One plus traveling in Latin America compared to Asia is that most countries gives you 90 days visa on arrival. At least if you like and holds a Swedish passport, the second best passport in the world 2016, only the Germans beats the Swedes:) Unfortunately I don't have the luxury of 90 days here in Thailand where you only get 30 days visa on arrival when you arrive by air. If I would have arrived over land then I only get a short stay of 15 days... Lucky enough you can extend the visa on arrival with another 30 days but that means a trip to an immigration office, so this is what I had to do!
Above is the answer I got on a test I did and although it doesn't sum up who I am when in working life, it defiantly sums up who I am in private life. You would think that I would be more organized and not put things off now when I'm not working and kind of have all the time in the world. But no, I'm still pretty good in getting things done in the last minute...
If I would have been a bit forward thinking and organized then I should have extended my visa on arrival in Bangkok since I was passing through during my trip from Koh Chang to Koh Tao. Or even better, I should have applied for a 60 day tourist visa back in Manila which only takes a day or two. But no why make it easy for myself?!
So instead of arranging my extension of visa in Bangkok I headed over to Koh Tao, found a great place to stay and signed up at a Crossfit gym as you probably already know. I had a nagging feeling following me around, that I should arrange my visa situation tomorrow, everyday I told myself that "I go tomorrow", until one day, when I actually had to go since it was coming up to the weekend and my visa would run out on the Sunday. The Thais are stricter with the overstaying rules now days and the fine is THB 500/ USD 14/ EUR 13 day and if you over stay for a certain amount of days then they ban you for returning to the country for a number of year/years. With this in mind I told myself that "ok, there is no turning back, let's do this".
Said and done I booked my boat ticket including taxi to the pier the evening before and got all paper work in order. Oh I make it sound bigger and more complicated then it is when I say paper work. The only thing required is:
Since taxi was included in the ferry price I obviously agreed to be picked up the next morning at 930 to be able to catch the 10 am ferry to Koh Samui... So this is why I should have done the visa thing in Bangkok or even in Manila. There is no immigration office where I am at the moment so had to jump on a 2 hour boat ride to one of the nearby islands. During breakfast that morning I also made a discovery that they moved the immigration office just a couple of weeks prior so instead of a 20 minute brisk walk, it was more then half an hour drive away from the pier. Ok, no big deal and happy I discovered it before standing in front of a closed building.
After a freezing boat ride, they do like their Air co here, where they showed Mr Bean for the entire two hours I was happy that we finally docked at my destination. Got off the ferry and headed across the street to rent a scooter, thought that would be the easiest and best option to get to and from the immigration office. Managed to find the immigration office on Google maps and then I set off. After about 40 minutes I finally saw a sign telling me to do a right turn to the office and then another turn and then finally I was there...
Reading about how strict some immigration offices are on dress code, I came prepared with long trousers and shoes in my bag just in case. Apparently you not let in with vest top, shorts and sandals in some places but i didn't need to worry. No probs wearing shorts, tee and sandals here! Sat down and filled in two different forms, took a deep breath and prepared myself for a long cue and a long wait to get my passport stamped. Also took another deep breath and hoped everything was in order so I didn't have to come back again.
With what I believed was all I required I went up and cued at the counter with only one person in front of me. Then it was my turned so got my big smile on, friendliest voice, handed over all paperwork and hoped everything would go smooth. The guy behind the counter checked everything and all seem in order but then when he was about to glue the passport photo on to the application he looked at me... I looked at the paper and realized the photo was in the wrong size, deep sigh and the thought of "nooo, shit". But the guy smiled, didn't care about the picture being to small. I was more then surprised!
After paperwork was done then I had to go to another counter then have my picture taken and then I was asked to sit down and wait. I asked if they knew for how long and was told half an hour. Half an hour in Thailand can be anything from half an hour to two hours so my guess was more on the two hours. But again I got a big surprise when I was called 15 minutes later and was handed over my passport with my visa extension ready... Said thanx and then got on my scooter for the drive back to the pier. Since my ferry didn't leave until 5 PM, I could stop at a local place for some proper good Thai food. Oh was it good!
Then back to the scooter shop, returned my scooter without any hassle and then it was another 2 hour on a ferry back to Koh Tao with a feeling of "wow that was so simple, why didn't I get this done earlier". If you could rate Koh Samui immigration office on TripAdvisor then I would defiantly give it a five out of five:)
Koh Samui Immigration Office
Mon-Fri: 830 AM - 430 PM Closed 12-1
333 Maenam Road, Soi 1 Moo 1,
Tambon Maenam, Amphoe Koh Samui,
More Visa Info
If you for some reason get to the office without passport photo and photocopies required then do not worry. There is a place just next to the office with that service...
Visa Extension: THB 1900/ USD 54/ EUR 50
Photo Copies: THB 30/ USD 0.90/ EUR 0.80
Ferry Koh Tao - Koh Samui: THB 500/ USD 14.50/ EUR 13
Scooter rent: THB 150/ USD 4.50/ EUR 4 half day
Petrol: THB 40/ USD 1.10/ EUR 1
Ferry Koh Samui - Koh Tao: THB 700/ USD 20/ EUR 18.50
I decided that it was time for a career break. So handed in my notice to the company who I worked with for the last ten years. It's time to pack my bag and depart from Amsterdam which been my home town for the last 4.5 years. -"Amsterdam, it's not you it's me and I need a break!". Read more
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