For anyone that has been reading this blog a while you’ll know that the last time I took a trip to the Thai Immigration office it was…a bit stressful. You can read for yourself here https://pauldancewriter.com/2019/01/07/my-nice-relaxing-calming-and-soothing-first-visit-to-a-thai-immigration-office/
So it was with some trepidation that I (heroically) set off on my second trip to the Thai Immigration office in a building named Government Complex. The word ‘complex’ seems to fit so naturally with the word ‘government’, I’m sure it’s the same wherever you live…governements like to make things as complicated as they can and getting a visa stamp in Bangkok is no different. Cue Avril Lavigne.
I was going to post a Gif of Avril here but I spent twenty minutes trying to copy and paste it with no luck. So you’ll just have to imagine that she’s here singing her famous hit about some bloke making things so complicated, you know how it goes ‘la-la-la-la-la-la-la so complicated’ – very catchy.
Anyway, back to the matter at hand…
Sorry I’ve just noticed that my Grammarly Chrome Extension isn’t working so I do apologise if my spelling is off in this post. Why won’t my Grammarly work? How do I fix it? Is there something I’m not doing that I should be that will fix my incredibly first world problem?
A Trip To Thai Immigration…Again
I awoke early, as I felt it was just easier to get the pain over quicker, like ripping a plaster off a frog. The benefit of leaving early is that the weather is a lot cooler, the downside is, every one in Thailand seems to be taking the exact same route as me – it’s busy…very busy. A bus full of people arrived at the stop and despite the lack of space on it, I almost danced into its cool interior. I’ve never been happier to get on public transport as I am when I get on any in Thailand – that cool air hits you like a cucumber in a sock and you feel the sweat instantly freeze.
I changed from the bus to the BTS skytrain at Chong Nonsi and endured a sweaty ten minute wait for the train to arrive. I was so happy to see it arrive that I felt like doing a whole Brittany Spears dance routine while stepping off the platfrom, into the nice cold bossom of the BTS aircon. I probably would’ve done it but the train was packed leaving me with barely enough room to do a step-ball-change.
After a short ride on the BTS I changed to the MRT which is exactly the same as the BTS Skytrain but undergroud. This train was going to take me all the way up to a place called Chatuchak Park, one of the oldest parks in Bangkok and home to one of the biggest markets on the weekends.
I exited the coolness of the underground station into the searing heat and I eyed the taxi’s that stretched off into the distance. It was still only 8:45 am and the roads were crammed with traffic moving slower than a snail with its trousers wrapped around its ankles.
The taxi driver at the front of the line wound his window down, ‘Chaengwattana, Immigration Office?’I said. The driver looked slowly at the road in front of us and began to shake his head, ‘Oh very busy…I will take you for 300 baht’. I felt like laughing in his face – I’d taken a taxi to the immigration office from Chatuchak Park before and it was 120 baht max. ‘Ive been that way before and it only cost me 100 baht’ I said. The driver shoock his head and the car window slowly closed in my face.
The next driver in line smiled and before I new it I was sitting in the back seat and we were on our way. I know some people can get very angry with the ‘haggling’ aspect of some taxi drivers in Thailand but it doesn’t really bother me, they’re just trying to make a few extra bucks. Sometimes it will pay off for them and sometimes it won’t. The way I look at it is the driver could make 100 baht taking me or make nothing by trying to ask for too much – I know who loses in the end.
What Could Possibly Go Wrong
Once at the immigration office and a brief bag check I was standing in line, holding my ticket and waiting for my number to flash up on the screen. ‘What will go wrong this time?’ I wondered. The wrong date on my entry stamp again? A new change in the law that means I can only apply for a visa extension twice in one year? The laws here change quite frequently so you have to keep on top of things. Was this trip to Thai immigration going to go down in history like the last time?
My number flashed up and I was inside the office having been greeted with a warm smile from the officer that would be deciding my fate. After a few minutes reading the form I’d filled out the night before and the dates on my passport she looked up and said, ‘1,900 baht, please’. Is this it, is everything ok? I wondered. Surely it won’t be so easy?!
Well, I’m sorry to dissapoint you but…it was. Nothing exciting or anything that makes up a good story happened. Avril Lavigne, get back into your box – this visa stuff is a synch! As the immigration officer handed me back my newly stamped passport she leaned forward slightly and spoke softly into my ear, ‘next time you come to imigration please wear trousers’.
…I’ve never known the immigration office to be somewhere you have to dress ‘respectfully’ like you would in a temple so her comment totally flummoxed me. Then I realised that it was because my legs are SO attractive that it was utterly distracting for them. I’ll take the note and respect their wishes next time.
If you have some how come across this post in search of actual information regarding what to do when extending your visa in Thailand, I’m sorry you’ve had to sit through this drivel. In a nutshell, photocopy your passport (photo page and the visa you entered with in your passport), take one passport photograph, 1,900 baht and nice lovely long pair of trousers it seems!