With Backpack

One World in One Lifetime

Non-Immigrant Visa for Thailand

Posted by Heliocentrism on December 27, 2009

December 25-26, 2009

All Pictures

Dinner in Laos along the MeKong Delta

Non-Immigrant Visa

The main reason why Mark and I went to Laos was the same reason most people go to Laos; to get a non-immigrant visa so that we can apply to get a visa to work in Thailand. So the question is, “How does one get a work permit to work in Thailand?” Well, it’s seems that very few people know.

You see the problem is that the Thai government keeps changing the laws, so that even the people who obtained a nonimmigrant visa 6 months ago cannot give anyone any advice. So what I say below might not even be true by the time you read this.

The lady who works at the HR department at our company told Mark and me that we first needed to go to Laos, find the Thai embassy there, then apply for a nonimmigrant visa, then re-enter Thailand. That sounds simple, doesn’t it?

The way things have worked out for us with the New Year’s holidays, is that we have a whole week to play around in Laos when we should really be back at work grading tons of mid-term exams. Unfortunately, since I cannot come into work my boss is the one with the stacks of exams and the red pen. Well, unfortunate for him…

We’ll see how things unfold…

Thai Government Bus to Nong Khai

Thai Long Distance Buses

I will not go all the way and say that I strongly recommend not getting on a Thai long distance bus. There are many places in Thailand that the train just does not go. But let me just say this:

1. It’s uncomfortable.

Let’s ignore the bumping around, the guy snoring in the seat behind me, the fact that every time a Thai gets his or her hands on an a/c unit* they have to make the room or bus feel like the inside of a refrigerator, and the dirty bathroom or lack thereof. I am 5’9″ (175cm). I just don’t fit in the seats. Unless I’m in a 1st class bus, I feel a bit squished.

*This is not only true with the Thais, but any people who live in a warm climate. Floridians do this to the point that you always need to bring a sweater with you when you leave the house in case you need to go indoors.

2. It’s dangerous!

Somewhere along this ride, maybe around midnight, I woke up. Looking out the window, seeing trees whoosh by, I realized that we were going way too fast for a bus on a 2-lane, unlit road. What if we hit something. Just then we sped past an overturned truck with a passenger or driver running around frantically.

To make this story at bit more sensational I will tell you that this was the 2nd truck accident I saw that night. The first one looked as if a piano had fallen on a truck. I’m sure that if I could have stayed awake longer I would have seen more.

I think the bus driver saw the same overturned truck that I did, because soon after we passed it, he slowed down and paced himself the rest of the way. It’s nice having a bus driver who wants to live.

Looking for a place to eat in Laos

I’m convinced that all tuk-tuk drivers are out to get us!

I don’t know what it is about Mark and me, but we’ve never had a tuk-tuk driver quote us a reasonably overprice cost for a ride. Once, while just 2 skytrain stops away from the Siam Center, we asked a tuk-tuk driver how much it would cost to get to said Siam Center. He looked me dead in the eyes and said, “200Baht”. Are you freaking kidding me!? We eventually took an air-conditioned taxi, got stuck in traffic and it still only cost 45Baht.

Tuk-tuks cheaper than taxis… my eye!

Merry Communist Christmas!

When we arrived at the bus station in Vientiane, we were approached by scores of tuk-tuk drivers. Even though the bus was packed with tons of people standing in the aisle there seemed to be more tuk-tuk drivers than potential customers.

They swarmed around Mark and me, getting in our way. We had to push a few tuk-tuk drivers aside so that we could get to our backpacks. I showed a tuk-tuk driver the address to our hostel. He didn’t seem to know where it was, but he told me that could take us there for 200Baht; the magic number! “How can you take us there for 200Baht when you don’t know where there is?”

When Mark and I looked at the map we realized that the hostel was within walking distance. I know 200Baht isn’t a lot of money. 200Baht is about 7USD, but Mark and I work for Baht now. The way we think about it is, dinner usually costs us about 50-60Baht each, including drinks, when we eat out. This tuk-tuk driver wanted to charge us the cost of 4 dining out meals for a 5 minute ride.

We decided to walk instead.

