A Whale of a Time: Going on a Visa Run in Thailand

If you were to ask a hundred random westerners that had never been to southeast Asia, what a “visa run” is, you’d probably get a weird mixture of “charity 5k run?” and “competitive shopping?” responses. Ask the same question to just about anyone who has been to that unique and beautiful part of the world, and you’ll likely get nothing but glazed over eyes and some nervous twitches in response.

Ryan Farley / Own Work
Ryan Farley / Own Work

A “visa run” is a circle of bureaucratic hell wherein foreigners must leave the country to submit documents to a Thai embassy in order to apply to continue residing in the country (that they’ve just left). As a longish resident of Thailand, I’ve done a few of these.

In hopes of entertaining, and possibly educating you (if you decide to make the time-traveling journey to this side of the globe), this is a step by step guide through my Thai visa run.