I am entering Laos from Vietnam (Tay Trang). Do you recommend applying for the visa in Hanoi 's consulate beforehand? I have heard that it is more expensive in Hanoi and there is also the hassle of dealing with consulates and probably having to come back in one or two days to collect the passport. Obviously, I prefer to get it on arrival (=easier) but I don't know if there is something I am missing and should know about (apart form the $ and the photograph).
#1 gorkreg has been a member since 20/10/2011. Posts: 15
Either will work just fine. Personally I like to have a visa in hand when hitting the Laos border. The Laos borders are particularly - how should I put it - frazzling. There are no lines, if it's busy everyone pushes and cuts in front of each other to get their passport stamped, and the Lao immigration workers hardly communicate with the travellers... They just take the passports and wave you away with a grunt, then the passports eventually come out another window down the line. It can be a little, well, frazzling, and the process is certainly easier if you already have the visa.
That said, applying at the border will work, and it will at least save you the money of going back and forth to the Laos embassy in Hanoi. However, when I got a Laos visa in Da Nang it was the exact same price as it would have been at the border, so although I'm not positive I would think that the cost of the actual visa would be the same.
Hope that helps.
Last year a few of us went from Vietnam to Laos through the Nam Can border crossing (very beautiful trip by the way) and brought the Visa on arrival. It was very straight forward and easy (even with our motorbikes!), and the staff we very helpful.
We found that some companies were charging up to $20US extra for pre-buying a visa!
But what ever you are more comfortable with.