Visa runs are a pain, we know, but we all have to do them. Summed up here is the info and top tips to make your visa run as hassle free as possible.
Visa runs are a pain, we know, but we all have to do them.
Below describes the options available.
Border Bounce – 1 day visa run
1 day visa run from Koh Phangan to Malaysia’s border, the quickest and most efficient way to stamp your passport to extend your stay in Thailand.
Important – Different visas have varying lengths of stay and expiry dates. It’s important to check what agreement your country has with Thailand and the visa type you currently have to understand how long a new stamp will allow you to stay for.
You will leave Koh Phangan very early. (The transport company you go through will tell you the exact times).
You will then board the very first ferry leaving the pier which takes you to the mainland and the group is then transferred to an air conditioned mini bus where you begin the drive to the Malaysian border for the border bounce.
When you arrive at the
border, you must first have your passport stamped to leave Thailand. You
will then enter and exit Malaysia at their border gate before stamping
back into Thailand. The length that a visa run will extend your time in
Thailand depends on the type of visa you have. We recommend you read the
details on your paperwork very carefully.
After returning from your border run to Malaysia, you should arrive back in Koh Phangan around 7pm.
If you were to stay in Thailand passed your expiry date, overstay charges are currently 500 THB per day. These charges can soon mount up so a border run to Malaysia is the best way to avoid this.
If you overstay too many times you can face a prison sentence and be expelled from the country for a certain amount of time.
It’s important to note that Thai Embassies in Malaysia only issue one entry Tourist Visa’s (60 days).
How long does it take?
Usually your passport is given back within 3 working days. (NOT weekends). And be careful of religious holidays, as embassies will also be closed.
Top Tip – Check opening and closing times, of passport pick up and drop off.
You can either catch a bus or take a flight to the countries, depending on your budget and time period.
Cheapest is busing to Burma or Penang, Malaysia, which takes all day, but set off early in the morning, arrive late at night.
Flying can go directly to Kuala Lumpur, or Bangkok then neighboring countries.
For buses: go to travel agencies around the island. They are usually 1500thb one way to Penang. All the hassle of driving is taken away.
Air tickets: use price comparison sites.
Driving: If you want to drive and have the luxury of stopping when you want, a shared car is also an option. Look at car hire centers for prices. Split between a group of people can also be just as cost efficient.
Top tip – That you will have to show proof that you have 20,000 Thai Baht in your bank account. And some place may make you have a flight/ travel ticket out of Thailand in order to get stamped.
30 day Visa Extension
Extended another 30 days in Koh Samui, immigration center when running out on your 60 days on a tourist visa, or 30 days tourist visa, which can total 90 days in Thailand.
This can be done in one day, so no need to stay overnight. It may take 1-3 hours. However to avoid the crowd and it taking longer, go to the immigration early.
Check opening and closing times, as they close during lunch, so don’t go then.
Top tip – For a hassle free, quick process; get there early (as soon as it opens), have all your paperwork already filled in, along with the required documents.
passport (Don’t forget)
Passport photocopied pages
2x passport photo
visa registration forms
visa fee (1900thb )
If you want to stay longer term there are other visas then tourist ones. E.g. working, or education (learning thai language, or thai massage). These can offer up to 1 year stay, with every 90 days a visa run to another country (for 3 days) to renew the stay must be done.
Top Tips for any visa run
Go prepared with all documents
Make a trip out of it
Visa runs are a pain, but think of it as a new adventure where you get to experience another country and its culture.
What are you letting yourself in for with a Thai Massage? Read on to find out …
You’re in Thailand; the perfect place to experience this cultural massage. (Some people get them every week).
But what are you
letting yourself in for?
Continue reading to
massage or “Thai yoga massage” is a
traditional healing system combining acupressure, Indian Ayurvedic principles, and
assisted yoga postures.
Originated in India, around 2,500 years ago, the physician to the Buddha, Shivago Komarpaj, is said to have created the Thai massage.
Most of the recorded history of Thai massage was lost in 1767 during the Burmese attack in Ayutthia. However, there were records that survived and were inscribed in the Sala Moh Nuat, a massage pavilion in Bangkok.
Since the origin, there are a combination of influences for Thai medicine from Chinese, Indian and Southeast Asian culture, making the Thai Massage what it is today.
First, you will be
given a shirt and pants, then led to a changing room or bathroom. These are loose
fitting, clean, and comfortable. So for a thai massage, you are fully clothes, unlike oil massage.
