There are a million posts and articles about how to get your Visa on Arrival in Thailand. But my recent two trips to Thailand and a lot of travellers asking me about the process, makes me want to write about my experience in getting Visa on Arrival in Thailand – I hope it helps someone who is going to Thailand in the near future.
Visa on Arrival sounds so easy and quick, and it certainly is both those things as compared to getting a Visa in advance from the embassy of the country you’re heading to. It becomes especially tough if you don’t reside in the metro cities where all these embassies are located. Like me!
I went to Thailand twice between September and October 2016, so this information is pretty fresh and first hand. Also, the fact that I landed in Bangkok on the very day they changed their Visa on Arrival Fee, makes it relevant.
[ Here’s a cute Passport Cover for all you travel addicts reading this travel blog. Thank me later 😉 ]
On my first trip to Thailand, I took a flight from Delhi to Bangkok. I had to fly to Phuket, after getting my Visa on Arrival in Thailand from Bangkok. As soon as the flight landed in Bangkok, I headed towards the Visa on Arrival counters. I filled the immigration form while in the line.
Now, I landed in Bangkok very early in the morning and the line at the counter was huge even at the wee hours of the morning, when not too many flights were landing. Keep in mind that the Visa on Arrival line sometimes takes up-to an hour and a half!
Bangkok is the biggest hub for Visa on Arrival in Thailand, and is hence the most crowded one as well.
The Bangkok airport is HUGE. If you are there as a first timer and are running short of time, it will feel confusing and way too big to be running to catch a flight. Take it from me, I missed a flight from here and was in a state of complete panic – but that’s a story for another post. All I’m saying it, be careful of time at the Bangkok airport. And if you have to catch a connecting flight from Bangkok airport after getting your Visa on Arrival in Thailand, make sure you have plenty of time between the two flights.
[ I want to add here that I had to charge my phone at this time because the battery was almost out. So I want to also mention that do carry your power bank or a good quality Universal Adaptor to charge your phone at international airports or hotels. I have this one from Secro and it has worked amazing for me for almost 6 international trips now. ]
After standing in the line for so long, I started to worry about catching my connecting flight to Phuket, which was now in two hours. That is when I saw an airport official with a “Domestic Transfers” board in her hand. I went to her and after seeing my tickets, she rushed me to a faster counter where I submitted the required documents etc and was given the Visa on Arrival in flat ten minutes.
So, if you have a connecting flight from Bangkok to another Thai destination, look for the domestic transfer counter for faster processing of the visa.
Now, coming to the documents you require for Visa on Arrival in Thailand. You can see the complete list on Thailand Tourism’s official website, but I will tell you my experience.
I had everything the official website said I should have for the Visa on Arrival in Thailand. However, they did not ask to see my bank statement, my hotel reservation or anything else.
I was asked to show my return ticket, which I had a print out of. They need one passport size photograph to be attached to the visa on arrival form, so keep that handy. This photograph should be recent (six months) and without glasses. They also have a photo booth at the airport, so you can get a picture there as well, but it means losing time.
The Visa on Arrival Fee in Bangkok, Thailand is 2000 Bhat. (As in Sept 2016)
You must have this in cash, in the local currency of course. They do not accept US Dollars or any other currency, so either carry it from India or get it exchanged at the Bangkok airport before you stand in the line for the Visa.
The Visa on Arrival fee in Bangkok used to be lesser, but it was changed to 2000 Bhat in September 2016.
For my next trip to Thailand in Oct 2016 – just a week after my first one – my entry point in Thailand was directly Phuket. I took a flight from Delhi to Phuket, with a four hour transit in Kuala Lumpur. Phuket also has a Visa on Arrival counter and it is much, much faster because it is less crowed.
The Visa on Arrival Fee in Phuket, Thailand is 2200 Bhat. (As in Oct 2016)
The other documents required are the same.
At the immigrating counters, for both these trips, they asked to see my return ticket and in Phuket, they saw my hotel reservation as well.
[ I stayed at the stunning Dream Phuket Hotel & Spa, so check it out if you’re planning a trip to Phuket. ]
The immigration form that you are required to fill in, also asks for the details (Name of the hotel, address) of your stay in Thailand, and also your contact in Thailand. For the latter, you can give name and contact number of your friends in Thailand, if any, or of your travel agent/website’s Thai representative. I had someone both the times, so I am not sure if you can leave it blank. Best is to ask your hotel / booking agent / travel website or agency beforehand.
I usually like to keep all these documents handy and neatly organized, so I bought this cute handbag organizer and it has made my life very easy. ]
After the immigration is done and your passport is stamped, keep the other half of your immigration slip because it will be stamped by now and you will need it when you go back. I lost it during my first trip, and they gave me a new one easily, but it’s quicker to keep it safe.
That’s it. Not tough at all, but even easier if you know what to expect.
One more thing people have asked a lot – There are currency exchange counters everywhere in Thailand, and you can get SIM cards with data on the airport or outside very easily. So don’t worry about those things.
I should also do a post on Travel Insurance because I think it is something very important that most vacationers overlook. I promise I will do it soon.
So, have a great trip to Thailand.
(And in case you noticed, all pictures in this article are from my Instagram account. It would be great to see you there as well. I’m @adicrazy on Instagram)