Visa runs Thailand

So, you’ve decided to stay on the island or even Thailand a little longer ey?

If you’re like me and had your heart stolen by this beautiful tropical paradise island, it would go without saying that you’ll want to stay longer or in some cases would have to stay longer due to your diving courses.

Scuba Diving Ko Tao

There are many countries’ passport holders that get a 30 day entry visa into Thailand and there are many websites to check if you’re country’s passport allows for this but more often than not, you should get a 30 day entry visa.

Yes yes, one can always apply for a tourist visa which allows you to stay in the country for up to 60 days but I’ll be honest and say that the way I travel, plans tend to change in a moment’s notice.

This is why I’ll explain to you the process of extending your visa as well as the process of a visa run.

If you decided to stay in Thailand longer than a month on a 30 day entry visa, the easiest and most affordable option would be to simply extend your visa at an embassy.
From Koh Tao, there are two ways of doing this;

One way would be to take the earliest ferrie from Koh Tao to Koh Samui which leaves at 5-AM and go to the embassy yourself, filling out a simple paperwork document, waiting a few hours and getting the afternoon ferrie back to Koh Tao. This whole trip should cost you around 2800 Thai Baht with the cost of the ferrie ticket, Visa extension and other sundries such as food and drink.

The option for those who want less stress with more convenience and time would be to go to the travel agency in Mae-Haad called "Island Travel", there you would fill out a simple document, give an I.D photo along with your passport and pay around 3700 Baht and then simply waiting 2 or 3 days to get your passport back with another 30 day visa.

Most travel websites for any country would tell you to never hand your passport over to anyone but in this case I promise you that you have absolutely nothing to fear when doing your visa extension through Island Travel as they are very reputable most “locals” and divers on the island use Island Travel’s services regularly.

Like I mentioned before, my travel plans tend to change very easily as I first wanted to stay 2 months and then 3 months…or as the case was this year, and I say this with some regret Sangsom and HongThong made me miss my planned visa extension day, I still somehow needed to stay in Thailand another month.

Yet again, we are talking about the lovely and super helpful ladies at Island Travel who saved my … and saved me money, as each day overstayed on your visa costs 500 Baht.
They suggested a border visa run for me.

Side-Note: You can extend your visa once and then you can do a land crossing, but thereafter, you need to leave the country by aeroplane to “renew” your visa.

This border crossing visa run costed me around 2000 Baht and would entail me leaving for Myanmar – “Burma” the next day on the early morning ferrie to Chumphon on the mainland, from there, me and other divers all hopped in an Air-conditioned van to the Burmese border, this took around 6 hours of driving so I highly recommend you to bring food and drinks.

Once we had crossed the border between Thailand and Myanmar, we first had to get stamped out of Thailand, from the immigration office we took a small boat to the Andoman resort in Burma to get stamped in and then out again.

There is a small catch to remember about re-entering Thailand and that is that it is possible for the immigration office to ask for proof of onward travel out of Thailand (Plane ticket) as well as 20 000 Thai Baht in cash or proof of sufficient funds.

Once more we went back to the Thai Immigration office to get stamped back into Thailand with a fresh 30 day visa.

Queue the dreadfully long drive back to Chumphon on the mainland where we arrived at 7-PM and had to kill time until 10-PM that night when the night ferrie would take us back to Koh Tao where we would arrive 4 or 5 O’clock in the morning.
I suggest a light snack and a couple of beers for this leg of the journey.