If you are going to have your visa run in Savannakhet, wherever in Thailand you came from, you will stop by Mukdahan. Mukdahan is your starting point to Savannakhet. In fact you can already see Savannakhet in Mukdahan river bank if you happen to visit the indo-china market because they are just river apart. The Mekong River is in between these cities.
Assuming that you already arrived in Mukdahan bus station, the next possible step that you will take is securing a ticket for your trip to Savannakhet. In the bus station, you will see windows or booths booking tickets. You need to find the International Bus booth, there you have to present your passport and buy a ticket that costs 50 baht. International buses travel to Savannakhet Laos every hour so there’s no really long waiting time at the bus terminal. In case that you have to wait for your departure, the bus station has many to offer such as food stores, cell phone top up stations, comfort rooms (you have to pay 3 baht though ) and others.
Mukdahan Bus station.
Now that your bus is leaving, you need to have your passport and a pen with you handy since you will need them every now and then. The bus will pass by the Friendship Bridge that connects Mukdahan Thailand, and Savannakhet, Laos but before that, it will stop by Thailand Immigration and you will be advised to leave the bus and go through the immigration. You can leave your bags in the bus because you will get back anyway, but I strongly recommend bringing them with you. At the immigration booth, officials will ask for your passport and a 50 baht fee. They will mark your passport with an exit date stamp. You can also ask for departure/arrival card as you will need it when you get back to Thailand (in my case, I didn’t ask for one, I only had one when I was heading back to Thailand, they give cards at Thai immigration). After going through the immigration, you need to go back to the bus to continue your journey.
Thai Immigration, Mukdahan Border.
After crossing the Mekong River through Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge, the bus will bring you to Laos immigration. You need to leave the bus again and go through the immigration. If you are holding ASEAN passport, you are privileged to stay in Laos for 30 days free visa. (passport privileges) At the immigration booth, present your passport and pay 40 baht fee. The officer will stamp your passport with arrival date. Go through the x-ray machine, pay additional 10 baht for environmental fee and wait for your bus. The bus will now bring you to Savannakhet Bus Station. You can go to your hotel or proceed to the embassy depending on your planned schedule.)
Thai- Lao Friendship Bridge, Mekong River:
Savannakhet Bus Station:
The Royal Thai Consulate Embassy Laos is open only from Mondays to Fridays except legal Lao and Thai holidays so you better check the calendar for your visa run. Visa application is open from 9:00-11:00 AM only. You can get the visa the next day from 2:00-4:00 PM only.
AT THE ROYAL THAI CONSULATE EMBASSY.
You have to be at the embassy 30 minutes before it opens as there are many tourists applying for visa (but not as many in Vientiane). You can stand in line or visit a coffee shop beside the embassy. Make sure that you have all your documents ready with you especially photocopies, passport size id and others. There’s a photo shop beside the embassy wherein you can have your photo taken or photocopy your documents.
Important: Lack of documents means no processing of visa application. You have also to secure application form and fill it up. You can download it here (visa application form) or get it from the embassy itself. In my case, I got one from the embassy during the day of application.
Very Important: Do not leave any question unanswered in your form because the officer will ask you to answer unanswered question/s. Worst is, you have to go back from the starting point of the line because you missed answering one or two questions (this really happened to the four of us, I was so disappointed about the process but good thing I had the opportunity to talk to the officer and give her suggestions, but still we have to go back to the line).
When you reach the window, just present all your documents to the officer together with the fee of the visa that you are applying for. (Please click here: Thailand Visa Information ) He/ she will then tell you if you lack documents but if everything’s okay, a number will be given to you as a claim stub. Then you’re good to go.
While you are waiting for your visa the next day, you can go to your accommodation, take some rest, sleep the whole day or enjoy the place and roam around Savannakhet. There are many things you can do in the city.
On the next day, just go back to the embassy and show your claim stub. Your passport with the visa will be released to you right away. You have the choice to stay in the city or go back to Thailand.
GOING BACK TO THAILAND – MUKDAHAN.
Going back to Mukdahan, Thailand, you can ride a bus at the bus station or ride a tuktuk from your point of origin to Laos Border or the immigration to save time. You can ride a bus at the border. Again, you have to go through the immigration officer, show your passport and pay your bus ticket at the immigration booth. After going through, wait for the bus to come. (passengers are rushing up here as if it will be their last travel –Lol) the bus will now cross the bridge again and drop you in Thailand immigration.
Present your arrival card to the officer together with your passport. All your things must pass through an X-ray machine. Ride the bus again as it will bring you to Mukdahan Bus Station. Continue your travel by riding a bus to your destination in Thailand or stay in Mukdahan for a night. If you wish to stay in Mukdahan, the City has many to offer.
That’s it, as easy as that! I hope this post helped you in any way, please feel free to leave comments or share this one. I wish you a safe travel and wonderful experience.