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Border Crossing from Thailand to Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia | Thai Visa Runs

► Thailand - Laos

Laos has two types of border crossings, international and local. As you may suspect, international crossings are generally open to all foreign nationals in possession of a valid passport and visa, while local crossings are open only to locals (on each side of the border) who are able to cross back and forth using some form of border pass. The international crossings are the only ones covered in this section. Laos has over a dozen international overland border crossings. These allow overland travel to Thailand (via seven crossings), Cambodia (via one crossing) and Vietnam (via six crossings). You can also arrive by air at either Vientiane or Luang Prabang, both of which have international airports.The most popular overland border crossings to/from Thailand are at Nong Khai/Vientiane and Chiang Khong/Huay Xai. To Cambodia, you only have one option, the Veun Kham/Dom Kralor crossing (but note that a Lao visa on arrival is NOT available at this crossing).

Nam Phao/Cau Treo. Lao visa on arrival is available at all these crossings. Lao border crossings tend to keep varying hours, so it's best to get there early rather than late. On weekends and at later hours, don't be surprised if you're asked to pay a dollar or so in "overtime" -- don't expect a receipt! For those planning on visiting far southern Laos from Thailand, the Chong Mek/Vang Tao crossing is the most convenient. From Thailand a regular bus runs from Ubon Ratchathani to the border town of Chong Mek taking 1-1.5 hours. Sometimes you may be required to change buses as Phibun Mangsahan depending on the bus caught. Once deposited at Chong Mek it is a five-minute walk through each crossing and regular songthaeaws run from Vang Tao to Pakse, taking about one hour. Visa on arrival is available.

With the construction of the Friendship Bridge II over the Mekong, all foreigners planning on travelling between Thailand and Laos at this crossing are required to use the bridge. Coming from Thailand, a minibus from Mukdahan takes you across the bridge itself, where tuk tuk drivers are always waiting to take you into Savannakhet. Lao visa on arrival is available.

A 30-day Lao visa on arrival is available for US$30 or 1,500B -- there have been many reports of officials refusing to accept US cash (as they pocket the difference on the exchange rate). Lao officials also charge an additional $1/40B fee for doing their job -- if you arrive at the weekend, it is called a 'weekend fee', if you arrive after 16:00, it is called an 'after hours fee' and if you arrive during a weekday before 16:00, it is called a 'processing fee'. The Chiang Khong/Huay Xai crossing is one of the most popular for independent travellers entering Laos from Thailand. After clearing customs on either side, it is a five-minute boat ride (30B - ticket sellers may try to charge you a 10B fee for each bag on top of the 40B) over to the other side. If you cross the border first thing in the morning, you will have plenty of time to catch the boat to Luang Prabang.

► Thailand - Cambodia

Cambodia has two types of border crossings, international and local. As you may suspect, international crossings are generally open to all foreign nationalities who are in possession of a valid passport and visa, while local crossings are open only to locals (on each side of the border) who are able to cross back and forth using some form of border pass. The international crossings are the only ones covered in this section. Cambodia has at least a dozen international overland border crossings. These allow overland travel to Thailand (via six crossings), Laos (via one crossing) and Vietnam (via five crossings). You can also arrive by air at either Phnom Penh or Siem Reap, both of which have international airports, or by sea at Sihanoukville. The most popular overland border crossing to Thailand by far is the Aranyprathet/Poipet border crossing. To Laos, you only have one option, the Veun Kham/Dom Kralor crossing (but note your Laos visa on arrival is NOT available at this crossing).

Bavet/Moc Bai Crossing. This is the most popular crossing. Cambodian visa on arrival is available at all these crossings and Cambodian eVisas are also accepted at these entry points. Cambodian border crossings are generally open from 08:00 to 20:00 with the exception of Veun Kham/Dom Kralor, which closes earlier. On weekends and late hours, don't be surprised if you're asked to pay a dollar or so in "overtime" -- and don't expect a receipt.

Aranyaprathet / Poipet This is by far the most popular and the most dysfunctional border crossing between Cambodia and Thailand. Cambodian visas on arrival are available and eVisas are accepted. Crossing times can be in excess of three hours depending on the whims of the border officials, but they can also be mercifully fast. Poipet (the Cambodian side of the border) has a major tout problem and it can be difficult to organise onwards transport to Siem Reap at a reasonable price. The Tales of Asia website has an excellent section dedicated to this crossing.

