Once you get to Thailand you will quickly realize that you will need to extend your time to truly experience all this wonderful place has to offer. Up in the North, my favorite part has been the infamous Chiang Mai. When doing a visa run Chiang Mai is the best place to start if your up in the North as there is every form of transportation possible to get you to where you need to go. There are two ways to go about doing a visa run. One way will save you more money and the other more time. You can decide which will be more meaningful to you and beneficial in your current situation. Let us start with the most convenient.

The first method you can use would be to head to the immigration office in town. This is the option that is going to save you more time but cost you more money; 1,900 BHT ($54 USD) to be exact. The immigration office is located at the Promenada mall 20-30 mins from the old town. Here is how to save time and money as this process will take no more than 2 hrs if done correctly.

  1. Order a GRAB or UBER. A tuk-tuk will cost you 150 BHT one way. I took UBER which cost me around 80 BHT. Grab may have been much cheaper if you have this app.

  2. Once you arrive to the mall ask your driver to drop you off at the side of the mall where the immigration office is to save yourself some time unless your driving. Once you get in it is simple.

  3. Outside they have a desk set up. You go up to the staff and tell them you need a 30 day extension as that is all they can provide for you. Note once you use this option once you will have to do the second option if you need to do another visa run.

  4. Make sure you fill out the form correctly. Some things you will need to bring is a photocopy of your passport, a passport sized photo of yourself, a pen and a address you can use for the form in the section where they ask for it.

  5. Turn in all your paperwork. Pay for it and than have a seat inside until they call your name. They should call your name within 30mins as it is a quick process and you will be out the door shortly after.

Easy as that. Cost you a bit more money and saved you a lot of time, trust me. Now the second option is going to save you money but not time. In fact the whole process will take up your whole day literally but will cost you much less at 500 BHT. Now to do a visa run you technically have to find the nearest country, cross orders and than come back. The closest country to Chiang Mai is Myanmar. For some reason all the tour offices want you to go out to Laos which is much farther and more expensive so I would not advice it. I would advice two things however.

The first to be to leave as early as possible getting up at 6am. The second would be to buy your bus ticket a day beforehand so you do not end up like me almost missing the bus. I actually could not buy a ticket for the 8 o'clock bus and had to go talk to the driver myself to convince him to let me on to buy a ticket. Luckily there was one space available despite what the lady at the counter told me. The price is 40bht each way per ticket. You will have to leave from the arcade bus terminal in town looking for a ticket from Mae Sai where you get off to Tachiliek which is 15 bht and minutes away to the border by tuk tuk. It's actually cool because you get to visit the Golden Triangle where the three countries of Thailand, Myanmar and Burma all intercept.

You will see a building like the one above where you will enter through immigration to cross over to Myanmar. Make sure your departure card is filled out ahead of time. After you depart you will cross over the street where you will head into a small office where they hold your passport until you return and pay the 500bht fee to enter Myanmar. You can stay as long as you want but make note the last bus back to Chiang Mai is 5:30 as of August 2017. Once your done walking around the small town cross back over to Thailand sticking to the right side of the bridge. You will enter another small office to retrieve your passport. Keep going, cross over the street to enter back into Thailand filling out your arrival card. You than receive a FREE 30 day extension. Note it is legal to do a border run in a day so do not worry about getting stranded and not being able to get back over.

Now it is time to head back to Chiang Mai. You will be arriving back 8pm or later as I have mentioned the visa run takes all day. Make sure to bring the same items listed in the first option. There you have it. Depending if your looking to same time or money you now know two legit ways to do a visa run if your ever coming from Chiang Mai. My trip was August 2017 so any changes to bus times or prices you can find online. Thanks for reading. Make sure to share this article with anyone who may need it. Cheer! The Archatek.