The purpose of this message is to let readers know about a few changes both on the Thai side of the border as well as the Laos side.
1. When going to Laos, the fee for a visa on arrival is still the same - 1,500 Baht. Visitors must receive the application form at window number one.
2. Once the application is filled out, then go back to window 1, submit it and pay your fee of 1,500.00 Baht.
3. Wait by window 3 to receive your passport with a 30-day Laos visa inside. Note! The system is both new and better because when you receive your passport, you are now stamped into Laos and your 30 days is clicking away slowly. Before the introduction of this new system, you had to go to the check-in counter and have your passport and visa stamped.
4. Now your are ready to look for your ride into town to probably go to the Thai Embassy. Get into your private minivan or whatever for about 500.00 Baht and quickly get to the Thai embassy before 12:00 noon to submit your application, 2 photos, passport copies and fee of 1,000.00 Baht for 60-day tourist visa. Please remember at this point that time is everything. Forget the beers, women and looking for the cheapest room and go directly to the Thai embassy QUICKLY to submit everything.
5. I submitted my application that I downloaded from the Internet and filled out while still in Bangkok. I paid my 1,000.00 Baht fee and received my receipt and I was told to come back the following day (Tuesday 13:00-15:00 06/01/2009) to receive my passport and visa. A little change here because in the past you would be able to get your passport and visa the following working day 14:00-16:00 but now 13:00-15:00.
Overall it appears that the Thai embassy is trying to become a bit more farang-friendly They actually have a separate bathroom for men and women and they've even put a new Canon photo copier right near the windows where you submit your application. I think this is a long overdue but a welcome change.