So Gillian and I decided that to take in as much as Thailand as possible we would need more time on our visa. In Thailand there are two ways of doing this and they are doing a border run or visiting a Thai immigration centre. UK citizens are granted an initial 30 day visa on arrival in Thailand and this initial visa is free of charge.
The border run involves being taken across the Thai border into a neighbouring country by a company in order for a passport to be stamped on exit. As soon as this is done the bus spins back round and enters Thailand again and a fresh 30 day visa is stamped into the passport again. This option means that the visa is free of charge but does involve losing a day due to traveling to another country and will involve costs for the bus travel there and back.
The next option is to apply for a visa extension. UK citizens are able to extend their original 30 day visa by another 30 days for 1900 Thai baht, which at the time of writing is £37. For the convenience, this is the option that Gillian and I chose and it worked out to be even more simple and hassle-free than what we expected.
Gillian and I were staying in the area Ao Nang which is just outside of Krabi where the immigration office is. To get there and back the Taxi drivers will first state a higher price at about 1200 baht but we managed to get a red tuc tuc to do the round trip for 900 baht and I reckon we could have got him lower to if we bartered more.
On arrival at the immigration centre, Gillian and I were the only people there. We were ushered to the front desk where we told the staff that we wanted to extend our visa. They took our passports, additional passport photos and scanned our details page. We then sat down for 2 minutes and then were called to the front desk again where we were presented with out passports and our newly extended 30 day visa. We handed over the fee of 1900 baht and were on our way. In total, we must have been in the immigration centre for no more than 20 minutes. Gillian and I had arrived as soon as the place opened at 8.30am and were out for just before 9am, then back at our hotel for 9.30am. So for anyone needing extra time for their travels, I would highly recommend just doing the official visa extension.
Step by step guide to 30 day extension:
First before leaving for the immigration office make sure that you have your passport, obviously. In addition to this you will need to have a photocopy of your photo page with all of the details and passport photo. Don’t worry if you don’t have these as they can do it at the immigration office for an extra fee (the photocopy was 20 baht). Then in addition to this you should have a separate passport sized photo that will be put on your new visa (again if you don’t have this you can have a photo taken at the immigration centre for a small fee). The immigration centre is in an area called Moo 3. The exact address is :
116, Utarakit Rd., Paknam, Krabi Town, 83000.
Taxis to this area from Ao Nang will start at 600 baht one way but be sure to haggle for a better deal. Arriving at the immigration centre early is probably wise as it can become busy in the afternoon. The opening times of the centre are 8:30-16:30 and the centre is closed from 12:00-13:00 for lunch. Present your passport, additional passport photo and passport photocopy to the receptionist and they will take care of the rest. Arriving early means that the time for the admin work is minimalistic and you’ll have your passport back in about 10 minutes. Hand over the 1900 baht fee and that’s it.
Extending the Thai visa is a simple task with the only effort being getting there in the first place. For anyone thinking of overstaying their visa, be warned. The Thai government charge 500 baht per day for overstaying a visa and if you overstay by 45 days or more you will be banned from Thailand permanently. But when the process is that simple, there’s no excuse!