Sunday, March 30, 2014

PLACES: Border Crossing - Thailand to Laos

 The most common way to cross the border from Thailand to Laos is either by bus or by slow boat from Chiang Khong, Thailand to Huay Xai, Laos. Most travelers then take the Slow Boat from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang via Pakbeng. This trip requires two days for traveling with one night in Pakbeng. I'm pretty sure this is the mostly liked way of traveling from Thailand to Laos among backpackers. I recommend to stay in Chiang Khong for 2 nights to have enough spare time discovering this border village before leaving Thailand. Even though you're a foreigner most of the locals don't stare at you like in other Asian villages because this place is known under travelers who come here to just cross the border over land and the  foreigners have become a part of the normal day life of the locals.
When you get through the immigration at the Thai border make sure you've got enough US$ to pay your visa on arrival before you want to cross the Lao border. For EU-citizen the visa-on-arrival for 30 days will cost you 35 US$. Once you've got your departure stamp from Thailand you take a bus to the Lao border where you can fill out your visa-application (it's a really weird application form so don't take all the questions that seriously just fill out the important information that is required). Make sure to bring a pen and a photo. Try not to get annoyed by the crowd of all the other 100 travelers beside you and keep calm while waiting for your visa because this might take up to minimum 1 hour until they call you up to pick up your passport. Be aware that your name might be called up anytime and pick up your passport immediately or else you will make yourself and the other impatient travelers who are already annoyed wait longer. Now you're done with the legal border crossing and you just have to figure out where you want to go. 

- AJ -

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