finy

Is Laos as bad as everyone says?

55 posts in this topic

I have about enough for 18 months living expenses saved up, but I know I'll need to do lots of tourist visa runs in that time.

 

Is Vientiane and Sakhannet really as hard as everyone says, with flight bookings and carrying 20K in cash? (I have Thai bank account so statements would be fine)

 

I'm so pissed off the gyms and crap and wifi so bad in Cambodia I can't watch movies lol

 

But I'm put off by all the hassle it sounds like.

 

I'm I just reading all the bad reports and taking them into consideration too much, or is it really beginning to get impossible to stay in Thailand for more than a few months.

 

I'd be happy with 2x single entry tourist visa from each Laos embassy if the process is smooth and bank statement is enough.

 

Cheers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you in Thailand now? Why didn't you get a METV which would given you 9 months I believe

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bad as in getting rejected at border of V without 20k cash or having visa declined at S without onward flight and itinerary.

 

lots of stories on here recently.

 

im already in Asia.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since 2015 I have had two single entry tourist visas from Laos and another two from Penang.

So yes it is possible.

 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, JackThompson said:

Over a year ago I stayed at the La Ong Dao - no issues for me, other than the WiFi was (typically) poor.  Granted, it's a boring area - but dealing with Lao tuk-tuks on my previous visit, staying further away, was a nightmare.  Next time in Vientiane, I will be staying by the river and renting a bicycle so I can get to the embassy without the rude, dishonest, overpriced tuk-tuks - best of both worlds.

Last trip to Savanahket, the tuk-tuk driver from the consulate to my guesthouse literally berated me the entire journey for going to the "wrong guesthouse" - because it was not where he had a commission-deal.  Each time I said, "Thank you, but please take me to X guesthouse," he became more angry.  Price to this (close) guesthouse was agreed in advance - after his lying "Oh, that is a long way" story was shot-down with the map on my phone.   Don't let them touch your bags until you have a firm-price agreed on to you destination.

The only other problem with Laos is that the food is terribly overpriced - even local food.  Straight off the menu - 2x+ the Thai (Bangkok / Pattaya) price for Lao/Issan dishes.  

 

Those are 2 different consulates with separate rules.  Savanahket requires the Bank-Statement, flight out, plus hotel-booking or rental-contract.  Vientiane does not require these (for now), but is quick to put the "This person frequently travels to Thailand on Tourist Visas" stamp in your passport - usually on your 3rd or 4th Tourist Visa from Laos - even if some visas in their "count" are years ago.  For this reason, I save Vientiane until the end, when I am about to get a new passport for lack of available pages, anyway. 


Penang, Phnom Penh, Hong Kong, and Vietnam are other good options for Thai Visas - and your goal should be to spread them out.  Each consulate has its own requirements.  If you don't have a long visa-history in Thailand, I would suggest starting with Myanmar - an easy place to get a Visa, but requires returning via-air to Thailand (absent a hairy road-trip) - which is somewhat perilous due to the consequences of rejection at Thai Airports for longer-stayers.

It sounds like you are in Cambodia now - so you could get your first Tourist-Visa from an agent like the one in the LuckyLucky Moto shop.  They accepted my Thai bank-book in lieu of flights, twice; a $1000 USD equivalent balance was recommended.

 

The one caveat - things could change at any time on staying in Thailand on Tourist Visas.  Your 18-mo plan is no problem, if things remain as they are.  But have a bug-out plan, be prepared to lose a rental-deposit, carry any essentials with you on your visa-run trips, and watch this forum - being careful not to be taken-in with false alarms (by trolls and/or those pushing expensive visas).

 

My experience with WiFi in any country at guesthouses is that quality is highly variable - usually poor.   One jerk doing bittorrent wide-open, with a zillion simultaneous connections - or several with YouTube "HD" steams - and it's useless.  No guesthouse I've heard of runs a good QoS (quality of service) router-system to limit the # of connections AND total-bandwidth per connected-client - much less something smart enough to re-write all YouTube requests to pull in the smaller, 360p stream.  Many are essentially "sharing" a single residential-bandwidth connection.

 

To fully-solve the Internet issue in Cambodia requires getting a land-line installed - which requires a year contact.  You can also buy 4G data-plans for a fraction of the Thai cost / Gigabyte.  I have found Cambodian Internet service to be good, in general, due to competition.  If one 4g company is getting flaky, switch to one of the others until the 1st buys more upstream bandwidth - which they will (due to the competition).

 

If coming to Thailand, I would suggest renting a condo with a hard-line (ethernet) coming in for 600 -> 700 Baht/mo - hooked to your wifi router.  Even this lower-priced package tends to be good-quality - about 29 days/mo - with 4G used only as backup when something goes wrong.  A condo may also save ~50% on the electricity-rate vs guesthouses.  Assuming you like air-con, these two features more than cover the difference in a guesthouse's seemingly lower "rent" per/mo rate.

Regarding wifi, in the most remote places in Vietnam it was perfect, Thailand, Malaysia and Laos ok too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

think snookyville in cambodia is better and easy visas.

 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ID: 15   Posted (edited)

Thanks for your reply Jack Thompson. I agree, the tuk tuk drivers in Vientiane are the most unpleasant I have come across. My last experience, last week, I payed one 150 baht to take me to a destination about 2 or 3 K's distance. We'd only travelled about 1 K, and he started complaining like hell that it was too far, and then driving erratically in his childish and petulant frustration, we just about got there. I threw the money at him and called him a buffalo.

