Laos visa regulations
What are the Laos visa regulations? These days it's easy to obtain a Lao visa. This page will inform you about visas for Laos.
So, what do you need? All visitors need a valid passport which has to be 6 month validity remaining and at least one page left. Visas can be obtained at the Lao embassies around the world.
See the list at the end of the page for your most convenient place to pick up a visa. (people from the Asean countries do not need a visa)
There are several places where you can get a visa on the spot. The Friendship Bridge and the Wattay airport have a service at the border. You will be able to get a 15 or 30 day visa here. Bring two passport photos and $30 in cash (it must be US dollar of Thai bath).
That said, in Savannakhet, Veun Kham and at Lao Bao I was charged US $45 (plus $3 stamp money).
Additional you will have to use the Friendship Bridge II in Savannakhet as foreigners are no longer allowed to use the ferry. If you bring your bicycle, you will have to arrange passage on the bridge with a pickup truck or bus as you are not allowed to cycle the Friendship Bridge II.
At Thakhek you can cross the Mekong but you can't bring your bicycle.
Further you can get visas at major entry points as Pakse, Huay Xai, Savannakhet. Minor border posts might be more difficult although not necessarily impossible.
The Lao border posts are:
Laos - Thailand
Laos - Cambodia
Laos - Vietnam
Laos - China
Extension of your visa is possible in Vientiane only. The costs are $3 per day. Your best bet is still to arrange an extension through an agency, easier and faster though a bit more expensive depending on the agency.
Overstaying your visa will cost you $5 per day.
So what does it mean for cyclists? It depends where you start your journey in Laos. It is possible to start in Pakse and cycle within 30 days to the Chinese border. This is a route I have done myself and had no problems with overstaying and still have enough days for rest and sightseeing.
Good places to pick up a Lao visa are Bangkok if you come from Thailand and do not cross the Friendship bridge. In China, you can easily pick up a Lao visa in the Carmelia Hotel in Kunming Yunnan. One day service is available. You have to enter Laos within 3 months after issuing the visa.
Other pages about Laos:
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North Laos is a beautiful land to cycle through. It's relaxed and tranquil. Plenty of minorities and little developed.
Map of Laos
The road to South Laos
Pakse and Champasak with Wat Phu are the obvious destinations together with the 4000 islands.
South Laos has also a beautiful small Khmer temple: Wat Phu.