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Traveling entrepreneur since 2005.

July 4, 2010

Thai visa run to Savannakhet, Laos

Visa run to Savannakhet

I just come back from a quick 1 night stay in Savannakhet, Laos to renew my Thai visa. As I’m currently located in Mukdahan where the Friendship bridge is located, it was just a 2 hour commute for me (Sweeeet!). Here is my mini “Visa run to Savannakhet” guide for those that are coming from Bangkok:

Getting to Mukdahan

Air Asia and Nok Air currently fly into Ubon Ratchathani, the nearest airport to Mukdahan, and takes just 55 minutes from Bangkok. Alternatively, you could get a train direct to Ubon, or get a bus direct to Mukdahan from Morchit bus station in Bangkok.

Once you have got your dates fixed, call the Ploy Palace Hotel in Mukdahan (042 631 111) and get their VIP transit mini van to Mukdahan. It costs ฿350 and takes 2 to 3 hours. Alternatively, you could get the local bus which costs around 100b I think, however it takes at least 4 hours.

Staying in Mukdahan

Having stayed in 5 or 6 hotels in Mukdahan, I think the Rabiangmuk hotel has the best rooms. The hotel is newly built, oozes quality and at ฿550 per night, the rooms are big and the internet is fast.

For things to do in Mukdahan, the night market is worth a look, and is only 10 minutes walk from the Rabiangmuk hotel. The Good Mook restaurant is my fav for great Thai food, and the Pool Bar located by the Esso garage is a cool place to have a beer where you can check out the great band who play every night of the week. A walk along the Indochine Market by the Mekong River is also a pleasant way to kill an hour or so.

Getting to the Friendship 2 Bridge and into Laos

Visa run to Savannakhet

The Friendship 2 bridge connecting Mukdhan with Savannakhet.

If you don’t speak Thai and have problems organising a tuk-tuk to pick you up in the morning, I’d ask the hotel staff to organise this for you. The fee should be around 100b, maybe a little more. An 8am pick up should work well.

When you arrive at the Friendship bridge, you’ll need to buy a bus ticket from the little office outside immigration (50b), get stamped through get the bus across the Friendship bridge into Laos. The bus can become very over crowded, but luckily only takes 5 minutes.

Rates for Laos Visas differ depending on your nationality. For a British national, the fee was equivalent to 1,500b (you can pay both in Thai baht and US dollars). You’ll need to attache 1 passport sized photo to your application.

After paying the stamp fee (40b), which some say you don’t need to pay, you’ll get bombarded with tuk tuk drivers and taxi drivers keen to take you to the Thai Embassy. The fee for a tuk tuk for a local or Thai is 60b, although you may end up paying around 100b

Thai Embassy in Savannakhet

Visa run to Savannakhet

The queues at the Thai Embassy in Savannakhet

When you arrive at the Thai Embassy in Savannakhet, you’ll need to buy, yes buy, the visa application form from the shop opposite the Embassy. They also offer you glue to attache 2 passport sized photos.

On my recent trip, the queues to submit my visa was around 50 people long, and took around 30 minutes to hand in my application and passport for 2pm pickup the next day. The visa fee right now is free, although you could check before you go.

Staying in Savannakhet

Visa run to Savannakhet

Excellent coffee at the Chez De Bourne

Time for breakfast! Hands down, the Chez De Bourne restaurant located on the same road as the Thai Embassy in Savannakhet offers not only the best Coffee in town (as seen in the picture above), but also superb food.

Visa run to Savannakhet

Beautiful architecture in and around Savannakhet

Visa run to Savannakhet

I love how shutter doors add a real rustic appearance to buildings. Stunning!

Visa run to Savannakhet

You have to wait 30 minutes for the lasagna at the Chez De Bourne, but so worth it!

I then went and looked for a hotel for the night, and ended up staying at the Savanbanhao Hotel, which at 250b for the night with aircon, with extremely friendly locals (the staff took me out to Oscars night club), was a good choice.

Getting back to Mukdahan

At 2pm you’ll need to head back to the Thai Embassy to collect your visa at 2pm, then get a tuk tuk back to the Friendship bridge (80b this time around). The fee for the bus is 50b, but takes you all the way to Mukdahan bus station.

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  1. Sweet Laos Visa Run Guide. I should use this guide for my next visit to Laos.

    Thanks Chris.

    • Sweet! Let me know when your in the area!

  2. Ernst

    Thanks for this report.

    I have to get a new visa beginning of October. Does the consulate in Savannakhet issue DOUBLE ENTRZ Visa?


    Best regards

    • Chris

      Best to check with them direct.

    • Hello, Ernst,

      As far as I have been informed of, Savannakhet consulate
      does not issue 2-entry visa;single-entry only.
      Sometime they might ask you to demonstrate your financial capability if you repeatly apply for tourist visa.
      Better prepare bank statement if you apply for the visa more than
      twice just in case.

