We did previously do a general outline of consulates in Chiang Mai but since it was dear old Liz’s jubilee recently (you can’t have missed that — it even brought tears to the eyes of some of our French mates!) and of course with the London Olympics raring to go very soon (you’re going to have to try very hard to miss that one!) we thought we’d do a brief snapshot on Chiang Mai’s British consulate.
Firstly, it’s not the easiest of places to photograph — like border crossings, embassies and consulates tend to be like that — and polite requests to photograph the outside of the building, the garden, the large tree in front and even the otherwise very helpful staff were met with equally polite negatives. The actual consulate building is not very impressive anyway, resembling the sort of temporary container blocks that you find plonked on building sites to provide workers with somewhere to get out of the cold during their tea breaks. The interior is carpeted though (ed: thanks for that detail), air-con and has lots of useful info and helpful staff — there wasn’t a copy of The Sun, tea mug, half-eaten Cornish pasty or dog-eared form guide to the 3.40 at Newmarket in sight.
The very attractive gardens surrounding the consulate were originally the grounds of an old mansion which has now been converted to serve as the British Council HQ and which is a far more impressive building, but which we weren’t permitted to photo either. It’s a lovely old house though despite having inquired inside, we were slightly at a loss to work out what they did apart from offering a variety of English courses. (Maybe the consul has a pad upstairs?)
The consulate itself however has all the facilities and services for UK citizens you’d expect: registering births, marriages, deaths, issuing new passports or emergency ones if yours slipped out of your pocket whilst climbing Doi Suthep and also, usefully, letters of financial guarantees for visa applications. A full range of their services can be found on their site and you should also be able to download passport application forms.
We say useful since for instance if your dosh is in a UK bank it’s a lot easier to convince the consulate to issue a letter guaranteeing you have sufficient funds for a year-long visa for example (400,000 baht or equivalent), than it is explaining to immigration that while you only have 27 baht in your Krungthai bank account you do have plenty in Barclays of Bromley or wherever. (You will need to provide UK bank statements to the consulate.)
Note however that the consulate does not issue UK visas to foreigners; for that you need to go to the British Embassy in Bangkok.
British Consulate, Chiang Mai
198 Bumrungraj Road, Chiang Mai
T: (053) 263 015
By Mark Ord
Last updated on 23rd June, 2012.