The Ultimate Thai Visa Guide

Note, due to Covid and travel restrictions in Thailand and Southeast Asia many of these Thai visa run options are not available and due to the changing policies and restrictions we cannot update on a regular basis. These are otherwise the best pre-Covid and possibly post-pandemic options for Thai visa runs, and it’s best to check current visa and travel information before booking travel or organising visa applications outside of Thailand.

Most western tourists will be able to enter Thailand without a visa and are given a ‘visa exemption’ stamp on arrival guaranteeing a 30-day stay in the country (note, this is different to the “Thai visa on arrival” which non-western countries may need).

However, for longer stays in Thailand, a Thai visa application may be necessary before arrival, at least this is the smarter option in the long run. And typically a Thailand Tourist Visa works best, as it will be the only option for most tourists to Thailand, and gives 60-days in Thailand (2 months) and up to 90-days with an extension (3 months).

However the Thailand Visa Application should be made outside of Thailand before arrival, through Thai embassies which are found in most major capital cities around the world. So here I aim to share some of the best visa run options for those in Thailand or travelling in Asia, through my personal experiences with probably hundreds of visa stamps, and 3 different types of visas, over the past 15 years. I’ve been doing Thai visa runs and visa applications a lot. But it is still best to check on any Thai visa news.

Thai Visa Application Essentials

Most Thai embassies and consuls will be similar in the visa applications (at least in Visa Runs in Asia) where it normally takes 2 days for the Thailand Visa Application, handing in your passport and visa application documents the first morning, and then pick it up again the following afternoon (although this may not always be the case). And all Thai Visa applications should be completed on weekdays (given Thai embassies are closed on weekends) and they will also be closed on local holidays as well as the Thai public holidays. So again it’s best to check this before booking travel.

The Thai Tourist Visa

The necessary documents for a Thai Tourist Visa Application are similar again throughout Asia, but it’s best to check individual embassies before travelling or making any visa application. Note, the Thailand visa application form can be found on relevant Thai embassy websites, but I normally just fill them out at the embassy buildings, where they’re handed out for free. Otherwise the Thai Tourist Visa Requirements and documents are shown below:

Thailand Visa Requirements

  • Passport or travel document with validity not less than 6 months
  • Thai visa application form completely filled out
  • Recent (4x6cm) photograph(s) of the applicant
  • Evidence of onward travel (air or bus ticket out of Thailand)
  • Evidence of adequate finance (20,000 Baht per person and 40,000 Baht per family)

Thailand Visa Fees: 1,500 Baht

At least around 1,500 Baht. But Thai Visa fees do change slightly between embassies, which is more to do with how payment is accepted, although the fee does as well. For example, at the Thai Embassy in Penang (Malaysia), it is 150RM visa fee, at the Royal Thai Consulate in Ho Chi Minh it is $40 USD, and in the Royal Thai Embassy Vientiane (Laos) it is 1,000 Thai Baht. So be sure to check the finer detail of Thai Visa Applications before travelling.

Visa Application Advice

Note, I am married to a Thai national, and have millions of Bahts in property in Thailand, but I still enter on Thai tourist visa because I travel a lot. However I still need to show the exact documents above, and I was snubbed recently for not having onward travel. Because Thailand visa applications are now stricter than ever. However, it should be okay to book a cheap bus over the Lao border (as I did), and if you have two online accounts with overdrafts on either, it should be easy to transfer adequate funds to one. Although I’d be worried for those travelling to Thailand with less than 20,000 Baht.

Back-to-Back Visas?

However, unlike in the past, it is no longer advised to travel on back-to-back visa exempt stamps to Thailand. As it was once simple to just cross the border into neighbouring countries, only to return again for a quick 30-day visa exempt stamp on the return. While this is possible, it is not advisable without at least remaining outside of the country for a short time, before returning. And these days 30-days stamps are only really  (15 days by land borders). So for longer stays, it is best to apply for Thai tourist visas at Thai Consulates or Embassies abroad, where the typical Thai tourist visa gives 60 days in Thailand, with the  (giving 90 days in total). And this means travelling to larger towns and cities in neighbouring countries, staying a night or two to have the visa processed at the embassies, which is best to do midweek given Thai embassies are closed on weekends and holidays.