In a Thai massage the therapist uses a
variety of different sequences of techniques on clients, who are
either lying face up, lying face down, seated, or on their side.
There is constant body contact between the
therapist and the client, but rather than rubbing on muscles, the body is
compressed, pulled, stretched, and rocked.
The masseuses will use
every part of their body in order to do this, including their thumbs, elbows,
and knees. Some masseuses might even walk on you.
certainly are not gentle. It is important to note that oftentimes, Thai
massages can feel like unpleasant, if not painful experiences.
Usually, the masseuse
will make it more or less intense depending on a person’s size and age.
Top Tip – “Jep” means “hurt” in Thai. So if the masseuses are making the massage too uncomfortable, this becomes and important word.
Thai massage is a therapeutic procedure that provides relaxation and restores healthy blood circulation. It also treats energy blockages, weak, dysfunctional organs, aches and pains, flexibility, paralysis, nerve problems and postural alignments, and many more. See below for more detail …
1. Lowers stress
Stress can negatively
affect mental and physical health. Chronic, or long-lasting, stress can lead to
serious illnesses, including depression
and cardiovascular disease.
Thai massage uses gentle pressure and stretching techniques to relax the body, to relieve physical and emotional tension.
2. Boosts energy
Research has shown
that Thai massage can increase people’s physical energy levels.
The Thai massage
technique is based on the notion of energy lines, or Zen. Most practitioners
believe that there are various Zen, or channels of energy, within the body.
Over time you body can build up blockages.
These blockages reduce the flow of life energy, which results in stiffness, pain, and illness. Thai massage uses different techniques that either open or constrict different Zen to correct the flow of life energy.
3. Stimulates circulation
Thai massage can
promote the circulation of both blood and lymph through the use of gentle
stretches. These yoga-like stretches increase blood circulation, which fills
the body’s tissues with oxygen. This helps promote cell growth and heart
They believe that this
is because it improved blood circulation, which, in turn, stimulates the
somatosensory system. This is a system that plays a major role in balance.
4. Improves range of motion
incorporates yoga-like stretches to reduce stress and improve circulation. The
gradual, gentle stretching will enhance the person’s flexibility over time,
allowing a greater range of motion.
Thai massage may also
improve the circulation of the fluid in the joints, or synovial fluid, which reduces
friction between the joints. This can improve joint mobility and range of
5. Thai massages are great for athletes
It works similarly as
a sport massage, due to it being in the same style of this deep tissue massage/stretches.
Thai massage also improves circulation, which brings
more oxygen to muscles and other tissues. This may prevent injuries and improve
the athlete’s ability to recover after intense training.
Thai massage prices
will depend on you go.
Generally you will see
them offered for around Thai massage for 300-400 thb ($9-12).
However resorts or
high-end salons will charge 500 thb ($15) plus.
If your masseuse does
a great job, it would be a lovely gesture to tip them, for their efforts. The
massages are incredibly cheap, and these people’s jobs are simply exhausting.
Usually an hour, but
if you body is really ache-y, you can differ to the 90 minutes.
This is a common
miss-conception and only very few places offer this service.
To avoid any
embarrassing encounters, do your research on the recommended ones.
As of 2018, of the 8,000 to 10,000 spa and massage shops in Thailand, only 4,228 are certified by the Health Ministry’s Department of Health Service Support (HSS).
Thai massages are a must in the Kingdom of the best! Dare to try?
Do something filled with adrenaline to push you out of your comfort zone!
Surrounded by glistening flat seas, luscious mountains and valleys, and will the sun dazzling down; Koh Phangan entices adventure and exploration for all ages, interests and experience!
Adrenaline – Feel the Rush!
When you feel fear, your heart starts pounding. Adrenal glands dump the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline into the bloodstream – adrenaline rush! Your body is now activating at a heightened state of physical and mental alertness. All of it reminds you that you are alive!
However it is that same element of fear that stands between a thrill and just plain fun. Phangan Explorer wants you to live life to its fullest potential!
Here are some examples to give you that burst of human jet fuel to rejuvenate your spirits!
Take an adrenaline-filled jet-ski ride over the crystalline blue Koh Phangan waters, while going full throttle to discover secret, deserted beaches all to yourself!
Tip – You don’t need a license to go on one of our jet-ski tours, just to sign a consent form. Be careful for jet ski scams if you break them, you don’t get racked up with a big bill. However feel like James Bond cruisning or speeding on the flat waters in the sun for your exciting adventure!
