I am currently in Chiang Mai, Thailand and plan to travel over land to Laos and into Vietnam.
I have read some mixed info on visas in the forum and would really appreciate if anyone could tell me whether I need a visa for both Laos and Vietnam and also where I can obtain the visas from while I am in Thailand?
Thank you for your help!
Laos you should be able to get one at the border. Vietnam only if you fly in so you will need to get one before arrival if overland. Take some small photos of yourself, photostats of your passport and allow some time.
In Thailand there are travel agents who may be able to get you those visas for a fee.
For me I'd sooner pick up a cheap Air Asia flight rather than spend ages in a crowded minivan.
You can get visa for Laos at the border - as Cyberia mentioned - just make sure you have the exact amount in US$, because if you pay in thai baht you will pay much more.
You can get visa for Vietnam in Bangkok in Thailand, or Vientian, Vengvieng, Luang Prabang in Laos, easiest with an agent.
ATMs in Laos are rare and withdrawal limit is low. So, best is to exchange thai baht or US$ in any big tourist town (such as the above), or to find an ATM that allows higher limit for withdrawal in Vientian.
Withdrawals and US$ exchange are widely available in Vietnam. If you want to exchange some money back to hard currency, you can do that at gold shops. But, many of them will try to cheat your money, so make sure you get the right change and be aware of counterfeit banknotes.
You can find exchange rates on xe.com