Visa Extensions

Alternatively, if already in Thailand with a 30-day visa exempt stamp (or other Thai visas), it is possible to extend this current visa stay by 30-days at immigration offices within Thailand. I have done this a bunch of time in Bangkok (visa extension in Bangkok guide here) as well as in provincial immigration offices (as here).

Cheapest Thai Visa Runs from Bangkok?

So the first thing I would do before anything is to check SkyScanner to see what cheap flights are going, as there will almost always be cheap low-cost flights travelling from Bangkok to surrounding southeast Asia. Which are often cheaper than buses, trains and visas for nearby borders. But this post otherwise sums up the easier and cheaper Thai visa runs from Bangkok, which I have personally covered, and again I have been to Penang, Ho Chi Minh and Savannakhet on Thai visa runs this year (2017). And while I would go into the ins-and-outs of the Thai visa itself, it does change occasionally, and varies at embassies but proof of onward travel and finances maybe necessary these days. Otherwise this post outlines some of the closer Thai embassies, along with cheap easy Thai visa runs from Bangkok, starting with my personal preference. Although our decision does centre a lot on food 😀

Penang Malaysia (Thai Consulate Visa Application)

More recently I have been living near the borders of Laos and Cambodia, yet I still choose Penang for my Thai visa runs, which is mostly because it’s stress-free, easy and it has the least complications. It is also the only border neighbouring Thailand where a visa is not necessary for entry.

For travel to Penang, the overnight train from Bangkok to Butterworth (1,200 Baht each way) is my usual route (shown in the video above) which is a relaxed and enjoyable journey (at least to me). At the border there will be a quick stop for the passport stamp out of Thailand, and into Malaysia before it continues on to Butterworth. From Butterworth the boat to Penang Island costs next to nothing and from the arrival port I would then walk to Chulia Street and the Unesco area of Georgetown.

This Thai visa run option is perfect for kicking back for a couple of days with cheap hotels, amazing food and reliable agencies who will do the legwork for the Thai visa application. Agencies will also be cheaper (around 200 Baht) than taxiing to and from the Thai embassy. So it makes sense.

Overall it’s cheap, easy and the food in Georgetown is unbeatable. Penang is an easy winner for me. (full Guide to Penang Thai visa run).

VISA Run Cost in 2019: 2,400 Baht (return train travel)

Vientiane, Laos

This choice of Thai visa run may be due to my preference for trains (and everybody loves trains). At the same time Vientiane is quite a nice relaxed place to visit. It’s somewhat similar to Thailand, and Isaan, only it mixes in some unique Vietnamese and colonial French influences. There’s also plenty of cheap and decent restaurants, and goings-on, to keep busy while your Thai visa gets stamped. 

To get to Vientiane it again takes an overnight train, travelling north, to the border town of Nong Khai which costs roughly 1,400 Baht (700 Baht each way). From Nong Khai station a tuk-tuk finds the border and this is where things get annoying.

While it is possible to get a visa for Laos in advance, I generally just pick it up at the border ($35 or 1,500 Baht). This requires an anxious wait before crossing the Mekhong, by bus, into Laos. Then, to central Vientiane, it’s a further 20 km journey by bus (cheap) or private transport (200 Baht+). The Thai Consular (don’t go to the Embassy) is easily found on foot (or cheap Tuk-Tuk) near Patuxai Park

Visa Run Cost: 1,400  (return trains) + 1,500 (Laos Visa) = 2,900 Baht

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

KL would be competing for top spot given I managed to bag a cheap flight (although I really like trains). Flights generally start at around 1,600 Baht (as in Skyscanner at bottom of page) but I will be realistic and say 3,000 Baht return.

With no entry visa necessary for Malaysia, this route will often work out cheaper than any of the land border crossings. From the airport it is then a 40 plus minute train or bus journey to Kuala Lumpur‘s monorail and LRT lines at KL Sentral.