Kiteboarding (The Heart Racer)
Harnessing wind power to ‘fly’ gives you a superhuman feeling. You don’t have to be particularly muscular to hold down the kite; it’s harnessed around your waist, so your body weight counters the kite’s power, not your arms.
Lessons – First, you’ll start learning to skim across the water — a skill that takes just a day or two to grasp. Once you’ve got the basics, you can graduate to jumps.
3. Bouldering (The Dangerous)
Find your own route and jumping and climbing from rock to rock, along the sides of cascading waterfalls surrounded by the thick tropical jungle.
After building up a sweat, discover secret pools and spots along the way for you to take a well-deserved dip.
Tip – Full focus is needed, as some rocks can move beneath your feet! Also you may be having to use your whole body when climbing along a rock with the rush of the waterfall stream beneath you.
4. Diving (The Time-Flier)
Explore the undiscovered, unknown world of the deep sea. Watch in awe of the beauty of other life forms while going out in the water for an hour feels like only 10 minutes. You will hack into the ‘zone’.
Tip – Day trips for the inexperienced, or courses can be taken for you to have a unique experience that you will remember for the rest of your life!What will you find down there?
5. Parasailing (The Tongue Swallower)
Muster the courage to get lifted higher than the eagles. You will have a beautiful bird-eye view of the whole island and its amazing landscape. Truly mesmerizing!
Tip – To stop your shaking knees, reassure yourself by knowing the equipment, the company and the staff.
Standing atop a cliff, stretching arms like wings, staring into the abyss, and jumping off from hundreds of feet into the water below is an experience reserved for daredevils and thrill-seekers. However we don’t want you crazy kids to go flinging yourself of ridiculously high dangerous, rocky waters. Be smart!
Tip – Only should be attempted with people of experience. Know your surroundings, your limits and should be done with friends to minimize risks.
Challenge your physical and mental strength on Koh Phangan by releasing some of that adrenaline into your bloodstream to make you feel alive!
Nevertheless, incorporating extreme sports in to your trip doesn’t fit for everyone. So you choose the activity!
Phangan Explorer has seen the damage to the people who didn’t respect and listen to this advice … they didn’t end up so well.
In this Koh Phangan Guide, here are a few pointers on how to make sure your memories are terrific, not traumatic.
Drinking and driving, lack of experience and crappy roads are poison for many injuries on Koh Phangan. Just checkout the walking wounded you can find every time you look around and you see what I mean! BE CAREFUL! Motorbikes are the number one cause of injury to tourists. The roads to and from Haad Rin and Thong Nai Pan are very dangerous. If the roads are going to be attempted we strongly recommend wearing a helmet.
Going “overboard on the buckets”
Drinking can be the source of some great times, and insanely fun when spent with friends. However Thai whisky is strong and unforgiving. Drink too much and you will dancing and acting like a rag-doll with no bodily awareness, making you a target for criminal elements prowling the party. Take care of yourself!
Come on guys, Full Moon Party is now the most famous for illegal substance and drug abuse and this might seem like a great reason to get in on the action. Wrong! Thai law hands out harsh penalties for those caught participating in the cycle. The incumbent government also believes that foreigners are providing market and creating a bad example for Thai youth across the country. There are dozens of plain clothes cops at the party and they get a bonus catching drug users.
Fighting and disrespecting the locals
This is a sure way to get yourself beaten up or have a bottle smashed over your head no matter how tasty you are. Be cool, smile and walk away from any potential conflict. You will enjoy your holiday so much more.
Also NEVER speak ill or any of the kings/royal family. It is an extremely serious offenses, and results with imprisonment, where they will lock you up and throw away the key.
Prices will vary, however they are generally around 300THB per day for a motorbike. The bigger ones/ 125cc are a little pricier at 400THB plus per day.
You will need your passport when renting, and to sign a waiver form in the case of accidents. Check what you are going into as you don’t want to be paying a lump sum for repairs due to a knocked over bike.
Prices can differ depending on where, and what time you are travelling. Regular price from Thong Sala (main pier) to Haad Rin Beach (Full Moon Party Beach) is 100THB, even on Full Moon night! However if you are going solo to the top of the island, prepare for a costly visit.
You can try to bargain however most drivers now have fixed rate sheets. Recommended to get a group of you together for big trips.
