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Friday, 8 October 2010

Day 167-171: How not to enter Thailand (visa fiasco II)

What's that you say? Surely after the resolutions made back in July regarding the Vietnamese visa fiasco Team 365 would not be so stupid as to make a visa-based mistake again...erm...well...we did.

SO what we were sure of when entering Thailand is that when you cross the border by land you are given 15 days gratis (thank you very much you lovely Thais) and then one must extend this visa while remaining on Thai soil. What we thought was that this extension would be easy to do and fairly priced; this is where we went wrong.

Once you have received your free 15-day pass you can extend your visa ONLY by 7 days and ONLY once and all for the outrageous fee of 47USD. There are loopholes, though these loopholes involve doing "border runs" i.e. traveling into Burma for about half an hour just so you can turn around and get another 15 days for free on re-entry. Unfortunately this can only be done at 2 specific borders (one in the south and one in the north) and you, of course, have to pay to get to and from the borders.

So we were left with a few options;
1) Numerous border runs around a carefully-planned itinerary to make sure we were indeed near enough to the borders at the right time.
2) Fly out of and then back into the country (those entering by air, as apposed to land, are given 30 days free)
3) Go back to Vientiane (Laos) and visit the Thai embassy there where we can get a 2-month visa for free

We opted for #3 - of course this is more than mildly annoying since it involves 2 night buses and takes 4 days in total and we have already been to Vientiane, stayed right around the corner from the embassy, and could have saved all this hassle if we had - as we resolved to - been more visa-efficient the first time round.

But we're back on Thai soil now and after what I have been trying to dub "a city break", our trip to Vientiane wasn't all that bad. We love the city and we met some fantastic people - a special thanks to Daniel (of frequent border-run experience) here for making everything so easy :)

Now...may the Thailand adventure continue!


  1. I can imagine your faces and discussion and resolve and yeah I would have done the same...hope this is definitely the last of the visa fiasco's! Dad loved talking to you today thank you - I am really pleased you called - Dad said that despite the arduous journey to and from Laos you sounded great and looked really well - what's happened to the tan????
    lots of love mum

  2. Wouldn't it be good to hear that you can process your Vietnamese visa online from the comfort of your personal computer? It would be very convenient for those who need to obtain one.