I would stay anywhere really, maybe KLCC area and Petronas Towers (for the views) or Bukit Bintang (for the food / Jalan Alor), then the closest station to the Thai Embassy (206 Jalan Ampang). would be Ampang Park LRT. It’s still a good 10-minute walk however, and the visa offices are generally busy and sweaty, so a taxi may be the better option. It’s really not fun.

Visa Run Cost: Flights (3,000 Baht)

Savannakhet, Laos

This lesser known Thai Visa run is quite similar to the visa Run to Vientiane, only it is done by bus (and train obviously wins every time). But it is lesser known, which means it’s very rarely busy. The problem, however, is that there’s just very little to do in Savannakhet (here’s how I killed time) so Vientiane is definitely the more exciting option for Thai visa run. Also, the 8-hour bus journey, from Bangkok to Mukhdahan, is a little bit hellish. Expect to pay around 800 Baht each way, and 1,500 Baht for the Laos visa Fee (our full visa run experience here).

Again there will be additional travel, by bus, from Mukdahan bus station to the Thai border. Then after the wait for your visa to Laos on the border, you’ll need to forward again by tuk-tuk to Savannakhet. While many will go with Savan Vegas Hotel & Casino for the night, where agents offer to organise the visa for you, it is also found out-of-town. I honestly think it’s easier just to tuk-tuk direct to consulate which is found in a nice-ish area on the banks of the Mekhong.

The consulate will likely be empty and the application takes mere minutes. Return the next morning to pick it up (nearby hotels here). Applications tend to be more successful in Savannakhet for the harder Thai visa (in my case the marriage visa).

Visa Run Cost: 1,600 (return Bus) + 1,500 (Laos visa) = 3,100 Baht

Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Or Hanoi. I am lumping these two together as they are both similar prices at times, and I quite like both, and while Vietnam ranked lower in the past because of its overpriced visa fees, this has recently changed for a few lucky nations (including us British) after visa exemption was introduced last year in 2015. This means that no visa is necessary for stays of up to 15 days. Before now, and if you are not from the exempt countries, a tourist visa must be organised in advance (completed online here).

The Vietnam visa generally includes a processing fee of $20 before making full payment for the VISA on arrival costing a further $25. Visa fees to Vietnam will therefore cost $45 (1,500 Baht). Then, the cheapest flights as shown at the bottom, are around 2,100 Baht. But a more realistic sum for flights would be 3,500 Baht. Whether it’s Hanoi (Hanoi embassy here) or Ho Chi Minh (HCM embassy here) will depend on which is cheaper as, otherwise, it’s hard to choose between the two.

The French influences and bustling street life have me rooting for Ho Chi Minh, but a trip out to Halong Bay brings me back to Hanoi. Our Visa Application guide to Ho Chi Minh here.

Visa Run Cost: 3,500 Baht (flights) or 5,000 Baht (if visa needed)

Yangon, Myanmar

Not Possible ATM. This would be a relatively simple Thai visa run, were it not for the entry visa to Myanmar. Unlike the Laos or Cambodia visas, which can be obtained on arrival, the VISA for Myanmar must be sorted in advance (our guide to the Myanmar VISA application here). 

With no convenient overland routes to Thai embassies, the best, or only option really, is to fly to Yangon which surprisingly is the only city with a Thai Embassy. But it can be relatively cheap for flights and occasional returns to Yangon are less than 2,000 Baht (return). But again I will be more realistic and say flights are roughly 2,500 return. Add on the Myanmar VISA application at 810 Baht and the overall journey comes to around 3,310 Baht. 

The other problem with Myanmar is that accommodation is typically pricey (hotel list here). The Chinatown area, in Downtown Yangon, is one of the better areas to stay, and then just take a cheap taxi (a couple of dollars) to the Royal Thai Embassy on Pyay Road for the Thai VISA application.