In fact, I often walk from the embassy down to the river, or back. It takes 30 mins. Take an umbrella to keep the sun off.

The many reasons the La Ong Dao is nightmare can be read on trip advisor. I would add to the many complaints there: the general noise and tiredness of the place, depressing windowless rooms, loud Chinese tour groups and their huge buses coming and going at all hours, and the rancid brothel at the back of car park, with 3 or 4 nasty looking pimps loitering around outside. Really, not a nice place.

Edited by Jeremy50
spelling
2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have always enjoyed a few days in Vientiane.  It's quiet, laid-back and there is enough to see to keep you busy for a couple of days if you want to do the tourist thing.  If alternatively you simply want to kick back and enjoy some nice coffee, wine, Western food (particularly French), Vientiane makes a very nice change.  The city centre is small, flat and traffic is nothing like Bangkok so it's easy to get around on foot

 

If you don't like quiet or aren't looking for a quiet break then Vientiane might not be for you.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ID: 18   Posted (edited)

I love Luang Prabang but for a break from my residence here in LOS.  Vientaine also was nice but we too were put into am overpriced crappo hotel, but not that one.  Perhaps it is a different world for those still trying to live their lives on b2b visas. I would not relish that lifestyle and am glad I have other options.  Good luck and always have a plan B and a plan C as a second backup.  

PS.  Taxi bribing goes on everywhere along with gift shop bribing and massage parlour and brothel bribing ( so I am told) 555.

Edited by The Deerhunter
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why do people seem to think that having 20,000 in cash money at one time is some tremendous hurdle? There was a thread awhile back that was funny as hell. Some dude pretending to be rich but is the discerning type of millionaire that never carries cash.

 

So they kicked his "rich" ass out like some bum on the street. lol I guess he didn't have any credit on his phone to call some of his powerful friends. 

 

 

If you can't be bothered to carry $600 in real money you should just be banned automatically for a year. Maybe in that time you can scrape such large amounts together.

 

In all seriousness this is about as low as you can set the bar. Heck I even know some bars that would require that much cash in order to be welcome there. 

 

 

 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, anotheruser said:

Why do people seem to think that having 20,000 in cash money at one time is some tremendous hurdle?

 

Because it makes you an obvious target for robbery.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ID: 21   Posted (edited)

Is  Vientiane still a nightmare when it comes to queuing for the visa and all the queue jumpers? I went there once and swore never to go again. The city itself is very pleasant. Nobody forces anyone to use the tuk tuks as buses, cycling and walking are all good options.

Edited by edwardandtubs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, edwardandtubs said:

Because it makes you an obvious target for robbery.

Is that really the going excuse these days? If you feel it is that risky to carry $600 in cash you probably are safer staying home anyway. lol 

 

As far as reasonable excuses go that is simply pathetic.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, anotheruser said:

Is that really the going excuse these days? If you feel it is that risky to carry $600 in cash you probably are safer staying home anyway. lol 

As far as reasonable excuses go that is simply pathetic.


Not at all pathetic.  Border-areas are magnets for scammers and thieves of every sort.  I carry traveler's checks instead of cash, and use a money-belt near any national borders.  My apparent "wallet" has nothing in it but enough cash to get a thief his next drug-fix plus some useless business-cards so it looks genuine. 

Now the thieves know we have to have 20K in Cash - a HUGE amount of money for people in Laos or Cambodia.  Why would that policy NOT be a mugger-magnet?  Now, thieves may not buy my "fake wallet" maneuver, because they know I have a many months total-salary (in their world) tucked away somewhere, so will have to show them my traveler's checks, which they will likely steal, making a hassle for me to get them reimbursed.

 

What exactly would be the problem with me showing the IOs 100K+ Baht in a Thai Bank book, instead of carrying around Cash like a sucker?  But if I try that, they will not allow me to go to an ATM and print a bank-balance to prove things (a few scant meters from the booth), and reject my entry under known-false pretenses.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, JackThompson said:


Not at all pathetic.  Border-areas are magnets for scammers and thieves of every sort.  I carry traveler's checks instead of cash, and use a money-belt near any national borders.  My apparent "wallet" has nothing in it but enough cash to get a thief his next drug-fix plus some useless business-cards so it looks genuine. 

Now the thieves know we have to have 20K in Cash - a HUGE amount of money for people in Laos or Cambodia.  Why would that policy NOT be a mugger-magnet?  Now, thieves may not buy my "fake wallet" maneuver, because they know I have a many months total-salary (in their world) tucked away somewhere, so will have to show them my traveler's checks, which they will likely steal, making a hassle for me to get them reimbursed.

 

What exactly would be the problem with me showing the IOs 100K+ Baht in a Thai Bank book, instead of carrying around Cash like a sucker?  But if I try that, they will not allow me to go to an ATM and print a bank-balance to prove things (a few scant meters from the booth), and reject my entry under known-false pretenses.

 

The problem with that is that is not what they ask for. Can you refer me to the stories of people being robbed out of 20,000 baht at the borders?

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

BANGKOK 26 April 2017 11:12
Sponsors