All Pictures

(ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ)
(Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao)

How to get there:

  • You can enter by plane, boat, bus, or train.
  • You can get your visa before your trip to Laos, or you can buy a visa at the border.
  • How much your visa costs depends on your nationality.
  • People of most nationalities will get a 30-day visa at the port of entry.
  • To be completely sure, check with the Laotian embassy in your country.


  • Tourism Authority +856-21-212251-Ext 103 or 101
  • Emergency Numbers
    • Police 191
    • Fire & Ambulance 190




  • Do not get more kip than you need. No one will buy kip from you whenit’s time to leave Laos.
    • You can use baht here. Just know that your change will be in kip.
  • If you get really sick, try to go to Thailand.

Mo Chit Long Distance Bus Station
(North/Northeastern Bus Terminal)
(sathanii Mo Chit)

This bus station is used to get buses heading north and northeast as the name implies.

How to get there:

  • 13°48’40.1″N 100°32’52.3″E

All the travel guides will tell you that it’s near Chatuchak Park which is near the Mo Chit Skytrain station. What they fail to tell you is that Chatuchak is a freakishly large park and being in this park doesn’t guarantee that you are near anything, much less the bus station.

-By bus (recommended):

  • walk to your nearest bus stop and look for any of the buses, listed below, headed in the bus station’s direction. I still have not figured out how to find this information before boarding a public bus in Bangkok, so ask the people standing nearby.
  • The Terminal is the last stop for all these buses.
  • bus #: 49, 77, 104, 122, 136, 145, 159, 170, 509, 517, 523, 547


999 Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road, Chatuchak, Chatuchak, Bangkok, 10900


  • +66 (0) 2936 2841-3


Ladies, if you need to use the bathroom when the station is crowded, plan of spending at least 15 minutes waiting in line. …and bring 3 Baht with you and of course, your own TP.

Nong Khai

Nong Khai is the town in Thailand nearest to Friendship Bridge and Vientiane, the capital city of Laos.

How to get there:

  • 17°53’02.4″N 102°45’02.8″E

From Bangkok:

by bus from Mo Chit Bus Station (10 hours):

  • 700Baht for 1st class bus – w/ toilet; 3 seats to a row
  • 350Baht for 2nd class bus – w/o toilet; 4 seats to a row
  • I don’t recommend anything lower that a 2nd class bus because only the 1st and 2nd class buses have a/c.

by Train from Bangkok from Hua Lamphong Train Station.

  • Here is the schedule from 2009.
  • 1,317Baht 1st class sleeper
  • Baht 2nd class sleeper w/ac
    • 708 (top)-778 (bottom)
  • I don’t recommend anything lower than a 2nd-class sleeper for this 10 hour journey. Normally I would always go for the a/c option, but on the train ride back to Bangkok in 1st-class’ a/c compartment I was freezing my butt off. We didn’t even turn on the berth’s a/c; it was the train itself that was so cold.


How to get there:

There are buses that take you from the Nong Khai bus station to Vientiane’s bus station.

    1. The first stop is at Thai immigration. Everybody gets off the bus and goes through the passport control. The buses are sometimes packed with people standing in the aisle, so I don’t know how they know when everyone is back on the bus. But, they do.
    2. Then they take you over Friendship Bridge and into Laos.
    3. The next stop is at Laos immigration. Once again everyone gets off and on again after passing through passport control. If you need to get a visa for Laos, bring a passport-sized photo of yourself and head to the “visa at the Border” line. It is the shortest line and it’s not the line where everyone else is standing. There is a sign posted that gives the cost of the visa depending on what country you are from. Once you get your passport back you can skip the other lines and just walk into the country.
    4. Then the bus takes you to the bus terminal in downtown Vientiane.

If you take the train to Nong Khai and take a tuk-tuk to the Thailand Passport control don’t worry. There is a shuttle for about 20THB that goes between the Thai and Laos immigration. So, there is no need to go to the bus station for the shuttle into Laos.

At the Laotian border, there are many cabs, tuk-tuk, and shuttles into Vientiane.


In Vientiane you can use Baht. Your change will be in Laotian KIP, though. Don’t get too much KIP because it’s hard to exchange KIP for anything else when you leave.



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