VISA Run Cost: 2,500 (Flights) + 810 (Myanmar VISA) = 3,310 Baht

Singapore, Singapore

Singapore can be like Marmite where people either love it or loathe it. Personally, I love it and, if you have never been before, this should really rank higher up the list for Thai VISA runs. It’s certainly more exciting than Savannakhet, and given no VISA is needed for entry, and promo flights often go for around 2,500 Baht, it can be cheaper as well. Note, Tigerair are normally good from Suvarnabhumi and my most recent round trip came in at 3,000 Baht which again is cheap. But, to again be realistic, I will put an expected flight cost of 3,500 Baht.

However, accommodation and just about everything is a lot more expensive than any of these other Thai VISA run cities. So, if travelling on a budget, I have put together some of the cheaper areas of Singapore. The Geylang area or maybe Little India two of the better. Anyway, Singapore is a refreshing, modern and clean city and it makes an ideal escape from the tuk-tuks, rice fields and triangle hats, of the rest of the region. Also the food is fantastic.

The Thai Embassy is found in the famous shopping district of Orchard Road area (370 Orchard Road) which is just a 5-minute walk from the Orchard MRT station.

VISA Run Cost: 3,500 (Flights)

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

If there was an embassy or consulate in Siem Reap (and Angkor Wat shown below), I would consider a Thai VISA run to Cambodia, but the only Thai Embassy is found in Phnom Penh, so no. There may be some sketchy agencies from other destination, offering to do the legwork, but personally, I would not hand my passport to anyone in Cambodia. The country is notoriously corrupt and even the VISA application in Phnom Penh may be unpredictable. Bribes could help (but not advised at all).

Considering Phnom Penh is among the closest Thai VISA Run destinations to Bangkok, flights rarely come cheap. As below Skyscanner and AirAsia, both show flights to Myanmar, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia to be consistently cheaper. And flights are the only realistic route to Phnom Penh where overland travel would take days. So taking flights at 4,000 return, and the 1,000 Baht ($30) VISA on arrival in Cambodia, and it is an expensive journey.

But Cambodian borders can serve well for the quick in-out at the border (for another 30-day VISA exempt stay) and, in my lesser wise days, I would bus to the crossing at Poipet each month, returning to Bangkok that night. It was a terrible waste of money done monthly with a Cambodia VISA fee of around 1,200 – 1,500 Baht (depending on how corrupt they felt on the day). Anyway, give Cambodia a miss.

VISA Run Cost:  4,000 (flights) + 1,000 (Cambodian VISA) = 5,000 Baht

Hong Kong

Hong Kong is an unlikely option, but this it is an example of how my Thai VISA runs work. If a cheap flight crops up to a new destination, then why not? Given there is a Thai embassy, then any destination is a potential Thai VISA Run. Again, looking at the Skyscanner options below, Hong Kong flights occasionally come in at under 4,000 Baht. Not very often but it’s always worth checking.

Anyway a Thai VISA run to Hong Kong may seem ridiculous but our last visit was around 6,000 Baht return, and, unlike China, there is no need for a VISA to enter Hong Kong. However, similar to Singapore, the accommodation is relatively more expensive than its Southeast Asian counterparts, but, by staying in outer areas, it can make things more affordable. Ibis North Point is where we stayed on our last visit.

Otherwise travel in Hong Kong is cheap using the MTR (or tramways) and the embassy is easy to reach at Fairmont House near Central Station. It will probably cost near triple the cheaper options, like Penang, but adds something new to the typical Thai VISA Run itinerary. Note, that neighbouring Macau doesn’t have a Thai Embassy.

VISA Run Cost: 5,500 Baht (flights)

Bali, Indonesia

This is our “make it a holiday option” and I would honestly rather pay 6,000 Baht for a not-so-far flight to Bali than to squeeze in a quick Thai VISA run to many of the above. So if money is less of a worry, then Bali is an easy winner for Southeast Asia. It’s a fascinating island.

On arrival there will be the added VISA fee of $25 (these are the rates for Indonesia) and then the Thai Consulate is located in the not-so-far and lesser-visited city of Denpasar (Jalan Puputan Niti Mandala Raya). Unfortunately there aren’t many easy transport options on the island (it’s a big island). But taxis are cheap and from the airport it is around 8,000 Rupiahs (200 Baht). Actually I’d probably hire the taxi for the day and, after putting in the VISA application, I’d kill some time with a tour of the island.

