Every time the wife gets this “there-is-a-long-weekend-coming-up” travel idea and suggests Bangkok for emptying my wallet, I get jittery in more than one way but I was banking on Thailand visa on arrival facility. After a sleepless unearthly hour flight and still no decent coffee or breakfast, the process of taking a visa at the airport is at most times quite a nightmare.
So here goes. You suddenly realise that not just your entire flight but five others are queuing up to avail Thailand visa on arrival facility. Statistics reveal that around 17% of Thai GDP is dependent on international tourist arrivals.
Hope you have the right amount of Thai Baht in hand, a photo, correctly filled forms, and the patience for a long wait. The Thai people as such are a very polite and welcoming lot but government officers men or women, at any airport, all over the world are the same. Bored, tired and indifferent.
Fast track? Oh yes if they are in the mood, and its your lucky day, they can do that for an extra Baht 200 per head but for some reason its strictly unofficial and they will not issue a receipt for it.
Anyway, so hopefully one could get away with an hour’s wait if lucky but do bear in mind that if you are travelling with young children even an hour converts into four and I have seen families begging the officers for priority to get nothing but a poker face look in return.
Never again, I promised. So here is what I do. I check the calendar in advance for those ultra long weekend. Not just any calendar, I prefer the old fashioned Kalnirnay almanac in English, so I get even the most obscure regional holidays mapped. Ask the wife to identify her annual Bangkok long weekend and ensure we make all our travel plans and bookings well in advance, and ensure we have a visa stamped in the passport.
Not only do we save a ton of money on advance purchase, but I enjoy the envious look on the face of my fellow travellers, who are just getting ready on arrival for the great visa on arrival process. While we breeze through Thai immigration and customs with our baggage.
So if you really want to feel “Sawatdee ka” quickly follow this travel foresight. You can read more about us here.