There are several options when it comes to extending your Thai visa, and this all boils down to what visa you entered the country on. Most tourists enter the country without pre-applying for a visa. In this instance, you will receive a 30-day ‘visa on arrival’ (VOA) if you arrive by plane, or 15 days if you arrive by land at one of the countries numerous border crossings.
Tourists can enter the kingdom with a 60-day tourist visa obtained from a Thai embassy outside of Thailand. This visa can be extended for 30 days at immigration offices in the country for 1900 baht. It is also possible to obtain a double entry 60-day tourist visa. Once you finish your first 60-90 days, you can leave the country and return, by land or air, using your second tourist visa for a further 60-90 days.
Tourists wishing to stay longer than their visa allows will find themselves paying 500 baht a day in overstay fines (to the maximum of 20,000 baht), or looking up the easiest way to cross the border and return to Thailand on a new visa – the infamous one-day ‘border run’.
You can do a border run at most of Thailand’s border crossings. For those staying in Bangkok, Pattaya, or anywhere directly east of the capital, the quickest and easiest border to visit is the Arynaprathet/Poipet crossing into Cambodia.
This visa run can be done in about 8 hours from Bangkok, or less depending on your proximity to the border.
It is possible to cross this border and return on your own, but be prepared for a lot of heat, beggars, and perhaps a little confusion if it’s your first time.
I personally haven’t done this on my own for years, I now chose to take an organised tour, but if I remember correctly you must take $25, one passport photo, and a photocopy of your passport so you can purchase a Cambodian Visa during your crossing.
You may find touts offering assistance for an agreed price, but to be honest, I wouldn’t bother, you can just ask any official what to do next if you’re not quite sure.
Edit: Thinking about things, the touts and scam artists seem to have been cleared up. But not everything is always as it seems in Asia! Nevertheless make sure you maintain your diligence when crossing the border, unaided or not.
No matter how seasoned a traveller you are, there is no shame in taking an organised visa run tour. These tours are quick, easy and cheap…what more could you ask for? Several companies organise tours from Bangkok, Pattaya, Chonburi, and Trat. Prices are around 2200 baht.
Bangkok-based tourists will have no doubt heard of a visa run service called Jack Golf now called BangkokBuddy. This company has been running ever since my arrival in Thailand over 8 years ago, and it’s still going strong where many others have failed.
These guys know what they are talking about, the staff speak English, Japanese, Korean, and of course, Thai. They not only offer the most pleasurable visa run available, they also offer advice on where to buy and what not to buy from the so-called duty-free shops.
The air conditioned bus leaves at 5 am from Sukhumvit Road at the top of Soi 12, near Asoke junction. The visa run costs 2000 baht and you must bring one passport photo. The bus is comfortable, with plenty of leg room. There are two floors, passengers on the top as well as 8 more below, a toilet and a help-your-self service for hot tea and coffee.
You will arrive at the border around 8 am. At the border Jack Golf do everything for you, it couldn’t be easier. Whilst the company obtain your Cambodian visa, you are escorted to the Grand Hotel and Casino for a breakfast buffet. The buffet is great, it includes fruits, cereal, toast, croissants, ham, bacon, potato, eggs, orange juice, apple juice, hot tea and coffee, and more.
After breakfast, you have time to shop, gamble in the casino or relax at the cafe/bar whilst waiting for the staff.
After meeting back at the lobby at around 9:30 to 10:00, your Cambodian visa is complete and you are escorted back to the bus on the Thai side.
The journey back takes a little longer, about 3 and half hours depending on traffic. The bus also stops at a service station half way where there is a 7/11 and several good food vendors.
You should arrive in Bangkok around 2 pm. There are several drops off points including Srinakarin Road, Rama 9 near RCA, Petchaburi Subway (MRT), Asoke Sky train, and Rama 3 (SV Condo).
Over my last years trying to legally keep on top of my Thai visa, Jack Golf has to be the best visa run service I have taken, not only in Bangkok but other areas of Thailand too.
For Pattaya residents, Jack Golf also offer a visa run service to Poipet leaving from TESCO LOTUS at South Pattaya Rd, 6 am every day.