Your allotted time in the Land of Smiles may be coming to a close, but that’s no reason to wipe the smile off your face entirely. It’s about time we did a Thai Visa run.
Head to toe…
Thailand is an incredibly large and diverse country, which is worth exploring top to bottom and inside out. It can be difficult to do it justice on the original Visa you have been granted on first entry.
However, if you’re looking for a little top up on your Visa, Thailand’s charismatic Khmer neighbour is on the doorstep to help you out. The traveller kingdom of Cambodia has got its stamps at the ready to top up your Thai Visa.
Why is Cambodia the favourite amongst travellers and Denzel Washingtons when it comes to Thailand Visa run options…?
Why Cambodia Is Best For Your Thai Visa Run
First and foremost, if you know what you’re doing (which we will make sure you do), it’s an incredibly easy process. So easy, even a well-equipped four years old could handle it – cheers Denzel.
No stone left unturned…
We’ve been jumping between Asian countries for over a decade now, and have gathered the full inside scoop and all the hacks when it comes to renewing your Thai Visa.
Pack your passports ladies and gents, this Visa run is going to be smoother than the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Forget light jogging, power walking, even running, this is going to be a Thai Visa sprint.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be a sprint. Depending on your budget and itinerary, we’ll provide you with the full array of options which includes spending a bit of time in the cultural wonderland that is Cambodia.
Thai Visa Run: What To Bring
Right, we certainly don’t want the rug to be pulled from underneath you when attempting to cross the border from Thailand to Cambodia, and then zip back the other way.
When embarking on the Thai Visa run, these are the essentials that you’ll need to bring with you:
- Passport (of course), with any applicable Visas
- Thailand departure card (which you would have received when you last entered Thailand)
- One passport-size snazzy photo
- 1000 baht (or $30) for your Cambodian Visa
- A pen (always good to be packing some ink just in case)
Word of warning: they’ll be a number companies online that will offer to do the Thai Visa with you as a guide. These companies can charge extortionate prices. We’ll give you all you need to know in this article to make sure you can successfully go solo.
Sweet, we’re raring to go. Grab some snacks and some road beers, we’re jumping through the portal into the realm of Thai Visa run experts.
Thailand Visa Run Options: Cambodian Adventure
It’s rarely nice to be rushing around, especially on the hot and sweaty roads of South East Asia. Sometimes it’s nice to kick back, relax and catch your breath. This also applies to the Thai Visa Run.
If time is on your side, we’d highly recommend touching base in Cambodia and exploring the local area. It’s an incredibly vibrant and beautiful country that perfectly compliments any Thailand adventures.
Being the closest major traveller destination to Thailand, Siem Reap would be the obvious place to start your Thai Visa run adventure.
If you’re travelling by bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap, the bus will try to drop you off at a Cambodian Visa “Pre Issue Point”. No need for this as it will cost you an entirely unnecessary $10.
Instead, exit the bus on the Thai side of the border and stroll across to the Cambodian side where you’ll see the Visa station on the right-hand side.
Thailand Visa run by air…
Connecting flights from Thailand to Siem Reap or Phnom Penh (where you can easily obtain your Cambodian visa) are obviously a much quicker journey and very reasonably priced, and once you’ve touched down in the Khmer kingdom it’s an effortless process to get your Thai Visa topped up.
That’s what we’re here for…
At Mad Monkey, we want to make sure that your travels are stress-free, exempt from the hassle and as easy as Sunday mornings. That’s why we’ve introduced a full Visa processing service at all of our hostels in Cambodia.
That’s worth a Jeremy Corbyn ‘high 5’ right there…
Jeremy, you cheeky chappy you.
Thai Visa Run: We’ll Do All The Work For You…
As we were saying, indeed we do run a full Visa processing service in-house at all of our Cambodia hostels for both backpackers and expatriates alike.
Whether you need to extend an existing Visa or gain a new one for your future travels, we can handle all the paperwork for you and will make sure you get the best rates possible.
Easy, oh so easy…
All you have to do is visit our front desk at Mad Monkey with your passport, and the rest will be taken care of. Just take a perch at the bar with an ice cold beer and your Visa will be with you shortly.
Visa Processing At Mad Monkey
The process will normally be completed within a couple of days depending on your nationality if you are lucky enough to be from a country where you can get a visa on entry you can even just stay for the weekend and come back to Thailand to process it at the airport or Thai border.
Some other countries also need a Visa on entry…
For example; Vietnam, The Philippines & Thailand. If you book yourself a bed at one of the Mad Monkey hostels and have a word with the lovely staff at the front desk (with your passport), they’ll sort out all your Visa worries.
Venturing into mainland Cambodia for the Thai Visa run is an incredibly popular option for travellers as it allows them to grab a slice of the Cambodian culture before returning to the tantalising Thai scenes. Two birds, one stone.
If like many Thai Visa runners, a Cambodia adventure is calling your name, our dedicated team of Visa processors will be ready and wait your arrival at one of our hostels.
These are the destinations in which we can take all your Thai Visa run stresses away:
- Siem Reap – Check out our hostel page here
- Phnom Penh – Dive into the experience here
- Kampot – Cruise on over to Kampot here
- Koh Rong Samloem – Unveil our private island paradise here
Coming from Thailand, Siem Reap is the most logical destination to visit as it’s closest to the Thai border.
With that in mind…
Here’s a little teaser into what you’ll be up to while we’re processing the hell out of your Visa…
If time isn’t on your side and you’re literally looking to take a couple breaths of Cambodian air before returning to Thailand, here’s all you need to know…
Thailand Visa Run Options: Quick Fix
We love simplicity, and this applies to the quick fix Thai Visa run options we’ll be providing you with here. There are only two to choose from; crossing the border at Poipet Banteay Meanchey or Cham Yeam.
