When you fly into Thailand, you’re only given a month long visa free entry. So after a few weeks in Bangkok and a few weeks on the islands in the south, I needed to either leave the country or do what is called a Visa Run and extend my stay by two weeks. This requires exiting Thailand, entering another country and then returning, where you are given 15 more days of entry into Thailand. I was headed up to Bangkok from the island of Koh Phi Phi, so the border town of Ranong seemed like the logical place in which to accomplish this task. Most main tourist spots have services which take care of the details for you, but I wasn’t going back to the same place so these didn’t fit to my needs. I would be doing it on my own. While not the most heavily trodden path for a traveler, doing a Visa Run on your own in Ranong is quite doable. Here’s how it all went down.
I was staying with an awesome family just outside Ranong who offered to give me a ride to the pier. It’s open from 8:30 am to 6 pm. You’ll need a copy of your passport and crisp $10 USD. Both can be obtained at the pier (photo copy – 5 Baht), but if at all possible exchange for the ten dollar bill ahead of time. At the pier, one will cost you a steep 500 Baht, 200 Baht more than the going exchange rate.
Next you’ll wait in line and get your Thai exit stamp. By this point, you will probably have been offered the services of many boat captains. The going rate is 200 Baht, but make sure yours has a roof if it’s a hot day, which it normally is. The boat ride takes about 30 minutes and drops you off in the Burmese city of Kawthoung. Not much is there, but if you’re a smoker (I don’t cause it’s bad for you), the cigarettes are cheaper than in Thailand. The border control men in the tiny office will gladly take your $10 and send you off with an entry and exit stamp in no time, piece of cake. An English man I shared the boat with joked about how the cameras used to not work, but they’d pretend to take your picture anyways in order to look official.
After you have your stamps, you can jump back in your boat and head back to the Land of Smiles. Once there, wait in line for your reentry stamp and you’re done. It’s pretty simple. Now get back on a bus and head back to the beach.
What You Need Beforehand:
- Nothing but I’d recommend having a crisp $10 already
- Myanmar Entry/Exit Stamp: $10 or 500 Baht
- Boat ride to and from Myanmar: 200 Baht
- Photo Copy – 5 Baht
- Taxi to the pier – depends on where you’re coming from. I paid 100 Baht for a motorbike taxi to a part of Ranong near the bus station.