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On 28th December 2023, I took bus from Udon Thani to Vientiane, Laos vice versa to reset my no visa stay 30 days in Thailand. This route is one of popular way for visa run or application for Thai visa in Thai embassy so my experience here would be helpful for foreigners to stay in Thailand.
International bus from Udon Thani to Vientiane
When I go to Vientiane, normally I stop by at Udon Thani since they are compact but well developed and access to each transportation is very convenient from city center.
When you come from Bangkok to Udon Thani, you will arrive at below bus terminal 1 where you also can take bus to Vientiane. Train station and even airport is not far from bus station. There is Central plaza mall, 3 minutes away from bus terminal for you to spend your time by shopping, eating and watching movies etc.
Thicket booking will start one hour from departure time. I arrived at bus terminal at 9am and tried to buy 1pm ticket but staff told me that I had to come again at 12 noon time. So I walked around the city and finished lunch at Central Plaza then came back to ticket office.
Below is bus trip schedule as of December 2023. Whole trip time is around 2 hour and 30 minutes from Udon Thani terminal to Tarat sao, Vientiane terminal. Ticket price is 80THB. On weekend and Thai holidays, 5THB will be added to fee.
50cm*50cm*50cm below 20kg one baggage is free of charge. Additional items cost 30THB per piece.
Since I am Japanese, I can go and stay at Laos for 15days without visa. For nationals who need visa to Laos, you must have it when purchasing tickets.
I came back to ticket office at 12:50pm. 1pm ticket is all gone so I got 2pm ticket. Passport is required to show for ticket purchase.
Seven eleven at bus terminal entrance.
Central Plaza mall is just 3 minutes away from bus terminal.
Here is my ticket to Laos. it also mentions seat number but actually other passengers does not care much, haha. If your seat is occupied, kindly coordinate with bus conductor to arrange the seat for you.
30 minutes before departure time, I came back to bus terminal. Bus was already preparing for departure at stop No.5.
Bus is donated from Kyoto city, Japan. You can see many Japanese instructions inside.
Toilets inside bus terminal costs 5THB per use. Better to finish at Central mall for free, 55.
Small shop at bus terminal.
10 minutes later, boarding processing started. Somebody already took my seat so bus conductor ordered me to sit next to that person..
Bus seat number can be checked at overhead baggage space.
Total seats around 50 seats inside, most seats were used by Thai and Lao people.
Interesting Japanese notes inside for me, heheh.
Bus conductor distributed Lao immigration card to all foreigners. When entering back to Thailand, you also need to fill in Thai immigration card so please bring pen with you for this trip.
Departure time came, bus started to head for Laos with fully crowded passengers.
15:18, we came to Thai immigration office to exit the Kingdom.
After passport control, we will be back to bus to cross Chao Phraya river then move to Lao immigration.
On the middle of bridge, flags on edge will be changed from Thai to Lao.
I would like to warn all travelers here that immigration officer might ask for money for stamp but you don’t need to pay.
In my turn also, officer asked me to pay 20THB for stamp. I was a bit shocked since I was never asked like this in Lao boarder before. I complained to them that I pay money for what? and I also noticed that other nationals didn’t pay before me. They just insisted on me that I had to pay for service so I had no choice but pay 20THB. That experience was really disgusting for me, I hate that they used their position to steal money from me.
Again, you don’t need to pay at all to immigration officer so please do NOT pay. When asked, you can just ignore not complaining like me so they will not push more.
I used this route again on Feb 2024. Young female officer asked 20THB for stamp!! Of course I don’t give money to them, just ignored and required my passport back.
16:29 we finally arrived at Tarat sao bus terminal at Vientiane Laos. Total travelling time was 2 hour and 30 minutes.
Tarat sao bus terminal Vientiane
Tarat sao bus terminal offers various bus route inside Vientiane city not only international trip to Thailand. I never tried before, I would like maybe next time.
Bus schedule time to Chinese train station.
Vientiane to Udon Thani trip schedule.
Vientiane to Nong Khai trip schedule.
Entrance of bus terminal. By the way this terminal is under construction or complete already??
International ticket office is next to entrance gate.
Advisory board how to take bus from Laos to Thailand. Be careful for land transportation, they still require immigration card while it’s already abolished for entry by air.
On trip day back to Thailand, I came back to Tarat Sao bus terminal at 10:30 am. Ticket I purchased for 12:00 noon time departure so I spent time in Vientiane center and Parkson mall near bus terminal.