Poipet Banteay Meanchey is perfect for those of you embarking on your Thai Visa run from Bangkok or the North of Thailand.
Cham Yeam is the one from any of you popping across to Cambodia from the more Southerly stretch of Thailand.
Let’s kick off with Poipet…
Thai Visa Run: How To Top Up The Visa In Poipet
This option is the most popular quick fix Thai Visa run option for travellers.
Poipet Thai Visa Run: Getting to Aranyaprathet
First things first, you’ll be needing to get to the Thai border. Aranyaprathet is the Thai town cuddled up to the border that you’ll need to get to. It’s located about a 3-hour drive east of Bangkok and be reached by car, train, taxi, van or bus.
This network of roads are notorious for accidents, so we’d highly recommend not travelling at night time.
The early bird catches the Visa worms…
Another invaluable recommendation we have for you is spending the night in Aranyaprathet before doing the Thai Visa run. Bucketloads of travellers will tip up throughout the day to do exactly the same thing. Through spending the night you can get up at the crack of dawn and avoid the lengthy queues.
We’d also advise going for your Thai Visa run on a weekday, as weekends come with much more traffic.
Poipet Thai Visa Run: Exiting Thailand
If you’ve sorted yourself a hotel room, scoff down the buffet breakfast and jump in a tuk-tuk that will take you to the border.
Where possible, leave all your non-essential belongings in your hotel room. You won’t be bogged down with unnecessary baggage and will look much more like a pro-border crosser than a tourist.
The tuk-tuk is likely to drop you in a market, from which you’ll be looking for a sign which says something along the lines of “To Border”. Follow that sign down the alley to the Thai Immigration Office.
Assuming you’re a non-Thai national, you’ll need to walk upstairs to the second floor of the Immigration Office (have your passport and Thailand departure card with you).
Fingers crossed there’s no queue…
Once you’re stamped out of Thailand, exit the Immigration Office and head over the canal towards Cambodian soil. You’ll probably be approached by a few fake Cambodian officials, politely pay no attention to them.
Poipet Thai Visa Run: Re-entering Thailand
Once you’ve crossed the road you’ll find yourself at the Cambodian Immigration Office (have your passport, passport photo and 1000 baht Visa cost with you).
Upon leaving the Immigration Office, you should now have your Cambodian Visa, and you need to turn right past the casino (red or black?) to a small building with around 4 windows and queues. This is where you’ll be stamped into Cambodia.
Now it’s time to get stamping yourself out…
You’ll need to go back across the street. There will be a very similar looking building on the other side where you’ll be stamped out of Cambodia.
Next stop, Thailand…
Almost tasting that sweet Thai air again, you’ll need to walk back to the Thai Immigration Office, grab a new arrivals & departures card from the table and reclaim your place in line.
After being stamped back into Thailand, cruise your way through the brief customs security checkpoint and proudly stride back onto the Thai lands. Simples.
Thai Visa Run: How To Top Up The Visa In Cham Yeam
Although less popular, this is is the Thailand Visa run options that are believed to be a smoother ride and comes with fewer scams.
Poipet Thai Visa Run: Getting to Had Lek
Thai Visa runners, there are two words we need you to remember…
Had. Lek. Had Lek is the tiny border town where you can exit into Cambodia. Either grab a bus from Trat bus station, a taxi or a tuk-tuk and make sure they drop you at the Thai Immigration Office. Departures will be on the left-hand side.
Cham Yeam Thai Visa Run: Exiting Thailand
Be sure to have your passport and Thailand departure card with you, the Thai Immigration Officers are usually very professional and helpful here.
Once you’re out of the Thai Immigration Office, you’ll need to walk the 100 metre Usain Bolt stretch to the Cambodian Immigration Office.
Again, there can be some Thai Visa run scammers here that are looking to make a quick buck or two. Wade your way through any imposters and make your way to the window of the Cambodian Immigration Office (they’ll be a sign above it saying “Cambodia Visa Service”).
You’ll be given a Visa application form from whoever is at the window. Fill that baby in and then head inside the Immigration Office with your application, passport, passport photo, and 1000 baht.
Efficiency is certainly not one of the Cambodian Immigration Office’s strong suits. Be prepared to queue a little while and then wait a little while longer as they process your application.
It can be advisable to get an e-Visa in advance to save yourself the hassle here.
Visa is sorted. Now, get moving towards the arrivals window and grab the arrivals and departures cards. Quickly fill them in once again, return them to the arrivals window, and prepare to get stamped into Cambodia.
Cham Yeam Thai Visa Run: Re-entering Thailand
Once you’ve been stamped into Cambodia, all you need to do is go to the departures window and get stamped out.
Word of warning…
We’ve heard stories of the Cambodian Immigration Office trying to charge Thai Visa runners 300 baht for heading back to Thailand on the same day as arriving in Cambodia. This is utter nonsense!
Once you’re successfully stamped out of Cambodia, turn yourself around and walk straight back to the Thai Immigration Office to get yourself a fresh Visa for your next Thailand adventure.
Not too bad at all.
Visa Thailand Run 2017
Remember, if the quick fix options sound like too much of a ball/boob-ache, you’re more than welcome to come and visit us at one of our Mad Monkey traveller palaces, and we’ll do all the hard work for you.
Safe travels and a smooth Thai Visa run travelers!
More Articles On Thai Visa Run Options
If you’re looking for any more running tips, check out the articles below. It’s all good baby…
- Visa Run Thailand 2017 by the Thai Web Guide
- Thailand Visa Run Options: Poipet by The Jai Yen Country
- Visa Run From Bangkok To Cambodia by One Step 4ward
- Thailand Visa Run Options: Koh Kong by It’s Better In Thailand
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