going to Vientiane.
Clare and I have decided to leave Thailand on Thursday night. We went to Mo Chit Bus Terminal before 8 pm and bought a ticket with food stub on it for 1000 baht (USD 32/PHP 1,630). We took the bus because it was the cheapest option for us.
The bus ride going to Vientiane is approximately 11 hours. You have a 1 stop-over for claiming the free meal, buying necessities and toilet break.
11 hours of traveling by land sounds dreadful but since it is a decent sleeper bus, the chairs can be reclined and if it’s too cold, you can use their blankets to warm up.
We traveled by Thursday night from Bangkok and arrived by 5 am at the Thai-Laos border in Nong Khai.
After crossing the border, we traveled for another 2 hours to get to the city center. We decided to bring our backpacks with us and go directly to the Thai Consulate because the check-in time in the hostel was around 2 pm.
Thai Consulate is not registered in Google Maps. DO NOT go to the Thai Embassy because they only process visa applications of Lao P.D.R. residents. Thai Consulate is beside Lao Singapore College. Since you’ll be taking a tuk-tuk or a taxi going to the consular affairs, tell to the driver first to take you to there. If they don’t get it, just tell them “Thai visa”. Most would understand it but unfortunately, they’ll raise the price also. Taxis should run on a meter but when you’re a foreigner, most would bargain for a specific price. Don’t ride unless the two of you reached an agreement for the fee.
Before entering the establishment, you might encounter people selling application forms. Don’t buy from them, turn them down. Application forms are free inside the consulate or you can print it.
Inside the premises, head to the covered area on your right side. You’ll see a table manned by two women (or maybe men also) with baskets on each side containing forms. Ask for the application form and they’ll give it to you for free. You can also borrow scissors (to cut out bigger ID pictures), glue and pens to them. It’s still better to bring your own pen because most of the pens you can borrow from them has little to no ink at all. Also, you can avail photocopy, ID picture taking, and wi-fi services inside the consulate building.
There is a part of the application that asks for your guarantor’s name and number. If you have Thai friends, ask for their details. If not, try to ask a local from your hostel to be your guarantor and ask for their details. You also need to write down the name (either a hostel or a local) and the number of your proposed address in Thailand.
After passing the filled up form to the ladies, they’ll give you a number slip that corresponds to your passport. That piece of paper is important because it is easier for them to find your passport when you pick it up. You also need to bring that slip to the cashier inside the consulate building. After paying your visa fee, you’re good to go!
We came back to the consulate by Monday afternoon with our number slip and receipt. We rented a motorbike that time so I paid a 10,000 kip / USD 1 parking fee because we thought there would be a queue inside. I was so wrong. It was empty when we got inside the premises. We went directly to the window on the right side of the covered area, gave our slips and receipt and got out of the consular affairs in less than 5 minutes with our single entry 60-day tourist visa!
We didn’t only have an easy experience with visa processing, but we also had days to explore the city while waiting for our passports!
THAI VISA BREAKDOWN
- 2 passport size ID pictures (or you can bring your 2×2 photos and just cut it out)
- 1 Photocopy of Passport
- 1 Photocopy of Thai Visa/Stamp
- 1 Photocopy of Lao Visa/Stamp
- Visa Fee
Visa Options: Single Entry (Pay in THB/Baht)
- 30-Day Transit Visa (THB 800/USD 25/PHP 1,300)
- 60-Day Tourist Visa (THB 1,000/USD 32/PHP 1,625)
- Double Entry Tourist Visa, 60 days per entry (THB 2,000/USD 64/PHP 3,245)
What are you waiting for?
Go ahead. Pack your bags. Book your tickets. And do cross-country hopping around South East Asia!