Hat Lek / Ko Kong A very straightforward crossing, Hat Lek/Ko Kong is most convenient for those planning on travelling between Thailand's Ko Chang and the Sihanoukville beach area of Cambodia. There are numerous reports of Cambodian officials here being particularly troublesome and asking ridiculous amounts of money for visas on arrival. The easiest way around this is to arrive with a visa already in hand. If you need to get to an ATM, there is one in the Thai town of Hat Lek. Expect to pay 80B - 100B for a moto from Ko Kong town to the border -- this should include the bridge toll.

► Thailand - Myanmar (Burma)

As of February 2011 a same-day visa can be issued at the Myanmar embassy in Bangkok. To get the visa the same day you must tell the visa window that you are leaving tomorrow. They will issue your visa later that same day by 15:30 h and it is valid starting the day it was issued. Some additional restrictions, requirements or conditions may be applied to applications - reports have included a need for a detailed itinerary, a detailed job history, etc. be prepared for some unusual questions (either on the forms, or from the Consulate staff) when applying for your visa. Though not explicitly stated, it has been reported that the authorities only allow one trip to the country every 6 months.

Myanmar has announced the resumption of Visa On Arrival (VOA) for business visas, starting in June, 2012 for several countries including all ASEAN member states. Despite reports saying that the government has reintroduced VOA for tourists, as of 05 June 2012, all tourists must apply via embassies. The easiest way to get the visa is to apply through a travel agency in your home country. The form is simple and requires an ID photo or two. In Bangkok, it takes one or two business days. A standard application for a tourist visa requires: a completed visa form (available from the Embassy), a completed arrival form (again, from the Embassy), a photocopy of the photo page from your passport, two passport sized photos, the applicable fee (810.00 Thai Baht as at September 2009). In Hong Kong, you can get the visa by applying between 9:00 h and 12:00 h, and picking it up after 3pm on the following business day(your passport, 3 passport-size photos, business card / leave letter from your employer or student ID if you're a student, and application fee of HK$150.00 - US$19.00).

Tourists visas are valid for (3) months. The visa is valid for a stay of up to four weeks (from date of entry), although you can overstay if you are willing to pay a US$ 3.00 a day fee when you leave. Successful applicants will also be issued an "Arrival Form", which will be stapled into your passport and must be presented on arrival in Myanmar, along with your passport containing the visa sticker. Ensure that the visa sticker, and arrival form have both been signed by the immigration officer before leaving the Embassy. Note that you will still have to fill in the usual customs and immigration forms on your flight into the country.

► Thailand - Malaysia

There are at least seven border crossings between Thailand and Malaysia which are open to foreigners. Running east to west they are: Ban Ta Ba (actually at the border village Ban Ta Ba), Sungai Kolok, Betong, Sadao, Pedang Besar, Wang Prajan and Kuala Perlis. The four most popular crossings are the boat crossing at Kuala Perlis, Pedang Besar, Sadao and Sungai Kolok. The border crossings at Sadao and Pedang Besar and open 24 hours, the others, daylight hours only.

Sadao / Changlun  This is one of the most popular crossings used for visa runs in southern Thailand, but for onwards travel it isn't a great choice because of lack of transport on the Malay side. From Sadao, in Thailand, it is straightforward to take a bus or songtheaw onwards to Hat Yai. This crossing is open 24-hours.

Pedang Besar  Better than nearby Sadao, Pedang Besar can be reached by bus, train or taxi from both sides. Like Sadao, this crossing is open 24-hours. If you're crossing on the train, you will need to disembark to clear customs.

► Thailand - Vietnam

Tourist Visa: This type of visa is issued to applicants who wish to enter the Kingdom for tourism purposes. Single or double entry for 3 months or 6 months. Those who wish to stay longer or may wish to change their type of visa must file an application for permission at the Office of Immigration Bureau located on Government Center B, Chaengwattana Soi 7, Laksi, Bangkok 10210, Tel 0-2141-9889 (or at http://www.immigration.go.th ). The extension of stay as well as the change of certain type of visa is solely at the discretion of the Immigration officer.

Required Documents:

  • Passport or travel document with validity not less than 6 months
  • Visa application form completely filled out
  • Recent (4 x 6 cm) photograph of the applicant
  • Evidence of travel from Thailand (air ticket paid in full)
  • Evidence of adequate finance (20,000 Baht per person and 40,000 Baht per family)
  • Consular officers reserve the rights to request additional documents as deemed necessary

Visa Fee: 40.00 US$ per entry (Visa fee may be changed without prior notice)

Royal Thai Embassy, Hanoi
63-65 Hoang Dieu Street, Hanoi
Tel.(84-4) 3823-5092 to 94
Fax.(84-4) 3823-5088
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Business Hours: Monday - Friday 08:30 h - 12:00 h

Royal Thai Embassy

Wednesday, October 16, 2019