Of course, Bali is more of a holiday destination, than a quick in-and-out, so it’s best to make the most of it. My advice would be to travel north to Ubud as most of the south is a bit of a tourist shithole. With wheels and the right itinerary, the central and northern regions have some most fascinating landscapes on earth (Here for our quick Guide to Ubud and Beyond).

VISA Run Costs: 6,000 (flights) + 800 (VISA Fee) = 6,800 Baht

Make it a Holiday?

Official tourist VISAs will always work out cheaper in the long run, rather than the back-to-back 30-day VISA stamps. The tourist VISAs, along with the 30-day extension, will give you nearly three months to prepare for the next. I prefer to plan early. However this month I arrived on a visa exempt so am going for my trusted trip to Penang next week. My cheap simple Thai VISA run. Then, 3 months from then, we have already booked cheap flights to Osaka Japan (roughly 8,005 Baht) where we’re travelling up from to the Sapporo snow festival. So my typical strategy is to go onto Skyscanner, check each of the Bangkok airports, select the month my VISA expires and set the destination to ‘everywhere’. This will, in turn, show me the cheapest destinations possible from Bangkok in that month. This includes most of the low-cost carriers as well, like AirAsia, Scoot and whatnot. I have included examples below of both Bangkok airports flying next month (Oct ’16) and a further search for the cheapest month to highlight the general order of cheap travel from Bangkok’s airports. Of course, there are other lesser known airlines, Nok Air, for example, flies to Yangon for cheap, and Lion Air often have great offers, but Skyscanner does help narrow down the options.

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50 thoughts on “The Ultimate Thai Visa Guide”

  1. The 30 day “visa on arrival” you refer to is not really a visa, but a visa EXEMPTION, available for around 30 nationalities. A true visa on arrival is for only 15 days, designed for other nationalities such as India. I might seem to be nitpicking, but if you are going to give people advice perhaps it’s best to get the facts right ?

    1. Yes, information on arrival in Hanoi is wrong. I thought it was visa exempt on arrival for a certain number of days .. ?

      1. I just arrived back from Ho Chi Minh this night. Will do an updated VISA run but with the VISA exempt on arrival (British and a few others) it came in cheaper than many Penang runs. The embassy were a stickler on info tho e.g. flights out of Thailand and maybe finances.

  2. Allen, I wanted to thank you for all the great advice that you put out here. I am going to be traveling to BKK soon and will be hopefully staying there under the Student VISA, I am older, but I will be going to college there. While there I will probably be getting married and that will change my VISA status, but till then I will be going with the Student VISA and there are options with the Student VISA that the schools do all the paperwork and set things up for you. I have enjoyed reading your exploits, how long have you been living in Thailand? What is your work there? I want to be able to travel and see the world as you do, so I defiantly will be taking your advice and seeing the different places and enjoying the world not only through your stories and your insight but by the best thing in the world; EXPERIENCING IT FOR MYSELF.
    Maybe our paths will meet, be safe and again thanks for the great information…


    1. Thanks Ray. It’s been three years now living in Thailand (arrived May 2011) but I have been back and forth for the past 10 years. I bought property here before moving permanently and now work online and create incomes from this and other websites (affiliate sales and advertising). For myself it was by far the best decision I’ve made moving to Bangkok. Best of luck with move. A.

    1. Hey Mr Thistle. It will be there very soon. Was in Yangon April 13th for Thingyan (Songkran) and covered the VISA run. Just haven’t got round to the update. It will include links to VISAs leaving BKK and area guides. Price is more expensive than most with VISA, flights and high hotel costs. Fantastic city though 🙂

      1. Hey thanks! I’m in Chiang Mai, and have only done one visa run so far, to Vientiane. I planned on staying there for two days to look around, and ended up staying a week, since I loved Laos. We went up to Luang Prabang, a very nice place, and then took a two day Mekong cruise up north, re-entering Thailand up there (sorry, I don’t remember the name of the Lao town, but it’s the last one on the cruise).

