Sep 18

Just came back from a 12-hours trip from Phuket to Ranong/Kaw Thaung. It’s about 350km from Phuket and some companies are specialized to take you there and back in 1 day – to renew your Visa for Thailand.

Temple at Myanmar side of riverOf course you can go to Malaysia as well, but currently there is a bit of civil unrest in the south of Thailand close to the Malaysian border, so I’ve heard. ;-/ Flying out every month is too expensive as well, so what else to do? Did I mention that the airport departure tax in Thailand was increased from 500 Baht to 700 Baht? Did I mention that overstaying your visa costs now 500 Baht instead of 200 Baht per day? Ah yes. We ‘farangs’ are the walking ATMs here. :)

The whole Visa Run works like this: you are picked up around 7am at some prominent spotThai Ranong Immigration Checkpoint close to your apartment with some pickup truck and are transported to the bus or minibus, where about 1 dozend other visa runners wait for you already. Then the bus is speeding for about 3-4 hours north until reaching Ranong (still Thailand). Here you enter the Thai Immigration, get stamped out and approach the boat harbour. Some pirate ‘djunk’ carries you over from Thailand to Myanmar, with 2 stops and respective checkups for contraband.

Arriving in Kaw Thaung, on the Myanmar side, you pay your USD 10 (they just doubled that a few week back from USD 5, arglglggl!), you get some colourful stamps in your passport and turn around and go back by boat to the Thailand side. From there off by bus to Immigration again, filling out arrival card and getting a stamp for another 4 weeks in the ‘Land of Smiles’. That all takes about 2-3 hours. Your bus will afterwards take you all the way back to Phuket or Krabi or Surat Thani, or where you came from.

Myanmar JettySo far so good: theoretically people did that before for many years. But, as mentioned in one of the previous posts – these days will soon be over. A new regulation is introduced – and after having 3 continuous stamps in your passport, you have to leave Thailand for minimum 3 months.

Can anyone understand that? Except extorting more money from foreigners by using more expensive visas. Anyway, let them do their thing. Another month and off we are! ;-)

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written by Chris

10 Responses to “Visa Run Thailand to Myanmar”

  1. NealeNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    What is defined by “and after having 3 continuous stamps” what if you go out spend a few weeks elsewhere then come back in, is that defined as continous ?
    Thanks Neale

  2. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Neale, sorry, my knowledge reg the Thai Visa regulations is pretty limited. How I understood it, when you stayed 3 months continuously in Thailand, you had to go out for at least another 3 months. But I’m not so sure, if and how they enforced it.

    Don’t let yourself stopping from visiting Thailand though, there is always a chance of securing a Visa. ;-)

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    […] Over the last few years, some countries in Asia made it more and more difficult for long-term tourists (or none-working Expats) to stay longer than just a few months in country. Thailand only recently made their Visa Rules more difficult and complicated; before that monthly Visa Runs to the neighbouring countries were quite common. […]

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  5. Andy of HoboTraveler.comNo Gravatar THAILAND Says:

    I have been in and out of Thailand now for about four years. It is very difficult to know the Thailand Visa rules. I rely on Jeroen at Nat Tours just off Khao San Road in Bangkok. He amazingly also tell me the rules to enter Togo or one of the Stan Brothers in satellite nations of Russia. Phuket is a different base of starting than Bangkok.

    The link for my webpage is the link to how to find Jeroen off of Khaa San Road. There is some noise from him, that if I apply for a Visa outside Thailand I can do better or stay longer. I do not understand because for me 90 days in six months is a long time in Thailand.

    However, I would guess that the Philippines is a good alternative to Thailand for the Phuket people. I have never been to Phuket, but I think there are some direct flights to Philippines. The benefit to me of the Philippines is fluent English with some people, however more expensive than Thailand. I believe you can continously renew the visa and never have to leave.

    500 Baht for overstay in Thailand and not 200, that was a lucky thing to learn. I thought about staying a few day and just paying, not for 500.

    Andy of not fitting in on Khao San, I do not have a Tattoo.

  6. James Randolph BullockNo Gravatar THAILAND Says:

    I need to re-new my visa by April 7, 2009 –James

  7. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Then better hurry! ;-)

  8. LukeNo Gravatar THAILAND Says:

    Well, the rules, it seems, have changed again. Now land crossings allow for a Visa Exception (Visa-Free Period) of only 15 days, as opposed to 30 days if you enter the country by air.
    So, with myself banged up from a scooter crash on Koh Lanta, I had to do a Visa Run yesterday. 12 hours of being in a bus, hobbling on a bandaged foot for the 500m between the Thai and Malay Border Gates and then busing back. What a joke!
    They really need to review this whole process – allow for Visa applications in-country (at least for people transitioning from a Visa Exception to a Tourist Visa), review the pricing of extensions (1900 baht for an additional week of the Exception, versus 950 baht for a Visa Run and 2 weeks!), and just generally do anything they can to encourage people to keep spending their (increasingly rare) disposable income in the (notably slowing) tourist industry.

  9. ChrisNo Gravatar GERMANY Says:

    Luke, I agree with you 100% and wish Thailand would change their visa rules for the better. Unfortunately it looks like they are only interested in the average package tourist, who comes for 2-4 weeks a year, spends all his/her holiday money and comes back 1 year later. Us non-working, not-locally-married long-term Nomads are not appreciated in Thailand. :(

  10. sunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    The Thai immigration rules are really not economically sensible. Should have offered something like Malaysia my second home.

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