Bangkok visa - accurate and up-to-date information on visas for staying Bangkok

Bangkok visa run

Upon arrival in Thailand every tourist who doesn’t make arrangements beforehand has their passports stamped with a 30-day entrance visa into the country and that often is more than enough for those who only have two weeks to spend enjoying the country before returning to home. But, foreigners living here without a non-immigrant visa, or visitors who want to stay for more than 40 days (you can get a 10 day extension at the immigration office for 1,900 baht) have to make regular runs to Cambodia or Malaysia to renew their visas, and this is how you do it.

Bangkok visa run to Cambodia

The nearest border-point and the most convenient for a Bangkok visa run is the Thai town of Aranyaprathet , which borders Poipet , Cambodia. Getting here can take anywhere from 3-5 hours depending on where you depart from. For those living in central and northern parts of the city, regular air-conditioned buses leave to Aranyaprathet on a regular basis from Bangkok’s Mor Chit (northern) bus terminal. These buses usually take 4-5 hours, and you will be dropped off in downtown Aranyaprathet. You can then take a tuk-tuk (cost 60 baht) to the border to make your visa run.

For a few extra hundred baht you can get a ride directly to the border and not have to worry about any of the visa processing. Companies providing this service, such as the popular Jack Golf, will pick you up at a predetermined destination on Sukhumvit Road , drive you to the border and you can sit inside of an air-conditioned casino while your visa is processed for you. All you have to worry about is finishing your buffet plate and the cost for this is usually about 2200 baht.

If you do decide on the visa run from Bangkok yourself method (it should save you about 500 baht on the casino special) there are a few things you should keep in mind. The moment you arrive, you are almost guaranteed to be greeted by a ‘guide’ (i.e. a local living near the border who speaks a bit of English) who will assist you through your visa run, but you can easily do it yourself. Their fee is usually no more than 100 baht so first-timers might be better off using them.

Once you’ve had your passport ‘exit’ stamped by Thailand immigration you cross over into Poipet. The entry cost is 1000 baht, or US$30. You need to provide a passport sized photo of yourself – failure to bring one of these adds in an extra 100 baht.

A Bangkok visa run made to the Aranyaprathet border is preferable to the costlier alternatives along the border between Trat and Koh Kong, yet occasionally they will test you by throwing an additional charge your way. Another popular charge is an extra fee for not having spent one night in Cambodia. This is ridiculous and the guards will usually not even blink if you smilingly tell them that you’ve been here before and know that there is no such charge.

Bangkok - Penang visa run

The Malaysian border is a heck of journey south and much further than Cambodia, but there is a Thai consulate in Penang and it you wish to get a non-immigrant B visa (which can be extended for up to a year – three monthly installment) or extend the non-immigrant B visa, you will need to go to Penang.

Flying to Penang is the most practical way to get travel the more-than 1000kms south and with the introduction of direct flights by Airasia for 1000 baht, the train has become a last resort. All the same, there are several departures a day from Bangkok ’s Hualampong station but only the 15:15 departure has sleeper carriages and it arrives in Hat Yai at 07:15 the following morning and goes as far as Butterworth in Malaysia from where there are frequent minibus taxis from the station. A 22:50 departure has reclining seats only and is a bit faster but less comfortable and arrives at 12:00 in Hat Yai. Make sure you book in advance for these. From here there are hourly minibus departures that take you directly to Penang in about three hours.

Penang is by far the most pleasant visa run destination and it’s worth spending a few days here to soak up the distinctive Chinese character of the island, explore its hill station, relax on its beaches, and check out the ancient naval placements and colonial suburbs.

The Thai consulate here opens from 8am to 2pm Monday to Saturday and there’s usually a queue first thing in the morning. It is located at No. 1, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman - which is a 10 ringgit (120 baht) taxi ride.

The Penang immigration officials can be notoriously sticky, which is nothing unusual for Thai immigration officials and the process seems to work much better if you secure the services of a local ‘agent’ which can be found by asking around on Chulia street in central Georgetown. You will need to ensure you have all the necessary documentation and photograph plus 110 Ringgit (1300 baht) and the processing takes two days. Spend a day sightseeing and return the following day at 14:00. It’s a good idea to make an enquiry the following morning as they often find vague excuses to reject documents (meaning: ‘bribe me’) and you may have to go off and arrange for extra documents to be faxed to your guest house (some of the book shops on Chulia street will oblige).

If all works out as planned you can then catch a late afternoon taxi back to Hat Yai and connect with the last overnight sleeper train to Bangkok leaving at 18:20. This same train leaves from Butterworth in Malasia at 14:20 , but you can get to Hat Yai quicker by minibus taxi directly from Georgetown. There are also buses leaving Hat Yai later should you miss this. If you are flying back its advisable to give yourself three days in Penang just in case the consulate gives you the runaround (expecially if you have a budget ticket that can’t be changed).

There are also cheap flights available with Air Asia to and from Hat Yai.

Bangkok - A-One Hotel
Amazing Thailand
Bangkok weather and Thailand exchange rates
Hot Gossip - Join our Forum
  • 1stopphuket.com
  • 1stoppattaya.com
  • 1stopsamui.com
  • 1stopkrabi.com
  • 1stopchiangmai.com
  • 1stopthailand.com
  • 1stopmalaysia.net
  • 1stopsingapore.net
  • 1stopphilippines.net
  • 1stopvietnam.com
  • 1stopbali.com
Virtual Guide
Free Banner Trial
Book hotel room here