Laos – Thailand: Free ticket

26 Jan , 2019  

You don’tget much for free these days, especially as a foreigner in Laos.

Recently when I crossed the Lao-Thai border across the Friendship bridge by bus, from Vientiane to Nong Khai I was surprised.

It’s a simple crossing but I imagine it’s confusing for “1st time crossers” as there is little signage to what to do and much of it makes little sense.

Leaving the Laos side you have to line up buy a ticket. I can only describe it as a departure tax. Lao pay 1,000 kip and foreigners 10,000 kip. I waited in line, handed over my passport, and got a ticket back with 0.00 kip! I wasn’t going to complain but I have no idea why. I can only imagine last time they charged me double and it’s recorded in the computer? The mind boggles that such a susyem would exist.

I felt like I one on that one. I spent 4 days in Thailand and then returned. Leaving Thailand was painless as usual. Confusion reigned on the Lao side.

All seemed easy at first, hand the passport to immigration. The lady was delightful. Past immigration had stamped a page taking up too much room. This lady kindly spoke with me and explained that she would try and squeeze her stamp beside the offending past stamp as to not waste another page – passports fill up fast in Laos. Done, easy, now on my way.

I walked straight past another passport check point that is usually not there and there was no sign, so I returned to have my passport checked a seocnd time.

Right, now on through the gate to catch up with the others. Nope I got send back because I hadn’t paid a ticket for the immigration “Overtime Fee”.

So into that line I went (an unmarked desk temporarily placed off to the side, out of sight). All paid up I managed to make it into Laos.

Well I “won one and lost one”. I guess I’d call it “Arrival Tax”. It makes for an unique experience and I’ll be better prepared next time.

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