Connect with us


Phuket visa runs surge as expats scurry for legitimate stays



PHUKET: The ongoing crackdown on foreigners staying in Thailand by doing visa runs to re-enter the country on visa-exemption status has sparked a surge in the number of foreigners in Phuket travelling to Penang to obtain visas issued by the Royal Thai Consulate there.

Preeyapan Adithepwarangkul, owner of KBV Visa Run, told the Phuket Gazette that demand for the Penang “visa run” had grown so much that the company has chartered a full-size tour bus to conduct the run.

For years, the company relied on minivans.

“At this stage we have not cancelled any regular visa runs due to the crackdown. There has been no need to,” Ms Preeyapan said.

“The number of bookings for our visa runs has remained strong. Actually, we have had to charter tour buses to provide visa runs to Penang because we have had so many bookings lately.”

She also noted that, as KBV accepts bookings directly and via agents throughout Phuket, prospective travellers should book early.

Ms Preeyapan was adamant that all foreigners entering Thailand on the appropriate visas – and who carried with them evidence supporting their application for their respective visas – were not turned away at the Malaysian border (story here).

However, she admitted that “some nationalities” on the Thai Immigration Bureau watchlist had been denied entry to Thailand, but declined to name the nationalities concerned.

The Gazette notes that at the time of the announcement of the crackdown in May – and although the crackdown was officially due to start on August 13 – Immigration Commissioner Pharnu Kerdlarpphon confirmed that immigration officers were ordered to give special attention to Russians, South Koreans, Vietnamese and Chinese attempting to extend their stays by completing visa runs (story here).

Ms Preeyapan was surprised to hear that 33 foreigners on a KBV visa run returning from Penang on a tour bus last week were all told by the KBV “visa run leader” that they had to show 20,000 baht cash to Thai Immigration officers at the Sadao border crossing to Malaysia.

“I hadn’t heard about this and I will look into it,” Ms Preeyapan assured.

“There is no reason to show cash at the border. “If anyone is asked to do this, please let me know.”

Last month, several tour vans full of foreigners were asked to present up to 40,000 baht in cash in order to re-enter Thailand.

Lt Col Banphot Kittivira, Deputy Superintendent of the Sadao checkpoint, later explained that the incident was a “misunderstanding” and that the foreigners were eventually allowed to enter the country (story here).

Ms Preeyapan was cautious about predicting whether or not the crackdown will have a major effect on Phuket’s visa-run industry.

“It might have a greater effect in the future, but at this stage it is too early to tell,” she told the Gazette.

— Saran Mitrarat


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Visa8 hours ago

CCSA to consider extending Thailand tourist visa to 45 days

Bangkok8 hours ago

Man caught taking drugs inside a Bangkok police booth didn’t give a crap

Thailand8 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Thailand no longer considers Covid “dangerous infectious disease” 

Sponsored17 hours ago

Enjoy a splashing time and immerse yourself in Thai Mythology in Andamanda Phuket

Crime9 hours ago

Wife says boss of Mountain B in Pattaya is ‘not a villain’

Crime9 hours ago

Policeman poses as Buddhist monk to trick drug dealers in central Thailand

Travel9 hours ago

Stress-free travel with AXA Travel Insurance

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Guides10 hours ago

Mother’s Day in Thailand 2022: 5 fun ways to pamper your mom

Thailand10 hours ago

Thai minister insists minimum wage increase is not electioneering

Bangkok11 hours ago

Swedish Embassy hailed for giving 6-month parental leave to Thai staff

Travel12 hours ago

Everything you need to know about the Bangkok Skytrain (BTS)

Environment12 hours ago

PM warns Thailand to brace itself for potential flooding

Travel12 hours ago

Watch Koh Samui’s magical sunset from these sunset bars

Thailand12 hours ago

Local hero predicts building collapse, saves countless lives in eastern Thailand

Phuket12 hours ago

9 year old boy kills a 7 year old girl with a police pistol in Phuket

Press Room13 hours ago

Southeast Asia’s sauciest tech event, Techsauce Global Summit to return to Bangkok in physical form

Thailand11 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism1 year ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11