2 Options to Renew Thai Visa Waivers

Part 1: How Thai Visa Waivers got us to Kuala Lumpur – This Post
Part 2: AirAsia Hot Seat Experience Chiang Mai to Kuala Lumpur – Click Here
Part 3: What to do in Kuala Lumpur for 48 Hours- Click Here
Part 4: Air Asia Hot Seats Kuala Lumpur to Chiang Mai Click Here

The Importance of a Thai Visa Waiver

The Thai tourist visa exemption for Americans (and many others) is one month.

This means that tourists can visit Thailand for one month for free without going through a formal visa process (which can get very complicated and expensive).

Just get an arrival stamp in your passport when you arrive in Thailand and don’t over-stay the waiver.

Until we started our full time affordable luxury lifestyle this was never an issue for Lisa or me.

At most we would spend a week or two traveling in Thailand before returning home to the States. So we never came close to overstaying our visa exemptions when we were traveling for vacation.

But now our lives are different.

We had spent about a week in Koh Samui when we first got to Thailand.

So after about 3 weeks in Chiang Mai we had a decision to make.

We could pack up and move on.

But Lisa had ordered some new product samples from China that would be delivered to our flat in Chiang Mai in the subsequent couple weeks.

So we chose to extend our time in Chiang Mai by a week or two.

2 Options for Renewing Thai Visa Waivers

In order to legally stay in Chiang Mai longer, we had two options:

The first was to extend our tourist visa by visiting the immigration office in and paying a fee.

Simple enough…if a bit dry and boring.

The second, and imho far more fun option, was to leave Thailand for a while then come back on a new arrival stamp visa exemption. We are, after all, TRAVELERS!

This second option is common among digital nomads in Chiang Mai and all over Thailand.

It’s called a ‘border run’ or ‘visa run,’ and in fact there are businesses that specifically cater to helping foreigners get to a border crossing.

The most common and famous from Chiang Mai is the border crossing with Myanmar at Mae Sai – a few hours from Chiang Mai by road – where you pay some fees and just walk over the border and back again to get a new passport stamp.

The practice of border runs is a bit controversial.

Some digital nomads basically use border runs to become expats in Thailand -and it is constantly rumored in the digital nomad community that Thai authorities will crack down on it…at some point.

But we were actually traveling for the weekend rather than doing a border run. So we didn’t sweat it.

Why Kuala Lumpur?

After a few weeks in Chiang Mai where we were having fun and working on our remote businesses we were up for a bit of adventure and travel.

So we looked for cheap excursions to places we thought would hold our interest for a couple of days.

We quickly honed in on Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Here’s why:

  • Lisa visited Kuala Lumpur in 2008 as a side trip from her Deloitte project in Hyderabad, India. I had never been.
  • Kuala Lumpur is not a city or area for slow travel for us (too hot and humid). But we nevertheless wanted to see some sites: Batu Caves, Petronas Towers, etc.
  • We were easily able to find a fabulous homestay at the Dorsett Residences in the heart of the hopping Bukit Bintang area of KL for only about $40 US/night.

The stars aligned and our decision was made: we were on our way to Kuala Lumpur…and to get a new Thai visa waiver!

Bottom Line – 2 Options for Renewing Thai Visa Waivers

Keeping your visa valid in Thailand is important. Overstaying your visa waiver will get you kicked out of the country – potentially for good!

You can either renew Thai visa waivers at the Thai visa office or you can travel around southeast Asia for a few days and return to Thailand.

We prefer the latter!

Part 1: How Thai Visa Waivers got us to Kuala Lumpur – This Post
Part 2: AirAsia Hot Seat Experience Chiang Mai to Kuala Lumpur – Click Here
Part 3: What to do in Kuala Lumpur for 48 Hours- Click Here
Part 4: Air Asia Hot Seats Kuala Lumpur to Chiang Mai – Click Here

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