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Visa Run To Lao + Vang Vieng Trip

Taking a Visa run doesn’t have to be a boring journey, you can make it an enjoyable one if you add extras to your trip, that’s what I did and I had a blast of a time in Lao.  I visited Vientiane and Vang Vieng.

 

Visa Run To Lao + Vang Vieng Trip

 

After collecting my Thai education Visa documents I exchanged Thai Baht to US dollars.  I went to Vasu Exchange next to Nana BTS as this has the best exchange rate in Bangkok for me.  I  exchanged $36 for 1’265 Baht, the Thai Baht has weakened against the US dollar, before I could get $36 for around 1’000 Baht so the fact of this just made things a bit more expensive.  Next was to get photos, I found a shop not far from Vasu Exchange.

 

Lao Embassy

The Lao Embassy is located in Hua Kwang district of Bangkok, the best way to get the is take the MRT to Thailand Cultural Center station and take a taxi.  Tell them Lao Embassy and they should be able to take you right there.

There are two huge gates on the main road, however the entrance gate is on the right side.

Once inside, go up the steps into the building and get a form from the Visa Section window, fill in the form, if you don’t have a pen the security guard sitting by the door will borrow his to you.  After filling in the form, go to the window and give the form, your passport, one photo, a copy of your passport ID page and money.  I gave $35 + 200 Baht express service fee.

Lao Embassy, Bangkok

 

I gave in my application at 10:30 am, the staff member will give you a receipt, it is important you keep this receipt.  After completing your application you can either wait in the embassy or go relax in a café.  There is a Thai restaurant serving Thai steaks and spaghetti next door which you can relax in or you can take a taxi to Esplande Shopping Mall which is only 8 km away.

Thai Steak House, Bangkok

I collected my Lao Visa at 2pm

 

Travelling to Lao

After taking the bus to Lao many times I wanted to get there faster and with flights so cheap I decided to book myself a flight ticket.  Normally a bus ticket from Mo Chit bus station, Bangkok to Nong Khai which is 700 Baht, however I booked a plane ticket from Don Muang, Bangkok to Udon Thani for 725 Baht with Thai Lion Air.  Thai Airlines are always having promotions so it is well worth checking out all of the airlines to see which one offers the best deal.  The journey from Bangkok to Nong Khai can take 11 hours by bus however when you fly it takes 1 hour.

My flight left Bangkok at 6:20 am, it felt really quick!  It was literally up and then down! I arrived in Udon Thani at 7:25 am.

Thai Lion Air, Thailand

 

Arriving in Udon Thani I walked straight out of the terminal and towards the exit, to the right of the exit there is a booth which is selling tickets to Nong Khai, I brought my ticket for 200 Baht and got in the Van.

The trip took around 1 hour and the van took us right to the Thai boarder which was convenient.

 

Boarder

Everything went smoothly, the Immigration officer looked at my passport, checked everything, stamped my passport and I exited Thailand.

There was a bus going from Thai side immigration to the Lao Immigration for 15 Baht, this is to the right after you have exited the Immigration area

Thai to Lao boarder Bus

 

I already had the  visa so I didn’t need to apply at the boarder.

After stamping into Lao I was hounded by Taxi and Tuk Tuk drivers offering me a ride to Vientiane center, the first price was 300 Baht, while walking the price went down to 200 baht.

Walk straight past them and you will see a green bus with a Japanese flag on it.  This bus costs 40 Baht to Vientiane bus station.

Bus from Lao boarder to Vientiane

 

When you arrive at the bus station walk towards the motorbike taxi drivers, the Tuk Tuks will try to over charge you however the motorbike taxi drivers will charge you 50 Baht / 10’000 Kip to the Thai Embassy.

 

Thai Embassy

When arriving at the Thai embassy you will be approached by people offering you a service to fill in all the details of your Visa application, you don’t need to use them, just walk past and do the application yourself.

All things you need for your visa application are inside the embassy, Photocopying and picture taking.  Inside the embassy there is Wifi available for 40 baht / 10’000 Kip.

After finishing the application you will be approached by Tuk Tuk and Taxi drivers offering you their service to the Center of Vientiane, they will try to charge you 200 Baht, however you can get a Tuk Tuk if you walk a little for 60 baht.