        1. I think there is also a border run at Mae Sot (Burma) near Chiang Mai but there is no embassy or 60 day tourist VISA available there (that I know of).
          With Laos it should be the Chiang Khong – Huay Xai border.,I planned the same route before to Luang Prabang (using the speed boat) but lost my adventurous spirit and jumped on a plane. Leaving from Bangkok it meant 3 days travel to get there, then back…. I’ve yet to see Luang Prabang and kind of regret not travelling up when visiting Vientiane.

  3. Nice overview of the surrounding visa run spots. I few that I haven’t been to and would like to see. Be aware that as of today there are reports of people with valid tourist visas being refused entry at land crossings with Malaysia. Specifically these are people who have a lot of previous 30-day stamps in their passport, and are assumed to be doing something like working as a diving instructor and aren’t legitimate tourists.

  4. Great list of options for visa and travel. I draw attention to the border runs in Thailand are not considered closed and formally after August 12th 2014 (mothers day). Current border runners are getting an I-O in/out stamp in their passport and after this they are turned away at land borders and told to fly in. The once relaxed exit and entry method requires a bit more effort as of this year.

  5. Cassie Botnick

    Hey! So I want to do a visa run to Hong Kong but I’m actually going to have to be applying for a new visa by that time, is it possible do you know? We were also thinking Beijing

  6. Thank you so much!! Great info and suggestions….We are going to take you on your suggestions for either Penang of Singapore this go!!

  7. You need to try Taiwan. Check nok air or v-air for return trips in the 2000-4000baht range. Seriously, this could top your n#1 Malaysian choice! Also worth noting are the 90 day landing visa, the smooth and quick thai embassy in Taipei, and the notoriously cheap transportation costs within the country.

    1. We actually did Taiwan on our last visit but haven’t got round to writing it up. We were there just in time for Typhoon Soudelor which was an interesting experience 😀 We managed to find return flights for around 3,500 Baht (Tigerair) which is the best we’ve found through comparison this year. We stayed in the Ximending area and found accommodation to be similar to Singapore and Hong Kong. It would probably rank between them at number 10 of the list.

  8. Hi I am looking into doing a visa run to Kualumpur or Singapore from Bangkok but I have one question. When trying fly into Bankgok last time I was asked for proof of onward travel via another flight ticket out of the country. How do you overcome this? Or has this been your experience?

  9. Hi I am looking into doing a visa run to Kualumpur or Singapore from Bangkok but I have one question. When trying fly into Bankgok last time I was asked for proof of onward travel via another flight ticket out of the country. Has this been your experience?

    1. I’ve been in and out for years with no problem, and can’t remember ever having flights onward before my arrival. I’ve heard similar mentioned before but, given you’ve got a VISA, I think there’s no way they’ll say no. Arriving at airports it’s also way too much hassle for them to force you on a plane back out again. Also, I just arrived from Singapore this week.

  10. Hi Allan, thanks for the article. It really sums it up well and we’ll be looking into flying to KL to get our visa. Would you know how long the processing of the request takes on average? Is it something given on the spot or is it a few days wait?

    1. I think it’s one day. When I went to KL I handed over all the details etc. and picked up the VISA the following day. Can’t remember exact times but it’s not too busy. Remember sweating though. One of my hottest VISA runs.

  11. Dear Allan ,
    i m indian passport holder and visited third time here in last six months . presently i m holding 60 days tourist visa. Last time i visited back to india and get again tourist visa for 60 days . presently I m staying in Bangkok and holding same 60 days visa and will expire on 9th july . Can i get 60 days tourist visa from other country like cambodia,lao,malaysia etc. Pls suggest me the best and easiest place where i can get my visa again for thailand. And what docs i required for the same.
    vishal (0970708923)

    1. Hey Vishal. Sorry if this is very late. We’ve been busy bees the past month. Yes it should be no problem to get over the border to Penang and the process should be no different to how it was before. I hope everything works out 🙂 A

  12. Hello, I was wondering if there are any visa run offices in Bangkok that offers a full package? Same as in Phuket i.e where they arrange everything for you and you pay a full price? Usually includes two way bus trip, hotel for one night, Visa fee and small meal.
    Thank you.

