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Kuala Lumpur


Getting a Thai visa in Kuala Lumpur

If you're heading to Kuala Lumpur and then onwards to Thailand, the Royal Thai Embassy in KL is a fine place to get a visa. While not quite as painless as completing the process in Bali, we found the embassy in KL to be organised and professional. If you show up prepared, you'll have plenty of time left in the day to explore the city.

Welcome to KL's least fun tourist hot spot.

Welcome to KL's least fun tourist hot spot.

The embassy issues a range of visas, including business, marriage and education, but at present they only offer single entry tourist visas, not double entry. A single entry tourist visa will get you 60 days upon entering the country with the possibility of extending the visa for another 30 days. The cost is 110 ringgit, which you should have ready in exact change, and they don't accept Thai, US or any other currencies.

According to the “official rules” posted on the wall inside the embassy and on their website, tourist visa applicants from most countries need to produce one filled out application form (available at the embassy or as a download from their website), a passport with at least six months validity, one signed photocopy of the passport, three 4 X 6 centimetre recent head shot photos, and a copy of onward travel (air itineraries are the standard).

Thailand is waiting for you.

Thailand is waiting for you.

Many reports, however, indicate that the last bit only becomes necessary when an applicant has already used several consecutive tourist visas, in which case copies of hotel reservations and bank statements may also be requested. In some cases applications may be denied for “serial visa runners”, but this seems to be more dependent on the mood of consular officials than any clearly stated rules. While it's unlikely a first-time tourist visa application would be denied if no proof of onward travel is shown, it is within the power of embassy officials to deny any application for any reason. In other words, if you don't rub an official the wrong way, you should be fine.

Applicants for other types of visas, and citizens of some countries are subject to further requirements — see the embassy's website or contact your nearest Thai consulate for more details.

"We want visas! We want visas!"

Normal processing time for tourist visas is two business days, and the embassy accepts applications from 09:30 to 11:30, with pick up available on the next business day between 14:30 and 16:00 (it says on their website and sign in front of the embassy that pick-up is until 16:30, but they closed at 16:00 when we were there). Visa processing is open Monday through Friday, except on Thai and Malaysian holidays, a list of which are available on the embassy's website.

Although wait times for submitting applications can be upwards of two hours, the waiting area is air-con and it's a far more organised affair than, for example, the embassy at Vientiane. There are no on-site facilities for making photocopies or trimming your photos down to the right size, so be sure to double-check that you've come prepared. It's also a good idea to show up before the embassy opens — you'll have to wait outside for a while but it will save you more time once you're in.

That's the one you want.

That's the one you want.

The embassy is located on Jalan Ampang, a 1.5 kilometre walk from the Ampang Park LRT (subway) station (KJ9), accessed by the Kelana Jaya Line. Exit to the right out of the station, following the sign for “Jalan Ampang, Jalan Tun Razak, and Empire Tower”. Make a U-turn as soon as you get outside (doesn't matter if to the left or right), and then go straight past a McDonalds. Cross the street when you come upon the busy intersection and continue straight, staying on the left side of the road. You'll first pass the French and Spanish embassies and a couple of car dealers before reaching the Royal Thai embassy on the left. If you're coming by bus, there is a bus stop next to Ampang Park LRT exit and its RM1 to the embassy or take bus U22, U26 or U30 from Jalan Tun Tan Siew Seng (Next to RHB bank) near Chinatown and the fare is RM1.90

Royal Thai Embassy
206 Jalan Ampan, Kuala Lumpur
T: (03) 2143 2127 ; (03) 2413 2107 ; (03) 2143 2125

About the author:
Usually found exploring Bangkok's side streets or south Thailand's islands, David Luekens is an American freelance writer & photographer who finds everyday life in Asia to be extraordinary. You can follow his travails here.
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