 

Accommodation – Funky Monkey

I walked around Vientiane for a while and I finally found Funky Monkey hostel, the hostel was mainly for backpackers but they also had single rooms.  The single room cost 650 Baht for the night.  The hostel was full of people sitting down talking and playing pool in the lobby area, there was also chairs and tables outside with people chatting away as well.

Funky Monkey Hostel, Vientiane

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Market

In the evening there is a big market beside the main road, the market is selling many different items ranging from, nick nacks, dancing toys, clothing, traditional Lao clothing, hand made items, bag, pictures, sun glasses, belts, and much more….  It is a place where you can go and find something you are not expecting.

Night Market, Vientiane, Lao Night Market, Vientiane, Lao Night Market, Vientiane, Lao

 

Collection My Passport & Visa

When you apply for your visa you are given a ticket number this will apply also when collecting your passport, my number was 141, so arriving at 1:30pm was not a good idea, it took a good hour for my number to be called out.  If you are 70 it will be around a 30 minute wait, if your 100 you will be around 45 minutes, 130 took one hour.  The only reason I can see for the slow times in collection is the number of staff hired at the embassy.

 

Travel To Vang Vieng

Travelling To The Bus Station

I had previously agreed with a motorbike taxi a fee of 200 Baht for him to wait and take me to the northern bus station.

Mototbike Taxi ride to Vientiane Bus Station

Vientiane Northern Bus Station

Arriving at the bus station the motorbike taxi driver showed me the way to the right van.  The ticket was 50’000 Kip for a van ride from Vientiane to Vang Vieng.  They will not accept Thai Baht.

The van left when the van was full so this was a good 90 minute wait.  I got myself some food from a small restaurant in the corner of the bus station which cost 15’000 Kip.  And I have to say the soup was one of the best i had ever tasted!!

Meal At Vientiane Bus Station

 

Ride To Vang Vieng

I met two backpackers from Canada who were travelling to Vang Vieng.  On the journey to Vang Vieng they told me about their travels around South East Asia and places they had visited.

The ride to Vang Vieng was far from smooth, the road was full of holes making the trip a bumpy ride.  The music played was Thai music.  The journey took around three and a half hours.  Before the sun went down I got to take in the Lao scenery which consisted of small towns and rice fields.

 

On arrival in Vang Vieng the van dropped us on a main road which made vang Vieng look like a small town with not much in it.  Luckily the Canadian backpackers had an app called City Maps to Go  which showed the local hotels even if your phone doesn’t have an internet connection the map will work with your GPS.  We went to Easy Go Hostel.

 

Easy Go Hostel

Easy go hostel is part of a chain of hostels throughout South East Asia.

Easy Go hostel is a very social place where you can make friend quickly, people are really friendly and easy to get along with.  If you’re travelling alone you will make new friends who you can hang out with and go on trips together in the local area.

I stayed in the dorm room, sharing with two people, the beds were comfortable.  Towards the back there is a social area with two big bamboo couches which can fit about 8 people per one and two bamboo seats on the balcony.  This area is great for chatting with everyone or just to relax and chill.

The cost was 29’000 Kip a night and I stayed for 4 nights which came to a total of 116’000 Kip

Easy Go hostel, Vang vieng

Easy Go hostel, Vang vieng

Easy Go hostel, Vang vieng Easy Go hostel, Vang vieng

Eating

The hostel is located very close to many café’s which are only a walk away, you will find many restaurants selling sandwiches, there’s also a variety of Lao food restaurants.  All of the food tastes great and cheap prices.

Sandwich Vang Vieng

 

Activities

There are several things to Canoeing, Tubing, Blue Lagoon, Caves.  I only got to try a few of these things.

 

Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is located 9km from Vang Vieng, it is best to take a tuk tuk with a few people.  After some bartering our group got the price down to 100’000 Kip.  The journey there takes around 30 minutes, there is one bridge where you have to pay 15’000 Kip to cross per vehicle.  The entrance to the Blue Lagoon is 10’000 Kip per person.  Once parked the driver gives you 2 hours before returning home.

