The Visa Run

Trip Start Jan 02, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Tuesday, March 22, 2011

This is the start of our Thailand 60 day visa run. The full journey took us 4-5 days, below is the itinerary:

Pai to Chiang Mai, 3 hours, 72 baht pp
Chiang Mai to Udon Thani, 13 hours, 613 baht pp (overnight vip bus)
Udon Thani to Nong Khai, 1 hour, 25 baht pp
Nong Khai to Vientiane, 30 minutes after the Friendship Bridge and border crossing, 100 baht pp (private mini bus)
Vientiane to Nong Khai (same as above)
Nong Khai to Bangkok, 12 hours, 688 baht pp (overnight sleeper train top bunk)
Bangkok to Chumphon, 8 hours, 480 baht pp (overnight seater train)
Chumphon to Ranong, 2 hours, 120 baht pp (mini bus)
Ranong to Koh Chang, 1 hour, 150 baht pp (boat)

Packed our things up and caught the local bus back to Chiang Mai. We were worried the journey would be as hellish as the one to Pai, but we made the journey in just over 3 hours on the local bus. Whilst at the station we booked our evening bus to Udon Thani. This would be the beginning of our journey back to Laos to get our free 60 day Thai visas. 

We have 8 hours to chill in Chiang Mai so we head to a wifi cafe and get some more internet jobs out of the way. We indulged in a mcdonalds and although Lara enjoyed hers thoroughly Jamie struggled to eat it. We caught a tuk tuk back to the bus station and bought some snacks for the journey ahead. We watched Amelie on the laptop and fell asleep on the very comfy reclining seats. 

13 hours later and we were in Udon Thani. We realised that we were pushed for time to get to the Thai embassy in Vientiane so we rushed like mad, jumping queues and asking drivers to get us there fast. We are not the only ones doing the visa run. We make it to the embassy 5 minutes before closing but the woman behind the counter frustratingly closes the window in our face, meaning we had to spend another night in Vientiane. We get dropped off in town and check in to Youth Inn, where we stayed previously. 

That evening we went for a drink at the French Language University, where they play French films with English subtitles. There was a very nice atmosphere and was a good place to relax with a coffee. We eat at a fancy French restaurant called Le Vendome, splashing out by spending 15 on possibly the tastiest steak ever and red wine. 

We get our passports into the embassy with the appropriate forms and a couple of passport photographs. We are relieved to discover the process is still free until the end of this month. We try to book a train ticket to Bangkok but find out it is fully booked so decide to turn up and hope for the best on the day. We meet a few guys from the UK and a girl from Germany. We stay up drinking beer and going Laos bowling for the second time.

We arrive early at the Thai embassy to collect our passports. This place is not too dissimilar to a zoo, as people cram up to the gates waiting for it to open. We get our passports back and get to the border around 2pm. We manage to book a train ticket at the station, air con upper bunk sleeper for 688 baht each. We are relieved that we might get some sleep. It was a comfortable train but when the menu came around we were stupid enough not to ask the prices and for two small medico meals with two beers it cost us 500 baht (10). We watch a movie and play some cards before falling asleep - well kind of, the air con and light keeps Lara up all night.

21/3/11 39 Including 25 Bus
22/3/11 81 Including 45 Laos Visas
23/3/11 35
24/3/11 48 Including 26 Sleeper Train to Bangkok
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