    • Hi Ernst, I have obtained double 60day tourist visas from here for more than 2 years with no questions asked. Standard tourist visa is 60 days for 1,000 bht. Just ask for a double and pay 2,000. Office opposite the embassy charge 60bht to supply and fill out the form for you. Its that easy but remember 3 photos required. 1 for the Laos entry and 2 for the Thai embassy.

  3. Cheap AirAsia flight to KL, Malaysia and a train to BKK, got an entry stamp(Realized that I did not get a Visa, received a 15 day stamp instead.) I am in Mukdahan to cross the border in a day or so. THE STAMP EXPIRES ON THE 30TH. CAN I GET A 60 DAY VISA(DOUBLE POSSIBLY)WITH THIS 15 DAY ENTRY PERMIT?

  4. Are you still in Mukdahan? I love Mukdahan and like to stay here if it’s possible. I am from Tokyo on a tourist visa and have obtained
    two double entry visas so far and am looking forward to going back to Savannakhet in August. I have made some local Thai friends. I have a
    Thai lady friend who is married to an American PhD. She is the only one with whom I can communicate in English! I live at the Best Residence and like to see and talk with you if you’re staying in Muk.

    Take care Chris.

    • Chris

      I don’t live in Mukdahan any more, but still visit often to see friends etc. Send me your number and the next time I pop up (from Ubon) i’ll introduce you to some folks.

  5. Just back from this same visa run. Details correct as of July 2011.

    Tourist double entry visa 2000 baht, got to the consulate about 9.45am on a Wednesday. Nobody else there, filled in the form (available from the booth, no need to buy one from outside) and got it submitted within 10 mins of arriving.

    Pick up 2pm following afternoon, number system, waited about 10 mins for my number, three other westerners there, guessing that the rest of the people (about 40) or so were from Laos.

    Single entry (60 days + can be extended by 30 days) cost was 1000 baht.

    Double entry (60 days + 30 days extension + 60 days (must leave/re-enter the country before last entry date stamped 90 days from getting the visa) + 30 days extension: so can last close to six months. Cost is 2000 baht.

    No message to prove income next time applying for a visa (as has been reported when the visa was free) were stamped into the passport.

    I went to Chez de Bourne, thought the lasagna was not that good, the beer lao however was excellent :-)

    • Chris

      Thanks for the update Dean!

    • OneLoveWorld

      thanks for the info Deano…but a question…with a double entry, after the 60daze are up and one obtains a 30 day extension, is that the beginning of the countdown to leave and reenter to make the next 6o visa valid?

  6. Normally I am not type of person who make comments. But this time I have to.! I was so panic since I realized that I have to go somewhere for visa running. I went to Vientiene last time but cuz of flood in northern part, I cannot go anymore. I didn’t prepare for booking any plan ticket too. I searched and I found this ! i will directly book a ticket and will do my visa run savannakhet !!!!!! Thank you very much. It helped me a lotttttttttttttttttttttttttt!!!

  7. super great / detailed breakdown. thank you.

  8. Jeremy

    Thank you for the information I am making a visa run in DEC and your website has helped me out tremendously.

  9. R.Corner

    Get 35 american dollars, costing 1100 baht to save yourself 400 baht when buying lao visa

  10. Lewis

    Great summary of your visa run. I am doing the same one this weekend
    I heard that the friendship bridge from Mukdahan to Savannakhet is no open 24 hours a day.
    By any chance, do you know what the hours are that you can actually cross from Mukdahan to Laos?
    Thanks in advance

    • Peter (UK)

      Official opening time 8am but the imigration people are very friendly and will let you through if you arrive a bit earlier.

  11. tomas

    doHi Chris! I have 3 Tourist double entry visa in my passport! I cant get any more Tourist visa in VIENTIANE. Do you think a can get one more double entry visa at the Thai Embassy in Savannakhet?

    • Peter (UK)

      Savannakhet in Laos is more lenient than Vientiane in Laos for ALL types of visa.It’s also easier with border crossings and waiting times at the Thai Embassiy. But your best and safer option this time (because you now have 3 tourist visas already from Laos) would be to try another country. I recommend Cambodia via Aranyaphratet or Cambodia via Surin, these are both easier and cheaper options than Vientiane in Laos and also a bit more lenient.

  12. jess

    yes,if you just landing at suvanaphume airport you’ll get 30 days free without visa but if you want to visit loas only stay over night and come back to thailand you will have only 15 days left for you to stay in thailand wachtout!

  13. Chris

    I need to go to Laos for a non-immigrant ‘O’ visa.

    I can’t find any info on the web, but can I get a non-immigrant NOT tourist visa at Savannakhet?

    I’m sick and tired of the rip-offs at VT Friendship Bridge and in VT itself.

    The return bus from VT to Khon Kaen is good, fast (but NOT dangerously so) and cheap, but I just don’t like VT.

    Mukdahan is a great town – I generally stay at the Submuhkda Hotel. fairly new, very clean and comfortable THB500 a night – but no brekkie only free coffee/chocolate/ovaltine.

    • Pete's Thai Visa Consultant

      Non – immigrant ‘O’ visas are now not so easy to get (since a change in the rules in year 2010).

      MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS: (Some Embassies are not as strict as others but better be prepared).

      Correctly completed Application form for a single entry or multiple entry ‘O’ Visa with 2 photos (2000 baht or 5000 baht).
      Age 50 with proof i.e.Copy of Birth Certificate (passport alone may not be enough proof).
      Passport valid for AT LEAST 12 more months and extra photos.
      Marriage certificate (if married) in Thailand or home country and birth certificates of wife and any children.
      Criminal record check document from your home country (not more than 3 months old).
      Health Certificate from Thai Doctor to prove no contagious diseases (not more than 3 months old).
      Proof of address in Thailand (if you rent or you own). Definite proof from landlord or bank etc. now required.
      PROOF OF INCOME: Must be minimum 800,000 baht in a Thai Bank or an income of 90,000 baht per month or a combination of both, and MUST be for at least the last 3 months. Proof is recently updated bank book and VERY recent letter from your bank (just 1 or 2 days old).
      Any volunteer workers need a letter from the charity that is supporting them.

  14. Michel

    hello , i actually have a visa exemption of 30 days , i was about get out to laos to get a new exemption of 15 days a nong khai , i read that you can just get out of thailand cross the bridge and directly come back as you dont have any paper or so to be filled , do you think i can do that at Mukdahan , i just want to do this in one or 2 hours ?
    thanks for your answers


  15. Savan Vegas

    Dear all,

    We now have a Thai Visa Run program available in Savannakhet (Lao PDR). We offer visa packages starting from 999 THB. We would like to invite you to try us on your next visa run. Please find more information regarding our program and Thai visas in general at Thank you!

    • frenchfarangbkk

      Savan vegas does not have any special offer anymore.

      Anyway this hotel is the worst where I have ever been.

  16. Eric

    Can you get a non immigrant B visa in Savannakhet?

    • Janus

      Yes you can. My boss arranged everything for me and I am going there tomorrow to do mine

  17. Tim

    We just came back from the Savannakhet, Laos, Thai Consulate office run for the Thai VISA. I am an American married to a Ubon Thai; both professional people. BE VERY CAREFUL at the Thai Consulate; my passport was handed out to a passing Lao lady who was “hanging” around the clerk’s window as they called the que. Had I not grabbed the lady and my passport, she was headed for the gate. The clerks only call the “receipt number” you are given the day prior to pick up at 2pm. Their defense (rather lame and idiotic) is that they do not have any responsibility to look at the picture on a passport, they “go by number only”…. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, someone with any influence or contacts, make this known to the folks in Bangkok. Not sure if you know what happens to a foriegn national who shows up in Laos without a passport claiming some clerk gave theirs to the wrong party…. bureaucrats are one thing; idiots are quite another; and to our peril. Never never again.

    • Pete's Thai Visa Consultant

      You know..? It seems to me that this sort of thing NEVER happens to people who have an ounce of common sense. These disasters and problems and horror stories always seem to happen to the same old kind of people. I call them Mr. or Mrs. Disaster and really they should just stay at home and tend to the garden where they are happy in their comfort zone.

  18. Janus

    I think this is a great guide. Thanx for the info.

    I am going to Laos tommorow for my Non Immigrant B visa and I’m very stressed. This helped a lot though

    • tara

      did you get your non b visa???/

  19. Mike S

    Where is the Thai embassy, consulate? I am here in Savannakhet and there is none listed on the map I was given by the tourist folks – except the one at the river. Do I use that one? You mentioned the embassy being close to the French restaurant.I found that restaurant last night – but, that isn’t near the river… a bit confused.

    Anything to do in Savannakhet? I’m stuck here Sunday to Wed now that there is a Laos holiday on Monday. It’s a VERY slow town.

  20. Jude

    Hey Chris
    You mean coming back into Thailand from Savanakhet you only get 15 days just like from Poi Pet into Thailand,is that correct if its by land?
    Do you have any idea about the Savan Vegas Casino,is it easy to win some gambling?

  21. Rhodj

    Hi Chris,
    Im planning to go to Savannakhet as a tourist and staying there for few days. Would you pls help me how to go there? Btw, Im coming from Kuala Lumpur and I will take a flight to BKK. Your help is much appreciated.. heaps of thanks..

  22. Hi Chris.

    Very well documented, love your style. Thanks for sharing your info on Savannakhet.

    What else attracted me to write… ah, yes – the keyword “entrepreneur”, and, the fact that you’d been place-hopping for over 8 years now. Wondrful.

    I’d love to talk with you about entrepreneurship. Sharing some ideas and who knows. If that tickles, you, let me know.

    Have a great day
    (I’m off to Savannakhet in a few hours)

    • Chris

      If you are passing through Ubon on your return, send me an email :)

  23. Jei

    Heading to Savannakhet tonight. Read many great reviews about the relax atmosphere of the Thai Consulate there and how they still give Double Entry Visa. I am all for it. Anything to do…?

  24. Andreas

    Great review. Will be going there soon for my next visa run as I recently moved to Ubon. Will give an update when it’s all done. Thanks!


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