Travelling to Blue Lagoon, Vang vieng, Lao

 

The Blue Lagoon is called the Blue Lagoon as there is a lagoon which flows through the area, the water is very cold.  The Blue Lagoon area has a rope swing, and a tree to jump off into the water, I would suggest just jumping in as it is the best way to get into the water.

Blue Lagoon, Vang vieng, Lao

 

Swing into the Blue Lagoon

 

Caves

There are many caves around Viang Vieng, the ones I went to visit were Laeo Cave and the Tham Poukham cave.

 

Laeo Cave

Laeo Cave is accessed by travelling through rice fields and a jungle, for this it is best to rent a bicycle.  Bicycle rental is 15’000 Kip till 8pm.

PHOTO_20160325_145524

 

Laeo Cave is a long cave and I would recommend either taking a torch with you, using your phone light or rent a head lamp because as you walk further into the cave it becomes pitch black and you won’t be able to see anything.

Jungle, Vang Vieng
PHOTO_20160325_135629

 

Tham Poukham cave

Tham Poukham cave at Blue Lagoon is a big open cave which a torch is not needed as there is a lot of light let into the cave.  Be careful in this cave as there are some very high drops!  Inside the cave there are many obstacles to climb up, crawl through and duck under.  This cave was a lot of fun.

Steps To Tham Poukham cave, Lao

Tham Poukham cave, Lao

 

 

Tubing

Tubing is a blast, you float down the river on a tube which is very relaxing and fun as you have many of your new found friends travelling down the river with you.  You are not suppose to bring your own alcohol but people do it anyway, the bars along the river do not allow you to bring in your alcohol inside but you can drink an opened bottle or can at the side.

There are two bars along the river, each having its own activities to do once you are there.  The first bar has two tables to play beer pong, and plays musical tubes, which is the same as musical chairs but played with the tubes.

The second bar has the same rule of no alcohol but they allowed me to bring in my opened can of beer but I had to leave the rest outside.  The game was water balloon toss where you sat on the floor in a big circle and threw water balloons to someone across from you.

Both bars there was music and was generally a good time to have a lot of fun and dancing!!

The last stop was where you were picked up by the tubing company.

 

 

Travelling Back To Vientiane

The trip back to Vientiane is three and a half hour journey with a lot of bumps, most of the hostels and shops will be selling a ticket to Vientiane so you don’t have to worry about not finding a place to buy a ticket.  Tickets will cost between 40’000 – 50’000 Kip.

 

Staying In Vientiane

I was feeling sick so I stayed in Vientiane for one night at the Mixok Hotel for 120’000 Kip for the night.

The room was small however it had everything I needed, a bed, air con, TV and a bath room.

 

Vientiane To Udon Thani

The cheapest and easiest way to get back to Thailand is from the Vientiane Southern bus station.  Tuk Tuk drivers in Vientiane city will offer to take you to the boarder but the price will be expensive for the journey and once arrived at the boarder you will have 20 Baht bus ticket to get to the Thai boarder and then more Tuk Tuk drivers in Thailand will sell you tickets to Nong Khai bus station.

You are best buying a ticket from Vientiane to Udon Thani.  The bus will stop at the boarder so you can stamp out of Lao, then jump back on, it will take you between the boarders, wait for you again while you stamp into Thailand and then will take you onto Udon Thani.

I left Vientiane around 12 noon, there were no queues at either boarder which made things very quick.

Vientiane Bus Station Vientiane Bus Station

 

Udon Thani To Bangkok

in Udon Thani the bus will stop in the main area for all buses which is quite a small.  Depending on the time you arrive will mean which bus you can take.  I arrived too late for the morning bus to Bangkok so I first took the bus to Nakhon Ratchisma for 220 Baht.

Once in Nakhon Ratchisma I bought a bus ticket to Bangkok for 190 Baht.  Buses left every hour from Nakhon Ratchisma.

The journey to Bangkok will take around 4-5 hours.  When you arrive in Bangkok you will be hassled by unlicenced taxi drivers, just walk past them as there is a metered taxi stand which will give you a fair price for your journey.  The motorbike taxi drivers are also reliable, but agree a price before hand.
Warm Regards

 

Michael

 

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  • 01/04/2016
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