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Visa report – Obtaining an O visa at Savannakhet Laos

My current Non Imm O visa had expired, so I decided to travel to Savannakhet in Laos via Mukdaharn. I chose this destination mainly because it is the closest border crossing to where I live, and they have a Thai Consulate General in Savannakhet.

So I set off from Kalasin at 05.20hrs on the Khon Kaen to Mukdahan bus for the 3 hour trip to Mukdahan (about 4 and a half hours from Khon Kaen), and arrived in Mukdahan at about 08.15hrs.

We got on a samlor for the journey from the bus station to the Ferry /Immigration building which cost bt40.

We stopped off at an office opposite the Ferry to pick up a border pass for my wife (bt90), you can also get passport size photos here, at bt90 for 4

We walked across the road to the ferry building and purchased tickets at 50bt each, then went through passport control and down on to the boat.

I thought the ferry departed every half hour, but it seems like it is actually every hour, maybe it’s every half hour during busy times.

After about a 20-30 min trip we arrived in Lao.

We went into the immigration building. I went to the window for visa on arrival, filled out the form, paid bt1500 and got the visa very promptly, much different from my experience in Nong Khai. Then went to passport control and paid bt20 and got my stamp. My wife went to the border pass window and had to pay bt50 for her stamp.

After booking into the hotel we went straight to the Royal Thai Consulate General. We arrived at about 10.30hrs, I filled out the form, and handed that to the clerk, along with, marriage certificate and copy, wife’s ID card and copy, and two passport photos.

I wanted a multiple entry O class Non Imm visa, but was told by the clerk that he could only issue single entry non imm O visa’s, at a cost of bt2000, when my wife asked how much a multiple entry visa was, he said he didn’t know, which leads me to believe they have never issued multiple entry Non Imm visas at this office.

So I paid the fee, and the clerk said I could collect my passport with visa at 15.00hrs that day.

This means that as the last ferry is at 16.00hrs, you can obtain an O visa and be back in Thailand the same day, with no actual need to stay in Lao, as long as you get to the consulate before midday.

The next day after a trip to the wat, we went to the immigration building, paid bt20 for our passport stamps, and bt50 each for the ferry and boarded.

Back in Thailand, I got my stamp easily enough at passport control, and paid the bt20 port fee, which my wife didn’t have to pay.

The hotel we stayed in was called Xayamoungkhoun guest house, which is an old French colonial house. Air con rooms with fan and sat TV, hot water shower bathrooms are bt350. It was a little tired, but sufficient. It is also only a five minute walk to the consulate.

Another hotel which looked nice was the Nong Soda, which is to the north of toen, and is right on the river bank with a nice terrace overlooking the Mehkong, rooms there are bt300, and looked like had sat TV.

Directions.

To the consulate.

Come out of the Immigration building and turn right

Take the second left

Walk until the second cross roads

The consulate will be in front of you to the left.

Entrance to the consular section is at the back of the building on the same road you walked on.

Xayamoungkhon Guest House

Come out of the Immigration building and turn right

Take the second left

Walk along this road past the Thai Consulate on your left.

Keep walking until you get to a main road

Turn right and walk for about 400m

The guest house will be on the right.

Some Restaurants

Turn right out of the immigration building

Take the first left

You will find some restaurants offering lao and French food along this road, these restaurants seemed to be very popular with the tourists.

Also, towards the end of this road is a large church, which may be of interest

Observations

  • Thai Immigration have an office opposite the Ferry building in Mukdahan, I had a quick chat with the staff there, they were very helpful and friendly
  • I found Savannakhet to be a nicer place than Vientianne, and about 30%-40% cheaper
  • The staff at Savannakhet immigration were much nicer than their colleagues in Vientiane, in fact the whole experience was nicer.
  • I couldn’t find any visa agents in Mukdahan offering Lao visa help, which didn’t matter anyway as it’s easy enough to do yourself
  • Opposite the hotel I stayed in is a nice bar, which serves food, with a live band, and It can’t be heard in the hotel
  • There is a market in Savannakhet known as the Singapore Market. A large market, but nothing special. Lots of young men hanging around the top and bottom of the escalators and groups of young boys asking for money which made us feel uneasy.

I think i have remembered everything, hope this helps

totster :o

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The Royal Thai Consulate in Savannakhet, Laos works very efficient. Staff is very friendly. Not many tourists there. The same applies to the Thai immigration office on the other side in Mukdahan. Very friendly and helpful.

Downside: Only single entry visas of any kind issued at the Royal Thai Consulate in Savannakhet

PS: Come out of the Immigration building and turn right take the first left and you will find the best reasonable priced french food restaurant in Laos: Restaurant Paris

breakfast: wow

steak: wow

french fries: wow

coffee: wow

:o:D:D

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Nice report, Totster..

:o

A word of caution however for those chosing this route:

Six missing as boat capsizes

January 15, 2006

Six people are missing, feared dead, after a boat capsized in the Mekong river in Mukdahan yesterday.

Public health officials from the northeastern province and neighbouring provinces, as well as two Lao nationals, are among the missing. Six passengers were rescued.

The accident took place about 180 metres from the bank of the river, opposite the Indochina market.

Two survivors - Nongnuch Omprom and Rithikrai Polkraisorn - said they boarded the boat to visit Savannakhet following a meeting in Mukdahan.

The group was forced to charter a small fishing vessel for the return trip as there were no passenger boats available at that time.

Police said too many passengers had been seated in the front of the boat, which was cramped and contained several leaks.

------------------------------------------------

On a personal note, when I made the trip myself, the ferry boat's propeller hit something in the river on the return trip back to Mukdahan and stalled out. After drifting downriver for about 10 rather disturbing minutes, the captain was able to start it up again and we got to Mukdahan ok after that. I noticed most of the boats making the transit were rather suspect as well.

Hopefully, the fatal accident during the bridge construction has not slowed it too much and that they will finish and open soon allowing a smoother, quicker, and safer trip into Laos.

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Interesting post SJ..

Coming back from Savvanakhet to Mukdahan the boat was crammed full of passengers and cargo... and I mean full...

Much to my relief the boat finally pulled off the pier.. but then 5-6 people with bags came running down the bank... rather than let them wait for the next departure, the already packed to the brim boat moved back to the pier to pick them up.. with their cargo... :o

totster :D

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Sheesh... it's amazing what an additional 300 baht to the boat operators could have led to. :o

I was surprised when our dead-in-the-water boat was drifting downriver to Cambodia, that the passengers didn't panic or even seem all that alarmed. It seemed like it was almost a routine experience to them.

I was there just a week before the bridge collapse. At that time it appeared to be 2/3 of the way across. How is it looking now?

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  • 11 months later...

Thanks for this info about Savannakhet and Non Imm type O! I will arrive there this Monday to do the same application and appreciate your comments very much. When did you apply for the visa as I was told that it is now a 2 day affair as they have stopped doing all visas in one day!

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Be aware , there is now a sign that says , from 15Jan onwards the RTC will not issue the Visa on the same day anymore.

So please prepare for a overnight stay.

Pls also note that , most likely , you will have to use the new busconnection between Mukdahan and Savannasaket. Very slow.

Non O Single Entry is OK , however as every other Consulate they require the Police Clearance Certificate in case you apply for the Non B.

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