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Travel on 30 day Visas or get the Tourist Visa??

  • esocha

    Joined Travelfish
    14th July, 2010
    Location United States
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    Will be travelling for around 5-6 months in South East Asia, I go back and forth on whethere its worth getting the 60 day VISA for Thailand so and to not run around the country too quickly because I have only 30 days if I were to get VISA upon arrival.
    Contrary I will also be planning to visit Laos, Cambodia and see about visiting Burma.
    At most I wish to make sure that I can explore some of the islands in south thailand, explore the north of thailand and take a Vipassana retreat...If I can fit these things into 30 days then I'm happy to do that.
    I will most likely (or have option) to come back into Thailand for another 30 days after leaving Laos and Cambodia too.
    Any suggestions?

    #1 Posted: 31/7/2010 - 17:59

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  • SBE

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    Err... it depends how long YOU want to stay. That is entirely up to you so it's hard to make any suggestions!

    If you are flying into Thailand and think you will want to stay more than 30 days in Thailand then get a tourist visa. If not, don't bother.

    If you are entering Thailand overland and think you will want to stay more than 15 days then get a tourist visa. If not then don't bother.

    The tourist visa is free at the moment but there's still the hassle of getting it and sometimes consulates add on a "service" charge anyway. Plus a proper visa uses up a whole page of your passport whereas a free stamp doesn't.

    BTW, you can enter the country with a tourist visa and ask for it NOT to be stamped when you go through immigration. If it's easier for you to get the visa in advance rather than while you're travelling then this can be a useful way of getting round the limited time allowed when you enter the country overland.

    You can fly in, stay up to 30 days on the free 30 day stamp (don't get the visa stamped yet) then leave the country. If you want to come back into Thailand via an overland border crossing at a later date you can then use the visa to get you 60 days instead of just 15 days.

    Make sure you can use the visa within the 90 day validity period though!

    #2 Posted: 31/7/2010 - 22:52

  • Captain_Bob

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    If flying from the US (UK/EU/AU/NZ or other "modern law-abiding" country) note that airlines are increasingly enforcing the onward ticket requirement, e.g. flying to Bangkok without a visa they'll want to see an onward ticket out of Thailand within 30 days. But if you have a tourist visa already the requirement is void. Plenty of people sneak past this by getting a slack check-in person or talking BS, but ultimately they have the ability to deny you boarding the flight.

    Since you seem pretty uncertain on duration and number of Thailand entries but will be in the region up to 6 months, a proper tourist visa (multiple-entry if possible) could be very handy. You're likely to re-enter the Kingdom by land by the sounds of it and I've seen way too many people struggle with the lame 15-day visa-exempt land entry Thailand now gives. NB you can also get additional Thai visas in neighboring Vientiane, Penang, Phnom Penh, etc.

    #3 Posted: 1/8/2010 - 00:13

  • esocha

    Joined Travelfish
    14th July, 2010
    Location United States
    Posts: 9

    Thanks everyone.
    Its what I suspected folks would write back. Its a hassle either way you go, in a way, its just such short time no matter what. At the end, you need to use the multiple entry VISA in 90 days anyway...I'm choose what to do soon.
    Blessings.

    #4 Posted: 1/8/2010 - 06:16

  • SBE

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    The single entry tourist visa has to be used within 90 days. I've never had a multiple entry visa but I'm pretty sure the validity of a double entry visa is 180 days.

    Unlike the single entry visa, the multiple entry visa isn't free in most consulates. I have heard of one or two consulates where it is being issued for free as well though. See what the nearest consulate to you says.

    If you're flying into BKK from the US, Captain Bob raises a good point about needing either an onward ticket within 30 days or a visa in your passport in order to board your flight.

    I've never had a problem inside Asia but airlines always want to see either a visa or an onward ticket when I'm flying to Bangkok from Europe.

    #5 Posted: 1/8/2010 - 11:43

  • CrankyCarrot

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    This bit about being able to not get the visa stamped on the way in is news to me, but I have another question about it.

    If I enter Thailand for the standard 30 days, without having a 60 day visa stamped, then want to stay after that 30 days, can I just go somewhere and have the visa stamped to add the 60 days or would I have to leave the country and come back in?

    If the later, then would I have to fly back or could I cross the border by land to get it stamped?

    #6 Posted: 1/8/2010 - 13:23

  • Captain_Bob

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    Cranky, if you arrive in Thailand with an unused tourist visa in your passport you can usually defer its use for later (within validity period) and instead come in on the 30-day visa exemption that Aussies, UK, US, etc (42 nationalities) qualify for. When you fill in the arrival card just leave the visa number blank and the immigration officer should ignore your visa and instead give the 30-day deal. To then use the visa though you would indeed need to physically leave and re-enter Thailand - even just a one-day border hop. As I mentioned you can also tip over the border to somewhere like Vientiane in Laos and get a (additional) Thai visa at the Thai consulate if needed, but it takes two days with a bit of queuing.

    In any case, keep an eye on the validity date of your visa (date by which you must commence the entry (last entry in the case of multiple-entry).

    #7 Posted: 1/8/2010 - 14:37

  • CrankyCarrot

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    Thanks for all your assistance with this Cap'n Bob,

    I was kinda hoping you could show up at an embassy or the airport (coming from within the Kingdom) and just get the 60 day visa stamped, but I figured in reality you'd probably have to leave and come back.

    According to the form, you have to use the 60 day visa (obtained in Aus) within 3 months of the date of issue.

    A friend of mine has booked some time in Phuket for November, but I want to leave Syd in a week or so, so my thinking is to fly into Thailand around mid August, get my bearings and maybe go overland to one of the neighbouring countries in September, then return in October and cash in the visa.

