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  1. #26
    Thailand Expat Hampsha's Avatar
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    Update: no real problems going through to Savannekhet and getting the visa at the consolate. Couldn't have been more than 25-30 people who did visas there. The only problems was the overcharging. At the Lao side of the bridge they charged me 1500 baht for a visa. Talking to a German guy who went through a bit before me I found out he paid 1300 baht. When I did it, I wasn't sure of the price. There were no prices listed on the walls. Just before you go through to enter the country there is a little room where there are two people. You get the visa-on-arrival form there. After filling it out, you go back to the same window and pay. It's better to use dollars. There are two commie looking officials in that room. One takes your passport at the window and the other commie bigwig sits in the back and signs it. The fat chink commie bigwig in the back reminded me of Mao himself. He was fat and white white chinese with a look just like Mao or that north korean leader. When I saw these officials, I immediately woke up and realised that Laos is still a shit hole. After crossing the border, my feeling was confirmed. I took a tuktuk to the embassy (200baht) standard price. No problems doing that. The embassy is open in the morning for receiving applicatiions from 8:30-11am. I picked mine up the next day. You pick it up from 2-4pm. Anyways, the window to pick them up opens at 2pm. There's a nice bar around the corner near the river. Lao big bottle were 8,000 baht. It was one of the better places there but still a bit dumpy.

    Generally, Laos was dirty and confusing in terms of prices. People tried to overcharge a lot. I didn't see any modern style convenience stores there. It was hard finding food in general. I did manage to find a place to try one of those IndoChinese-style Baguette sandwiches. I couldn't find Lao coffee anywhere. Even our hotel didn't have it. I didn't see one Internet shop. People generally weren't that friendly like Thai people. The one person that I spoke with the most was a Lao woman from Texas visiting relatives.



    We stayed at this hotel. It's the Soulinsouk. Nice inside with a bath but no hot water for the bath. About 40 quite fuzzy TV channels mostly SEA's channels but it had RT and MSNBC which came in clear. It's close to the main market and bus station. The clean carpeted air-con room was 720baht. And you get two bottles of water with that. In the morning, they have a very simple two-choice buffet breakfast. I think you will be happy enough with the hotel but the surroundings are barren in terms of other restaurants. You will have to walk a bit to find anything. The only way to get around is by the lao-style motortrike taxis. From this hotel to the consulate we paid 80 baht. There are a couple hotels not to far from the consulate but they were booked. Today (Thursday Oct 13) are the biggest longboat races in the area. The consulate is closed due to the events.





    The main market has the usual Lao crap and a crappy food market. It was depressing. I just kept thinking that Laos is fcked up while I was there. It's a sleepy town mostly due to government corruption in my view. Lao beer is available everywhere but they had a local beer called BeerSavan at the hotel. Savan is one of the many names of the town. There were loads of beggars here and there and only about three locals spoke to me in English the whole time I was there. As it is, Savannakhet seems to be going nowhere. It really has a lot of potential as a laid-back tourist destination but my guess is the government is keeping investors away with its corruption, etc.


    Border Parking on Thai side:
    As for parking, I paid 150 baht a day parked under the roof as you see in the earlier picture on this tread. That parking place is just 100 meters from the border. They have restrooms at the parking area and just before you go through Thai immigration. You'll need to buy a bus ticket which is on the left prior to leaving Thailand. The ticket costs 50 baht. You have to buy another for the bus back after you do you Thai visa on the Lao side. It's 50 baht.



    In conclusion, I would say doing a visa there is smooth enough just don't expect anything great in terms of entertainment, foods, etc while you are there. Most foreigners seem to go and come back to Thailand the next day. I've been to Vientiene many times and as boring and run-down as that is this place is worse.


    Just a note. That's just a pic fromthe net. It still looks basically like that but there's a bit more plants in the front. The hotel has a unique amount of sculptures inside and outside of its walls. Great for pictures.