  13. Great post! I encourage anyone to visit Hong Kong and not only neighboring countries like Laos or Malaysia. I’m afraid that Singapore does not issue Thai tourist visas to non-residents of Singapore – so watch out! I encourage anyone to read a very thorough post on Thai immigration on https// it surely helped me few months ago figure things out for myself!

  14. Thanks Joanne. I think tourist visas are fine in Singapore but not the multi-entry tourist visas which would give almost 4 months in the country. They are available on and off at different embassies but became too complicated that I left them out. Otherwise Singapore is still fine for the single entry tourist visas

  15. I’ve got questions. 1. How’s penang now getting a tourist visa, of KL for that matter. 2. Whats the current restrictions on how many times westerners can do land crossings or stamps while in thailand bwfore they are required to fly. 3. Anyone ever thought about the philippines since its cheaper there in terms of hotel and food while u wait to get your 60 day visa?

  16. I did Penang last year and all was relatively straight forward. It’s been a while since I did KL.
    I’m really not sure about the land border restrictions. Would also like an idea.
    Flights to Manila are generally expensive and the city isn’t really my first choice in Asia (closer to last :))

  17. Hi Allan (lengthy comment, apologies)

    Great little article… In the past I spent a fair amount of time in Thailand, but that was in the good old days of easy to obtain year long tourist visas from Hull in the UK. I am currently planning a return to Thailand, at least for the next few years, but as what these young’uns like to call a digital nomad (freelance artist) I was still hoping to do this via tourist visa as work permits are unavailable for the likes of us.

    So I had actually been investigating exactly what you describe here, hence finding this post I guess, but, I do have a few questions…. So, being from the UK…

    I am guessing the information here is still largely valid as there seems to have been an update in 2017 and comments from yourself this Feb?

    Second redundant question, how often can you get the 60 day tourist visa? I’m guess indefinitely if you’ve been doing this since 2011 (or at least 2013 judging by the first comments date) Have you ever had any problems obtaining the visas or getting back in to Thailand?

    Third, how long does it take to obtain the visa at the embassy, I know in England its a day or two, is that the same pretty much everywhere, and is the 4 days to a week ou of Thailand long enough to renter…

    And lastly… honest… when having an outward flight from Thailand, do you book this taking in to account the 30 day extension… so basically booking the next trip around 90 days from your arrival in to the country? If so are embassies and immigration ok with the outward flight being 90 days later even though technically the visa is 60 days…

    Ok, thanks again for any advice and apologies again for the lengthy reply…

    Really nice little resource, both the article and the site in general


    Neil 🙂

    1. No worries Neil,

      I do try to stay up-to-date and info should be mostly valid.

      Re the 60 day tourist visa? I don’t want to say indefinite, as it just takes one crack-down by immigration or border officials to turn away the “abuse” of tourist visas if running back-to-back for years. Like if your entire passport is filled with them. I was questioned recently during a VISA extension, but this was more asking why I don’t just apply for a spouse visa.

      I think the worst case scenario of getting turned away is rerouting to an easier embassy, and then maybe flying in. In the past I have been on various visas (spouse non-o) and have used three passports (I move around a lot). I have seen others being pulled at borders as well, and asked to produce onward travel and a copy of finances, so you may need these when crossing the border as well. Although I was fine because I was on a British Passport. We do get away with more (they were from Russia, Eastern Europe, South Africa etc.) Either way, they were still on the bus on the opposite side.

      Most VISA applications take two days. The application is made in the morning of the first day. Then collection is in the afternoon of the second day. Although it’s best to make sure just in case. And maybe give some leeway with flights. The length of stay outside the country is not an issue (that I know of) although crossing and returning on the same day is dodgy (30 day visa exempt) and would likely get you turned away.