Ticket can be purchased either Thai Baht or Lao Kip. Since it fell on weekends, ticket price was 85 THB (overtime). Rate for Lao Kip was bad compared to Baht so I paid by Thai Baht. As of December, exchange rate in google showed 85 THB for 51,000 Kip (1 THB for 600 Kip) but ticket counter lady required 60,000 Kip for 85 THB ticket.
Passport was not required to show for purchasing.
I gave 100 THB to her but she returned only 14 THB… that’s all she had.
Ticket to Udon Thai. Fare was 22,000 Kip before as in the ticket How inflated its value is now to 60,000 Kip.
Wow, there is also direct bus trip from Vientiane to Bangkok. Ticket price is 900 THB one way as Indian guy told me in the hostel I stayed.
Bus from Bangkok just arrived.
Toilets at the back of ticket counter.
International bus from Vientiane to Udon Thani
30 minutes before departure time, I came back to bus terminal. Bus was already preparing for departure.
10 minutes later boarding started. Just need to show ticket to bus conductor.
Looking for my seat…
Again, my seat was already taken by a lady so, conductor told me to sit next to her, haha.
With fully packed passengers, bus departed a bit late from scheduled time at 12:04pm.
I came back to notorious Lao immigration after 3 days.. I am fully cautious this time, determined not to pay bribe to immigration officer. As observed, immigration officers this time asked money to everybody… Korean couple handed in money as asked. I also saw Thai lady put 20 THB in passport when presenting…
When my turn comes, I gave my passport to officer glaring at his face. After stamped on my passport, officer showed me Lao money to ask from me. I was still glaring at him and saying only “passport! Passport!”. Eventually, he gave up and returned passport to me..
Wow, so tiring and stressed boarder same like Cambodian boarder.. For those who are passing Lao boarder please be noted that you don’t need to pay, just ignore if asked money by officer.
After stressful passport control, I hopped in bus to cross the bridge.
See you again, Laos!
For Thai boarder, we need to bring all belongings to be checked by X-ray.
Walking to immigration office building.
For entry by land, we still need to fill in immigration card. Go enter the immigration building first then you can get the card from staff on right side near entrance. I do not understand why there is staff only to distribute this paper to tourists. They can just put paper somewhere so that each one can get by themselves….
You must bring your pen to write down immigration card. I think it’s better to fill in the form while waiting in queue for passport control.
I was a little bit nervous if I can get stamp for my visa run. No problem at all, I could get one smoothly.
SIM card on sale.
Let’s go back to bus after entering Thailand.
Welcome back to Thailand!
Thailand border takes more time than Lao boarder.
Road condition is much better in Thailand side, bus runs at 80km per hour.
14:44 pm, we finally arrived at Udon Thani bus terminal!
Lao immigration officer still begs for money
On Feb 2024, I used same bus route from Udon Thani to Vientiane. Nothing specific changed and whole trip was smooth and confortable execpt notorious immigration officer. Both time When I entered and exited from Laos, they asked 20 THB as bribe. This is really shame, I hope Lao government underatands and strictrily probihit from begging money fron tourist. Unless I am so reluctant to go back to Laos again.
At first when I entered Laos, young female officer said 20THB in thai after she stamped on my passport. Of course I just ignored and required my passport back. She returned it to me not pushing much. Well, I am a bit surprised even young person begs money.
When I departed from Laos, the sotuation was worse. It was male middle aged officer frowning. He also begged 20THB from me. I again said no and demended passport back. He insisted on his request. That was funny that a lady behind me (maybe Thai) came close to me then she told me that I need to pay 20 THB. I ignored both because I fully understand that it is bribe and I am not his father to provide money to him 55
Since he was not giving back my passport I extended my arm then grab it back. He looked fristrated when I did so. who cares!!? He should know I am more frustrated, pushed to pay for nothing at all.
Again I want all to know as of 2024 you don’t need to pay anything to immigration officer at Laos. Please just say no and require passport so they will stop.
I had same experience 4 straight time at Lao border. This will affect if I revist Laos again or not. I should consider Malaysia only to do visa run since Malaysia is much clean country they NEVER asked money at border.
Again Lao government should think well this situation and needs to educate officer I would say. If not, they are just disgracing country’s name widely in public giving unpleasant feelings to tourist.
Asking bribe is a shame. Just do among only people do not agree to this.