  2. #27
    Thailand Expat Hampsha's Avatar
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    Marmite mentioned that the Lao dutyfree shopping at the border was shit. Well, he is absolutely correct. The border shopping center he posted pictures of looks closed already. They do have a few vendors sitting on the sidewalk selling the usual stuff. You can buy a bottle of whiskey or wine or Lao beer there for no too much at the last minute. The main shop is closed.

  3. #28
    Member IceSpike's Avatar
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    No Way, The Main Shop is open!

  4. #29
    Thailand Expat Hampsha's Avatar
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    I didn't walk over but from where I got off the trike it looked empty. There were about four different small venders selling the stuff here and there at the Lao side. Maybe I just saw another empty building there. When did you go through? I went through yesterday.

  5. #30
    Can I still change this?
    Bogon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hampsha
    they charged me 1500 baht for a visa. Talking to a German guy who went through a bit before me I found out he paid 1300 baht.
    Different nationalities get charged different rates for entry into Laos. In dollars I know it's $35 for U.K, $30 for Yanks and something like $45 for Canadians.

    --UPDATE--

    Just copied this off a site...

    The 30 day visa on arrival in the Lao PDR is available at all ports of entry in Laos including the airports of the main cities. Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Pakse. You should try to have one photo. Visa cost ranges from $20 (China) to $42 (Canada). Sweden is $31, $35 for the USA, UK and most of Europe, $40 for India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and $30 for Australia and other countries. The full list is on display at the Visa Application window. Japanese visitors to Lao no longer need a visa and ASEAN country passport holders should not have to pay for a 15 day entry stamp. But you don't argue with an immigration official, even if you think he may be putting the money in his pocket!
    Last edited by Bogon; 14-10-2011 at 08:38 AM.
    Black diamonds? I shit 'em.

  6. #31
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    Some things in Laos cost more than Thailand. Its best to use Kip. Tho saying that, its part of the problem coz they like to round things up. If you used Kip it would cost 10,000 for the tuk tuk from the bus station to the consulate. 200 baht is a lot.

    The hotel where you stayed is in a bit of a dead area. Going south about 6 blocks you would find a street with plenty of cafes,internet ,convenience stores & baguettes for sale. You can find baguettes all over town. They are for sale at the bus terminal also.
    In the evening there is food all along the riverfront. Down near the hospital has the best views. Some of the heritage buildings around the square have been renovated Luang Prabang style & have fancy western food.

    I've always found Lao people to be friendly unlike Surin people. They are a bit shy but if you say hello to them they are keen to talk. Plenty of friendly young women. If they don't speak English they will be able to understand Isarn.

    There is a fair bit of development on the eastern side of town & on the highway east of town has big places like the Hyundai plant.

  7. #32
    Thailand Expat Hampsha's Avatar
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    Maybe you should leave Thailand and live in Laos,Mike. Sounds like you like it. I hope you don't live in Surin because obviously the people here don't like your kind.

  8. #33
    Member IceSpike's Avatar
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    Hampsha How was your trip? Is the parking price the same? I am going in the Morning. Same Rules?
    Leave my Car for three days. I always have fun in Savannakhet.

  9. #34
    Thailand Expat Hampsha's Avatar
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    The parking was 150 a day (for me). No problems on the trip but as I said I often felt overcharged and the food was generally crappy. If Mike is right, there might be a better place to stay than where I went. I just didn't see it. I was with my wife and daughter so we didn't travel around too much. I would suggest you try the new Beer Lao Gold. I guess it's new 12,000 kip. Also look for that local beer BeerSavan. It was available in the hotel above for 20baht a can. The hotel I mention was super clean with carpeting and excellent bedding if you are looking for something like that. There was a korean beef place about 200 meters down on the left when you walk out of the hotel on the opposite side of the street if you want a place to have a meal that's reasonable there.


    When we went they had the big boat races on Thursday. Not sure if they packed up that market, if not there would be a little activity there.

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