Looking to extend your visa? We’ve done it plenty of times now, here’s the essential rundown:
Thailand is a huge and exciting country, and any backpacker who plans to visit will very quickly realise that their planned length of stay is just not enough! Before leaving England, we purchased a 60 day tourist visa, thinking that that would be sufficient to see all the southern islands and Bangkok, before moving on to Cambodia. However, we hadn’t counted on Bangkok’s bustling and chaotic charm seducing us to the point of wanting to live here for a few months!
For those with expiring visas, there are two options to make sure you can stay longer. Firstly, you could take a day or two ‘running’ to another country to cross the border and back again, and steal yourself another few days. However, the easier, and usually cheaper, option is to visit an Immigration office, and apply for a visa extension.
What do you want? Actually, no need to answer – whatever it is, just head to the Weekend Market. Approaching Chatuchak Market (or ‘JJ’) from Mo Chit station can be slightly intimidating; sprawling stalls line the edge of the park from the very bottom of the BTS steps to the entrance of the main market, and hoards of hungry shoppers swarm to find the cheapest knick knacks.
These stalls outside the official boundaries of the market are open longer and can be fantastic value – the vendors do not pay to be inside the market and prices often reflect this. Our favourite purchases here have been small leather bags for 80 baht (about £1.70) and white work shirts for 100 baht (about £2.10).
The market itself is a shopping heaven for some (Sarah), a disorientating sauna with no escape for others (Charlotte)! Widely known as the largest market in Thailand, and one of the biggest open air in the world, it is a huge maze. Although there are maps that attempt to help tourists find their way around the 27 sections, prepare yourself for getting lost anyway, and never seeing the same stall twice!