Visa Run to Chon Chom @ the Cambodian Border

One of the challenges facing many Tourists visiting Korat who want to delay their return flights and stay in the Kingdom a little longer is not exceeding the 30 day visa exemption that tourists from most nationalities are given when they enter Thailand.

A simple solution to this problem is to do a Visa Run to one of Thailand's borders, leave the country and then re-enter. Visa Runs are also done by those who have longer term Tourist Visa's who need to leave and then re-enter to renew a multiple-entry Tourist Visa.

I chose to head to the Thai-Cambodian Border at Chong Chom because it's the closest border crossing to Korat. I left at around 10:30am and drove on the 224 out of Korat towards Pak Thong Chai. At the junction I then turned left onto the 24 sign posted to Ubon Ratchathani. After about an hour I came to another junction where the dual carriageway ended and headed towards Surin on a single carriageway road. When I got to Prasat I turned left onto the 214 and headed towards the border at Chong Chom. The entire journey took around 3 hours.

At the border I exited Thailand and my passport was stamped out. I then crossed the no-man's land to the Cambodian side of the border and filled in a Cambodian Visa Application form (available from the office on the right hand side of the road). I paid 1000 Baht for the visa which is higher than the published price of just over 800 Baht but since the e-visa can not be used at Chong Chom there is no other choice. I was then issued with a full page Cambodian Visa in my passport.

I then moved to the next window and filled in an Arrival Card and a Departure Card (again available from the same office) and handed the Cards over to the official who stamps you into Cambodia. He normally asks how long you are staying, to which the reply if your returning the same day is obviously one day. He will then ask for 300 Baht (or whatever he feels like asking for) as the alleged charge for a one day return. There is no such charge and you should refuse to pay it. Just reply with a firm but not aggressive response stating that there is no need to pay any more. He will then just carry on and hand you back your passport with no mention of the 300 Baht again.

I then crossed the road to the departure office where I handed over my departure card and passport and was stamped out of Cambodia.

It was then time to return to the Thai border where I filled in and arrivals card, presented it to the official and was stamped into Thailand for 30 days.

I then drove back to Prasat, had a meal at Staffords and headed on back to Korat.

The current ruling for holders of a United Kingdom Passport (7/4/2014) is that if you arrived by air prior to your border run you are given 30 days. If however you have done a previous border run and therefore previously entered by a land border you are given 15 days. Theses rulings tend not to be set in stone and variations from one border crossing point to another occur regularly, for example, some people were being stamped back in for 30 days even though they had done a border run to Chong Chom the month before.

For those of you who like to gamble there are two casinos on each side of the road between the borders, so if your feeling lucky pop into one of them and see if lady luck is on your side, it could pay for your visa run?

Please note that the entry conditions for Thailand change regularly so please check online for the latest information before you leave. 

Important Update - Saturday 10th May 2014 

What's On Korat has been informed that as of today, foreign nationals residing in Thailand will no longer be able to exit and then re-enter the kingdom via a land border crossing in order to gain another 30 or 15 day stay in Thailand.

However, Non-Immigrant Visa or Tourist visa holders with remaining entries on their visa can exit and enter Thailand as before.

These new measures are targeting foreign visitors without a visa who are regularly entering and exiting the kingdom every 15 or 30 days as a way of extending their stay in Thailand.

From today visitors can only enter into Thailand via a land border once, after that they will be refused entry to the Kingdom and are advised to fly out and return with a visa obtained from a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate in a neighbouring country or overseas.


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