Three Visa Run Destinations from Bangkok

Any long-term expat in Thailand knows of the dreaded ninety-day "visa run". Every three months, depending on the visa classification, an expat must either report to the local government office to "check in", or leave the country and re-enter on a fresh visa. This can get tedious and dull, but it doesn't have to be. Make a weekend getaway out of your visa run and visit one of the three best visa run destinations that are cheap and easy to visit from Bangkok.

1. Singapore

Singapore, the Lion City, a vibrant city-state at the tip of the Malay Peninsula, is an ever-popular destination for visa-runners, especially those who need to take care of consular business at the Thai embassy.

the symbol of Singapore looking out over Marina Bay

Pros:

  • Visa-free arrival for citizens of most countries
  • Lots of great sights to see
  • Delicious food
  • Excellent shopping
  • A Safe, clean, and modern city with excellent public transportation
  • Lots of interesting museums to visit
  • A well-equipped and efficient Thai embassy with quick visa processing

Cons:

  •  Singapore is one of the world's most expensive cities - budget carefully

Flight from Bangkok:

  • 2.5 hours; $100-200 USD - Cheapest prices found on Thai Air Asia and Nok Scoot

What to do:

9 Free Things to do in Singapore

2. Siem Reap, Cambodia

Siem Reap, the "Gateway to Angkor", is one of the easiest places to visit from Bangkok. It's close, it's cheap, and it's full of amazing sights to see, such as the world-famous Angkor Wat.

Angkor Wat Historical Park, Siem Reap, Cambodia at dawn

Pros:

  • Cambodia is cheap - your USD will go far
  • The Angkor Historical Park is one of the world's most amazing sites, and is often called the "Eighth Wonder of the World"
  • Siem Reap is a laid-back, quiet, and fun town
  • A mug of beer starts at only $0.25!

Cons:

  •  The extra expense of a visa-upon-arrival is required for citizens of most countries. Visa costs vary, but cost around $35 for most nationalities. You will fill out the paperwork in the airplane and pay and receive your visa at immigration after you land. It's usually a fairly quick process.

Flight from Bangkok:

  • 1 hour; $50-100 USD - cheapest tickets available on Thai Air Asia

What to do:

5 Things to do in Siem Reap (Besides Visiting More Temples)

BOOK: The Long Road From Pub Street: A Cambodia Travelogue - my first book! It's all about my travels through Cambodia. Check it out here!

VIDEO: Kingdom of Wonder

3. Vientiane, Laos

Vientiane, the sleepy capital  of the Lao PRD, should not be overlooked as a visa-run destination! Many expats don't consider visiting Vientiane, but they should! There are lots of very interesting things to do and see, and it's small enough to make visiting perfect for a short weekend getaway.

the victory monument or Laotian Arc du triomphe

Pros:

  • Laos is cheap!
  • Excellent coffee and baguettes
  • Interesting historical sites and temples to visit

Cons:

  • Like Cambodia, a visa-upon-arrival is required for citizens of most countries. Visa costs vary, but cost around $35 for most nationalities. You will fill out the paperwork in the airplane and pay and receive your visa at immigration after you land. It's usually a fairly quick process.
  • If staying for longer than a weekend, you might not find enough to do, as Vientiane is a very small city
  • Getting around is a little more difficult than other places - you will have to hire a driver

Flight from Bangkok:

  • 1 hour; $50-100 USD - cheapest tickets available on Thai Air Asia

What to do:

Spend a Weekend in Vientiane!

VIDEO: A Weekend in Vientiane