Taking care of your valuables
Don’t take your valuables to any parties, or beaches. Then you won’t even have to worry about risking losing them. Simple. It only takes a split second, when you concentration is on the music or alcohol, for some sleaze to take your possessions away into the crowd. Save yourself to agro!
Help us clean the beach
All of us on Koh Phangan are very concerned about keeping our environment and the beaches clean. Be a part of the solution not the cause! Put your trash in the bin and look for free fag containers for your cigarette butts.
7/11 minimarts will force an excess of plastic on you from bag to straws to spoons. But do you really need all that for one bottle of water?
The sand under your toes, the salt in your hair and the sun warming your body. How can you not just forget all your worries and be filled with positivity and tranquility?
Proven through various studies, effects of the beach are beneficial to your physiological and psychological health and well being. Here is a short summary of these and why you should take that break for yourself and head down to the beach!
Topping up those pesky vitamins
The World Health Organization studies have found that sunshine fosters a general feeling of well-being and stimulates blood circulation.
Short exposure to sunlight (about five to 15 minutes) two to three times a week during the summer is enough to keep vitamin D levels high.
Vitamin D is vital for calcium and phosphorous absorption from food and encourages skeletal development, immune function, and blood cell formation.
So not only will the beach instantly give you a happy glow, but it will also make you a picture of good health! Just don’t forget your SPF!
Another reason why your body will be happy with you is when you go swimming in the sea!
This location is one of the easiest and most picturesque places to burn a few calories. The Independent shows that swimming burns close to 500 calories per hour.
With the thought of this how wants to be exercising in a crowded, un-hygienic gym environment compared to being surround by this paradise?
Feel chilled and zen-like when you take a trip to the beach?
One of the psychological benefits due to this is study by Richard Shuster, PsyD, clinical psychologist and host of The Daily Helping podcast.
“The color blue has been found by an overwhelming amount of people to be associated with feelings of calm and peace,” says Shuster. “Staring at the ocean actually changes our brain waves’ frequency and puts us into a mild meditative state.”
Not to mention the calming crash of waves breaking on the shore, can also help send your mindset into a positive slow pace.
Power sources and electrical devices can lead to a great deal of positive ion exposure, which can lead to anxiety, breathing difficulty, irritability and an overall lack of energy.
Good news for you, found outdoors in natural clean air sources, such as the beach, negative ions are present. Negative ions can reverse the effects of their positive counterparts on your body. Also helping to purify blood, revitalize cell metabolism and boost your immune system.
Sea air help with respiratory health
Reader’s Digest reports that sea air contains tiny droplets of sea water enriched with salt, iodine, magnesium and other trace elements, which stimulate immune reactions by the skin and respiratory organs and effectively clears up the airways. Well known to relieve symptoms associated with asthma, and other respiratory problems. More reason to take long strolls along the beach and get lost in one’s thoughts!
Free spa day!
Everyone loves something for nothing, and here is the perfect example!
“Sea salt is packed with healthy skin-friendly minerals like magnesium, calcium, and potassium, which is exactly what makes it so beneficial to various skin conditions. It absorbs the toxins in the body and on the skin, including acne-causing bacteria, and works to treat infections and encourage the healing processes.”
Also the sand is a great exfoliate for your skin, removing any of that ugly dead skin and making way for the pure skin, for the fresh new you.
Unplug and Unwind
Get off your phone! Here you don’t need social media to distract you of the real beauty of the beach. Have a digital detox – Working is not for the beach, therefore you can just relax. You will want to be enjoying every moment of the natural environment around you, until you have to go back into filling the routine roles in your life.
Bring your snorkels here! One of the best beaches to see many varieties of fish in amongst the mass of natural coral. Its other main attraction is Koh Ma island, a national nature preserve and marine park, which can be accessible on foot if you walk along the sand bar from Mae Haad.
This is one of the more popular beaches in the north, however you will definitely not feel overcrowded in the daytime. Only peaks at sunset due to the beach facing sunset side (the West). Where some wonderful sky scenes can be witnessed.
Description of beach: Mae Haad has a beautiful wide and sandy beach. There is little shade here, a few trees by the restaurant so bring your sun cream.
Location: Located at the Northern-West point of the island.
Snorkeling equipment (mask, snorkel and fins) can be hired from the surrounding restaurants, with a charge of around 250 thb per hour. The coral can be found 20m out, in the shallow waters, where you can follow the bois along for the trail. Please keep the coral alive, by not touching it or littering.