    ALTHOUGH, this may impact on my other scheme - on the other thread - about wanting to get out of Aus without a return/onward ticket. If I show the 60 day visa at Sydney airport to satisfy them, they won't actually stamp it right? Worst case, I could live with using up the 60 day visa first and then go for the 14 or 30 day trip in November I guess.

    #8 Posted: 1/8/2010 - 15:06

  • Captain_Bob

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    Correct, if you have a tourist visa it will satisfy the airline requirement BUT they will not stamp/activate the visa (they're not authorised, not their job). That's up to you and the immigration officer in question upon your arrival. Watch them flipping through your passport and if they look like they're going to use your visa politely ask to just get the standard 30 days visa-free. By leaving the visa number blank on the arrival card you're implying this already, just watch what the person does. Worst case they stamp your visa, you enjoy a 60-day stay, then grab another one in Vientiane, Phnom Penh, Penang, etc.

    #9 Posted: 1/8/2010 - 15:29

  • CrankyCarrot

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    Awesome,

    He-man rules.

    #10 Posted: 1/8/2010 - 16:01

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  • CrankyCarrot

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    The guy in at the Thai consulate said his country wasn't too fussed about whether I had a visa or a return ticket or not, but stressed that it was our airport in Sydney which would want to see proof of something like that.

    I'll probably be fine with a one way ticket and a 60 day tourist visa, but in the worst case scenario I suppose I could quickly go book a return ticket at the last minute if I arrive at the airport to check in early enough.

    #11 Posted: 2/8/2010 - 15:24

  • SBE

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    The airlines need either or, not both.

    Your only risk is that the immigration official at Bangkok Airport stamps your tourist visa before you have time to ask him/her not to (assuming you don't want to use it straight away)

    #12 Posted: 2/8/2010 - 15:56

  • CrankyCarrot

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    "Your only risk is that the immigration official at Bangkok Airport stamps your tourist visa before you have time to ask him/her not to"

    I could easily live with that.

    Does anyone know if this free visa offer is extended to Aussies applying from outside of Australia?

    #13 Posted: 2/8/2010 - 16:00

  • CrankyCarrot

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    Hey TF peeps,

    Does anyone know off hand if I can get another 2 month visa for Thailand for free from outside of Australia? The one I got in Sydney before coming here cost me sweet bupkiss, so it'd be cool if I could pay that again when coming back from Malaysia or wherever since I have to vamoose in about 5 weeks.

    #14 Posted: 31/8/2010 - 14:03

  • rawjer

    Joined Travelfish
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    Yes, you can get another Tourist Visa at any Thai embassy, for free. I got my first one in Phnom Penh , and just got it extended for another 30 days last week. In a few weeks I'm headed to Laos where I'll get another 60-day Tourist Visa in Vientiane , and then a couple weeks later I'll head back to Thailand.

    Everyone, including the Thai Immigration people, say that back-to-back Tourist Visas is not a problem, and some people indicate that a 3rd or 4th is also possible.

    One thing to be aware of is that they do take time to process. In Phnom Penh you have to drop your passport one morning and pick it back up 3 afternoons later. I think in Vientiane it's one day later for the pickup, so research that embassy and allow the time.

    #15 Posted: 31/8/2010 - 14:34

  • CrankyCarrot

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    Phnom Penh?

    Ok, so that's Cambodia sorted. I know this stuff is on the forums already, but I'm really pressed for time today- gotta fix a flat tyre on a motorbike and get to the gym and the beach... it's a hard life and all.

    Just quickly - and this is a real newb q - do I have to be out of Thailand to get another 30/60 day visa? If so, why can't I just rock up to the local immigration office and do it here?

    #16 Posted: 31/8/2010 - 14:45

  • rawjer

    Joined Travelfish
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    I'm sure you can also get a new Thai Tourist Visa in Kuala Lumpur or any other capital. I just mentioned Phnom Penh and Vientiane because that's where I did my first one and will do my next one.

    Here's how it works at the moment:

    The 60-day Tourist Visas continue to be free at all Thai Embassies outside the country, and it sounds like you've already got one of those. You can get a 30-day extension during the final week of those original 60 days, by going to the local Immigration office and paying 1900 baht and filling in a new form and handing over another photo. I did mine in Bangkok, and the new office is well to the north of the city. I can give you details on that if you need it.

    After that you can even get another 5 (or 7?) day visa extension, but it costs 1900 baht more, so it's really not worth it.

    If you leave Thailand and return at a land border you'll automatically be given a new 15-day visa, or if you return at an airport it's a 30-day visa, but I don't think those can be extended. Some people fly out every 30 days on what is known as a "visa run." You can literally fly out and fly back in a few hours later and get another 30-day visa for free on arrival.

    If you are traveling around a bit, as I am, and as it sounds like you are, then you can go to a Thai embassy or consulate in another country and apply for a new 60-day Tourist Visa, which will again be free (until March, 2011, they say). There's usually processing time of a day or more on those though.

    #17 Posted: 31/8/2010 - 15:42

  • CrankyCarrot

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    Hmmm, I'd never spend 1900 baht when I could use the same money to go see some new country and come back for the same or less in travel costs.

    If I'm still around Phuket when Oct 9 rolls around, I reckon my best bet is to go to Malaysia, simply because it's the closest neighbouring country and I hear it's even cheaper to live in than Thailand, which already seems unbelievably cheap to me (It's only my second time here).

    Thanks a lot for taking the time to post a detailed response, rawjer - I really appreciate it.

    #18 Posted: 31/8/2010 - 16:31

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