Laos and Thailand are neighboring countries in Southeast Asia and both form part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Entering Thailand from Laos is a popular option for many travelers visiting the region, and there are a number of border crossings where this is possible. However, although some nationalities do not need a travel visa from Thailand to Laos depending on the duration of their stay, many passport holders will require either a Thailand visa online or a Thailand visa on arrival from Laos.
Is a visa needed for traveling from Laos to Thailand?
There are a number of Thai visa types based on the nationality of the traveler and the planned duration in Thailand. For example, normal passport holders from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, and South Korea can spend up to 90 days in Thailand without applying for a visa. Passport holders of an additional 44 countries currently require a visa for Thailand entering from Laos if staying for more than 30 days, including:
- Czech Republic*
- New Zealand
- San Marino
- South Africa
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States
As of the end of this year, citizens of France, China, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates who wish to stay in Thailand for more than 30 days will be eligible to apply for the Thai tourist visa online. This can be solicited through the easy online Thailand visa application and will allow travelers to obtain a visa for Thailand entering from Laos without queuing for a visa on arrival. It’s also expected that the Thai government will add further countries to the list as the electronic Thailand visa from Laos is implemented.
Getting the travel visa to Thailand from Laos
Citizens from eligible countries needing a visa for Thailand entering from Laos can complete the application online in just a few minutes before they travel. The Thailand visa requirements from Laos are simple. Applicants need a passport, valid for at least 6 months, upon entering Thailand from Laos, a valid debit or credit card in order to pay the visa fee and a valid current email address to which the Thailand visa from Laos will be sent.
All that applicants need to complete the form is provide some basic personal details, information about their travel plans and the data from their passport information page. Some security-related questions will also be asked.
It’s important to revise all the information on the form accurately, as well as to double-check the email address provided in order to successfully complete the Thailand visa application online and receive the visa in your inbox. Applicants can then print a copy of the visa to present at the Thai border alongside their passport.
Those eligible for a Thai visa on arrival from Laos can obtain the document on Thailand-bound flights, as well as at any of the Laos to Thailand overland crossing points,and it will be approved on the same day. However, getting the online visa for Thailand entering from Laos will save travelers time at border controls.
What is the best transport to get to Thailand from Laos?
There are a number of transport options for travelers going into Thailand from Laos.
One of the cheapest and most economical options is entering Thailand from Laos by bus. Travelers can take a direct bus from the capital of Laos, Vientiane, to Bangkok, which takes between 10-14 hours. Those who prioritize speed over economy will want to take a Laos to Thailand flight. Thailand-bound travelers can fly from Vientiane – Wattay International Airport to Bangkok in roughly an hour.
Traveling from Laos to Thailand by train is another cheap and popular option, especially for those who wish to relax and take in the scenery on the 11-hour journey. One of the most popular options for tourists wanting to sightsee on the way is to make most of the journey from Laos to Thailand by boat. Many tourists opt to take a Laos to Thailand slow boat trip on the Mekong River. This will get them to Luang Prabang in Huay Xi, Laos, where they can then make the overland crossing.
Where to Cross from Laos to Thailand
There are a number of Laos to Thailand overland crossings that can be used. Many of these span the so-called Thai friendship bridges over the Mekong River. There are currently four friendship bridges between Thailand and Laos, with a fifth currently under construction. The border crossing points are as follows:
- Vangtao in Laos to Chong Mek in Thailand.
- Kaenthao in Laos to Nakaxeng in Thailand.
- Vientiane, Laos to Nong Khai, Thailand.
- Savannakhet, Laos to Mukdaharn, Thailand.
- Thakhaek, Laos to Nakon Phanom, Thailand.
- Huay Xai, Laos to Chiang Khong, Thailand.
There are other Laos to Thailand overland crossings, but they do not issue visas on arrival for foreign nationals. Those wishing to avoid the visa on arrival queues, however, are advised to get a travel visa to Thailand from Laos before their trip.