Want to avoid the notoriously painful process of obtaining a Thai tourist visa in places like Vientiane, Penang, or Phnom Penh? If Bali is on your itinerary, obtaining the visa here is akin to gearing up for a long, dull day of school only to be let out of class after just 10 minutes of easy work. Fast, simple, painless — applying for a visa in Bali is a breeze.
The honorary Thai consulate is located in the heart of Denpasar on Jalan Puputan Niti Mandala Raya. You can go by taxi, but it’s fairly straightforward to find if you’ve got your own wheels. It’s located just east of the intersection where the road becomes one-way heading west, a short drive east of the Japanese consulate. If heading west the consulate will be on your left, and if you pass the Gerbang Utara Banjar Santy monument while going east you’ve gone about a kilometre too far. The US embassy is also just around the corner.
Visa applications are accepted from 09:00 to 12:00 Monday through Friday, except on Thai and Indonesian public holidays. Processing time is three business days including the days you apply and pick up, so if applying on Monday morning you should be able to pick up on Wednesday afternoon. Like other Thai consulates pick up is only possible between 13:30 and 16:00. The Bali consulate only processes single entry 60-day tourist visas, which may be extended by 30 days in Thailand.
The consulate itself feels like a regular house — there were a few empty wine bottles on the porch when we visited — and the only staff we saw was one lone guy wearing a T-shirt and jeans. No numbered tickets, no waiting areas, no glassed-in official booths, and most importantly, no queues whatsoever. After a polite greeting we were given a comfy seat at a desk in the “living room” area to fill out the visa application while our consulate “official” went about his business in another room.
Although the process is fast and painless, they are sticklers for the correct documentation in Bali. You’ll need a passport with at least six months’ validity, a photocopy of the passport, one four by six centimetre head shot photos, 560,000 rupiah, proof of travel both in and out of Thailand -- including proof of payment and (these are new as of 2015, thanks Maureen for the update!) proof of a reserved hotel in Thailand for seven days and a bank statement showing a balance of $700. The paperwork is important; a clearly marked sign outside the consulate says in bold letters that “it is not possible to grant visas if no proofs of travel are submitted”. You need all the paperwork for EACH applicant.
Bali is a fabulous place and should be near the top of your destination priority list no matter what your plans are, but if heading to Thailand at some point afterwards, you won’t find a better place to take care of that tourist visa than this.
Royal Thai Consulate
Jalan Puputan Niti Mandala Raya
T: (0361) 229 685
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
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