As you can probably imagine, I’m on vacation, yay!
Before we got to Thailand, I have read a lot of confusing stories about getting a visa on arrival in Bangkok, as a Romanian national. So I decided to document our process.
For Romanians, the visa on arrival process is like this:
- before you land, you fill in the arrival and departure forms on the plane
- you land and head to the Visa on Arrival area
- pick up a big form and fill that in with the same data you put in the landing card
- you exchange 200 bhat (~$7) per person for photos and get Visa photos next to the Visa on Arrival area, where you pay the attendant upfront and they take a quick passport size photo, cash only
- depending on the season, you might have to pay a tourist visa fee of 2000 bhat (~$70) per person, cash only. There are several exchanges there, so bring cash with you. The rates are ok, don’t be scared. The visa fee is currently waived until April 2020
- Then with everything in hand, go to the Visa counter and you should be good to go. They will ask you for your address in Thailand, so have that prepared, as well as the return ticket
The other point that got us confused was the two airports in Bangkok, both international. We landed on the Bangkok International BKK Suvarnabhumi. When we did our research, we found great tickets to Phuket from Bangkok International DMK Don Mueang. A quick Google Maps search for the acronym DMK took us to the same BKK airport we were arriving on, so we thought it would be a piece of cake. It wasn’t.
When we tried to find the flight, we couldn’t see the code and had to go to the AirAsia service desk to learn that for over 5 years now, Phuket flights were no longer running from BKK but from DMK. Mind you, we had about 1h and 15mins until takeoff at this point. Even the visa guy smiled at us, but we only understood why when we realized the mistake we had made.
This other international airport is about 40-45 min away by taxi, and it costs about 400-500 bhat (~$15) to get there. Our taxi driver went the extra mile and got us there in time, about 20 mins before the plane was leaving. We ended this adventure with a run, but made it in time. Ah, one more thing to note AirAsia is not super strict when it comest to the 7kg policy, so we took our bags onboard. Security is also way quicker and easier than anything in the US or Europe for domestic flights.
I hope people visiting Thailand will be less confused than we were. First time I ever confused airports!
Photo by Diego Muñoz Suárez on Unsplash