      When booking onward travel it is okay to say 90 days ahead, but it isn’t always easy to plan so far ahead. Actually, it was only on my most recent VISA run (Ho Chi Minh City) when I first had to show proof of onward travel, so I booked a cheap bus over the Thai-Lao border at Nong Khai. I shared this VISA run recenly here:

      Also there is a new VISA alternative for “entrepeneurs”

      Best of luck 🙂


  18. Hi Allen, congrats for your site, it’s awesome.. i have a doubt and i couldn’t cleared it at Mexico. I’m traveling to Thailand by airplane, then crossing the border to Cambodia by bus, and after that i have to go back to Thailand by bus. I can´t process the multiple entries visa because i have to take a bank account statement with an amount, that i do not have.. do you know which is the easiest way to process a reentry visa or something like that?

    Thanks a lot

    1. Hi Katia. I think this depends on your current visa. If it is only a 30 visa exempt stamp on arrival at the airport, then it’s not possible. If it’s a standard tourist visa (60-days) then a re-entry permit (I think) should be sorted in advance at your nearest immigration office, before traveling. Otherwise I’m really not certain. It isn’t a situation I have found before, so would be interested in how it goes 🙂 best of luck.

  19. Kailasam vadivelu

    Hi, The article sums-up nicely, covered good info about visa. If any of you wish to migrate to singapore and need any sort of help related to visa do visit our website. Thanks in advance.

  20. Hi Alan,

    I’m thinking of driving our rental car from Bangkok to Cambodia with my Thai wife and our two year old kid. The kid and I have U.S. passports. We arrived as a family and I got the 30 day stamp, then extended it 30, but need another 45. Plan is to get a 15 day stamp in Cambodia (I did this with a bus tour company in 2012) and then another 30 day extension here in Bangkok. Do you think they will give me the stamp in Cambodia? Suggestions which entry point for Cambodia? Do you feel the drive is safe?

    Wishing All The Best, Edwin

    1. The Cambodia stamp should be no problem at all. However, returning to Thailand over land-borders, may only offer a 14-day stamp for a stay in Thailand again. Which can then be extended I guess. I have never even considered driving into Cambodia but I guess the easiest is the Aranyaprathet Poipet border. But the roads may not be that easy – as I remember are terrible towards Siem Reap. Best to double check as you may also need a document/passport thing for your rental car (I had to do this for Laos). Otherwise I’m not much more use. Best of luck and I hope all works out. A.

  21. Hi Alan,

    I have been in Thailand since January, after 30 days I extended my stay another 30 days at a immigration office in BKK, after another 30 days I went to Malaysia and got a 30-day visa exempt stamp. My question: is it possible to extend this current visa stay by 30-days at immigration offices within Thailand multiple times? Or just once?

    Thank you!

    1. I am fairly certain only one extension is allowed on any visa/stamp. It’s always best to get a 60 tourist visa for longer stays and with an extension this would give 3 months. Immigration have been tightening down on the back-to-back 30 day stamps.

  22. Hi, I was on work permit for 4 years, then I left the school after last contract. Canceled non b and got 7 day extension, then I went to Ranong and got 30 days. Now my 30 days is up I was going to make setv in penang but because of muslim public holidays and my online work it will be difficult. Will I be ok to fly to penang then fly back the next day and get my second 30 days, or will they deny my entry ? Should I go to pnomphen or yangoon and make a setv instead.

    1. I would just go with the cheapest. You should always be fine with arrivals at the airport given your passport isn’t filled with back-to-back tourist visas.

  23. johanne` tremblay

    Which country is the easiest to go to in order to get a non immigrant O visa. I can provide the bank statement, but it is very hard for me to provide the criminal background check from my citizenship country without returning back. Singapore is very demanding on documentation, so which of your destinations are less demanding? Do you also have agents you recommend that can be trusted?

    1. I would go with Penang tbh. All agents are professional and reliable on Chulia Street. And I’ve never heard of anyone needing a criminal record check. Best of luck 🙂

  24. I had ed-visa before and then turist visa 60+30 and now a need another single entry tourist visa so where do i fly? I got visas in order at penang, ho chi minh and yangoon (all by air). I´m a little bit worried because all i have read about denied entries by airport or the visa at consulate, what do you think?

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