You’ve been having the best damn time in Thailand. The nightlife in Bangkok blew your mind, Chiang Mai taught you how to eat, and Pai charmed your pants right off your ass with it’s smooth vibe. Now you’ve only got two weeks left to explore the south beforeyour Thailand visa expires…
sounds like it’s time for a visa run.
This is How to Get your Thailand Visa
in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
We had a lot of questions we needed to answer before we could start planning our Thailand visa run.
(spoiler alert: We’re going to answer all of them.)
1| Do I even need a Thai visa?
2| Where do we go?
3| How do we get to the Thai Embassy?
4| What documents do we need?
Lumphini Park in Bangkok, Thailand
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There are a few key facts about Thailand Visas we should probably lay out.
+ You can only get a 60 day Thailand tourist visa by applying for one at a Royal Thai Embassy. Here’s a list of Thai Embassies around the world.
+ Passport holders of many countries can get a 30 day visa exemption at an international airport. (this means that if your country is on the list, you can stay for 30 days without getting a Thai tourist visa in advance.
+ Every Thailand embassy is different, and they all have their own set of advantages and disadvantages.
+ In MOST CASES you can extend your Thailand visa once, for an additional 30 days (even if you have the 30-day visa exemption).
+ If you’re over the age of 50, you can apply for a Thai Retirement Visa. Find out more here.
Silver Temple in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Where’s the best place to go?
As we have said before, every embassy is different and comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
The best place for you to get your Thailand visa depends largely on where in Thailand you’re going to be traveling from, as well as your budget.
If you’re in the north, you can fly out of Chiang Mai or Bangkok.
In the south, your best bets for cheap flights are either Krabi or Phuket.
The cheapest flight we found was from Krabi to Kuala Lumpur for about $80 round trip.
Use Skyskanner.com's Destination : Everywhere function to find out the cheapest places to fly from your origin city.
After reading many-a-blog-post on this subject, here’s how we ended up narrowing down our options and eventually selecting
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia as our embassy of choice for a visa run.
Most countries require visas to enter, they can be expensive. This ruled out Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar…
Malaysia offers a free 90 days visa exemption
Flights to Phenom Penh, Cambodia were more expensive than to Kuala Lumpur
Although some blogs said Penang, Malaysia was the easiest, flights to Kuala Lumpur were MUCH cheaper than to Penang.
Note: Should you happen to decide Penang, Malaysia is the best option for you, here’s a very thorough blog post from Tieland to Thailand about how it’s done.
Find a place to stay in Kuala Lumpur
How to Get to the Thai Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Luckily we found an AirBnB that was within a 10 minute walk from the Thai Embassy. It wasn’t the cheapest option for sure, but it was super convenient, and in our down time we were able to take advantage of the pool and gym, and relax in the spacious apartment.
If you're coming from another part of the city. You can take the Metro to one of the nearest stations, either Ampang Park or Damai.
If you're coming from ChinaTown: 11 mins by car | MRT 32mins
From Bukit Bintang: 8 mins by car | MRT 40mins-hour
From KL City Center: 6 mins by car | MRT 21 mins
Bangsar: 19 mins by car | MRT 50 mins
Dataran Merdeka: 15 mins by car | MRT 38 mins
Brickfields: 14 mins by car | MRT 44 mins
The Embassy is open for visa applications Mon-Fri from 9:30 to 11:30.
Best to get there before 8:30 to avoid waiting in a long line for processing. The line stacks up pretty quickly.
You can pick up your visa on the next working day between 2:30 and 4:30. Again, get there EARLY!
Street Food in Chiang Mai, Thailand
What are the Thailand visa requirements?
Write this list down. You’ll need each and every one of these documents. If you’re missing even just one you’re gonna have a bad time. Even still, I’d plan for an extra day just in case. (We were lucky we did.)
+ Thailand Visa application form (download and complete beforehand)
+ Your passport
+ One signed copy of your passport photo page
+ Two passport sized photos taken within the last 6 months
+ Printed, confirmed flight into Thailand
+ Printed, confirmed flight out of Thailand
+ Printed confirmation of accommodation in Thailand (supposed to be for your entire stay, but we were approved with 15 days accommodation)
+ Thailand Visa Fees: 150MYR exactly. (about $35) No Dollars, No change. (and no refunds)
**2018 Update** We’ve heard they’re now also accepting Thai Baht as payment in addition to Ringgit.
Make sure you come with paper copies, not electronic documents.
(If you come unprepared you can print copies in the lobby of the hotel across the street for 1 Ringgit per page.)
Note: We were turned away on our first attempt because we didn’t take this list seriously.
We thought we could get away with not booking our accommodations and our flights out of Thailand until later.
Don’t make the same mistakes we did.
Should you decide to book something with the intention of cancelling later, like a hotel stay, for instance, we promise not to judge…
The good news is...
that even if you blow it, and you aren’t approved for your visa, you can still go back to Thailand and get your 30 day exemption at the airport. Which, you can later extend for an additional 30 days. No big deal.
Phuket Sunday Night Market
If you’re in Thailand and you want to stick around for another 60-90 days, you can do a cheap visa run to Kuala Lumpur.
Write down the list of documents you need.
The visa costs about $35.
Plan to spend an extra day in case of fuck ups.