Thoughts before visa extension

24 Dec 2010

2 months can pass very quickly when you are in Ko Phangan, and than after that period of time spent in lying down at the beach getting some color, some milkshakes of all kinds and if you lucky a short and if less long love affair, have to go Samui to renew the visa.

Usually when I think about a day wasted, the first think comes to my mind is bureaucratic procedures, after that there are in this list other subjects such as work, going to a bad party, or going home without the girl you spend all night trying to charm. Of course there are some more in that list and I am sure all of you can donate more ideas for wasted days, hours, years and life time, but I am quit sure that none of you will put bureaucracy out of his list.
This visa procedure is not something Thailand should be blamed for especially. In comparison to other countries, it is not that hard to get a visa to Thailand and to extend it, but still going to Natong in Samui and spend an hour for the process and 3 more for the return boat is far from being the best idea for a magical extravagant exiting experience.
Anyway, have to go or really have to go ג€“ SO - pack some stuff that usually from previous experiences in this visa procedure will not be used as I am usually spending my time wondering around - watching the advertise post cards at the immigration office and hoping for not having any issues with the extension, but still pack about 80% of the following elements: book, camera and note book for thoughts and sketches extra T shirt if it will get cold, and thatג€™s t more or less. This is the reason I guess why only 80% is being taken, as like in this article it is very hard to remember all.
There are some different options and roots for completing this mission; the most recommended one, by me, is taking the ferry going out from thong-Sala to Nathong. This ferry departure Phangan between 12 to 12:30 noon time, I can not say for sure when, but I remember that every time I arrived at 12:30 I missed it and when I arrived at 12, the ferry was leaving the pier not before 1, so for accurate information about that check other pages at the site or just arrive early.
There are other options as well. There is a ferry lives at 7 am and if you choose to take it you can be back in Phangan at the 12 noon time boat. I never tried this option yet and small chances that I ever will. The need for a late slow wake up bits the getting back early option.
Another option that I actually did use, is taking the 2 or 2:30 boat from Haad Rin To Buddha pier and from there take a motorbike taxi to Natong, it around 20-30 minutes from the pier to immigration. Surprisingly, this option is not that bad. I used it once when I arrive to Thong Sala not late than 12:30 but I was announced that the ferry left. As it was my last day for visa, I decided to make the extra effort, drive from Thong Sala to Haad Rin and catch the boat from there.
I still prefer the 12 to 1 option, but I can say that with the Haad Rin option, you arrive to immigration around 4 when it is already empty, so the process there runs faster, and u are right on time to the 4:30 or 5:30 boat, which goes from Natong to Thong Sala, which is a disadvantage as you have to make your way back to Haad Rin To Bring back the motorbike.
The process at the immigration office is not that complicated, you need about 2000 Baht Passport photo and to copy some pages from your passport, probably the one carries your photo and 1-2 more, who knows???
In case you have not brought one or more of these elements, it is not a problem, of course accept the money element. You can make your passport photo and the small shop outside the immigration office, or even better than that inside the immigration office. The nice girls there added this service after watching the small shop near making a lot of money for a long while. You can say that immigration office is not a photography shop, but in this case put in your mind that the shop near selling suites, which is not very fitting as well.
But anyway, who cares, I prefer doing it inside the office hoping that making some income for them will make them like me more. I am also always buying a coffee and a candy from the small snack shop the nice girls open in the office as well, after watching the seven eleven shop near making a lot of money for a long while.
And than Wait Wait Wait and sometime Wait some more, and if not unexpected issues raised you get the 30 days extension, now it is just the going back to Phangan. The hard part is behind, you know you made it for at least 30 days more, and you know that after that period more efforts will be needed in going to Malaysia Myanmar Laos Cambodia or other to run your second entry or for making a new one.
Anyway, good luck to us all with that, I am just about to leave my house and going Thong Sala.