We entered Thailand with no “real” visa. We thought about sending our passports off to the consulate in Houston or to the Royal Thai Embassy in Washington D. C., but in the end we didn’t for a few reasons.
- It took forever to get Wesley’s new passport and we didn’t want to delay any longer.
- We had no idea if the consulate in Houston would be able to issue a visa in a timely manner… and we could never get any information from them.
- We knew we could enter the country without one.
This is how it works; you can enter the country with just your US passport and you are issued a “Visa on Arrival” by the immigration officer on duty at the airport. We found out we could enter Thailand for free for 30 days. Score!
We researched the tourist visas and figured we could leave the country before our 30 days were up and apply for a tourist visa (good for 60 days) at a Royal Thai Embassy in another country. Easy, right?
Not so much. It turns out that the bordering countries issuing the super-happy-wonderful Double Entry Tourist Visa (good for almost 6 months!) are on the Northern border of Thailand. We are in the Southern part on the island of Phuket. All the bordering countries down here want nothing to do with the super-happy-wonderful “Double Entry Tourist Visa.” Tickets to get to Laos (on the Northern border) are almost $600 USD. Tickets to Malaysia (on the Southern border) are $140 USD. What to do?
I’m tempted to spend the extra money to fly to Laos and just get the visa situation DONE. We would have to fly to Malaysia three times to get the same amount of time we could have issued in Laos. Of course, this all depends on the immigration officer on duty. Apparently they can arbitrarily decide to NOT give you a visa at all. If they are having a bad day, they can make sure you have a bad 60 days. Ugh.
What to do? What to do?
What would you do?