What a relaxing massage on the beach? Well this is the place to find one! For just 400THB you can get a full body oil massage while listening to the waves splash against the shores surface.
Beach Bars, Restaurants and facilities: There is one main restaurant you can get Thai and European food, fit with shower and toilet facilities. 20THB to use.
Size: 2km length. Fairly wide.
Getting there: It is easily access by either bike or taxi via concrete roads. However taxi prices may be expensive if you are traveling from the south, around 300THB from Thong Sala, southern Pier and Town area.
Tip: Viewpoints can be found here, overlooking the whole bay, on some of the restaurants and bars on the side of the mountain hills, you’ll need a bike as too far to walk to. Suitable for a romantic evening or with the family to watch sunset or just for a great scene.
Thong Nai Pan is an area on the northeastern tip of Koh Phangan that includes the two beach resorts of Thong Nai Pan Yai and Thong Nai Pan Noi. They are maybe the most secluded, yet developed beaches on the island.
Known for its breathtaking sunrises, this is a great place for travelers who want to have access to great beaches and be able to walk to nearby natural attractions.
Description of beach: Spectacular white sand. Tong Nai Pan Yai has it all! With some areas to hide under the shade in the trees, making it a great place to spend the whole day.
Activities: Swimming, Snorkeling, Nearby waterfall treks, yoga on the beach.
Beach Bars, Restaurants and facilities:
There are also plenty of excellent restaurants, countless bars, a pharmacy and all the amenities that you might need for a day trip or an overnight stay. Cheap beachside bungalows are available with one top-end resort and several mid-range options.
Size: 2km stretch
Getting there: 30 minute drive, from Thong Sala, the main pier area. Good quality tarmac surfaced windy roads, on the East side of the island, going through the jungle. However roads are steep and curved in many places, recommended for experienced drivers, but well worth the drive.
Tip: Yai means “large”, and it’s the larger and more developed of the two beaches. Noi means “small”, and the beach here is about half the size of Yai. The two are a 15-minute hike apart from each other.
Location: The beach is found in a small fishing village called Chaloklum, which is a quiet part of the island, where many of the expats have decided to take up residence. This is where the main diving schools go out from. Malibu Beach is located on a sand spit at the southern end of Chaloklum Bay, between the bay itself and a small river that winds through the village. It sits directly in front of Malibu Beach Bungalows, the upscale Thai family-owned bungalow operation that gives the beach its name.
Description of beach: This is a popular beach however, due to its 3km stretch, there would be plenty of space to find your own quite spot there. With its soft white sand and shallow waters Malibu Beach is an ideal beach in Chaloklum for families and adult travelers alike. For families, the shallow waters are excellent for children to go swimming and play in the sand. For the rest of us, the beach itself is beautiful, with plenty of shade trees for those who love to hang out, but don’t want to fry. The trees also offer some privacy and it is always possible to find a quiet place to yourself. However there are no sun beds or body boards for hire, so make sure to take your own towels to sit on.
Getting there: Easy drive to Chaloklum, then to get to Mailbu beach and restaurant, you must pass through the bungalow operation and cross a small concrete bridge at the mouth of the river, but it is well worth the effort.
If you are feeling like stretching your legs there is a local beach volleyball net set up. However for more competitive games, come down to Haad Rin Beach in the south.
There is a small massage pavilion in the shade right next to the restaurant who charge 300 baht an hour.
Beach Bars, Restaurants and facilities: On the beach, you can order food and drinks from a charming covered traditional Thai thatched roof bar and restaurant which is perfect for hanging out, enjoying a cool drink and watching the bay. Their menu features a good variety of dishes – everything from fried fish with garlic and pepper, fried noodles with pork, phad thai with shrimp, pizza, to spaghetti, sandwiches, ice cream and seasonal fruits. Prices are quite reasonable. Washroom facilities and a fresh water shower to hose yourself down after a swim are also provided.
Size: 3km stretch
Tip: Some great seafood restaurants are found here, but not many bars. So if you are looking for a chilled time, as a couple or family this is ideal as it gives you a good impression of a true little Thai fishing village which still has its port with working boats and obviously fresh seafood.
This is a magical, hidden beach. Beautiful, clean, relaxing beach with a cafe/bar and afternoon drink specials. Not too busy in low season, though it’s a small strip, and there’s another restaurant at the resort on the end of the beach. Fine for kids or adults of any age – water is shallow and you can snorkel in the reef 20m from the shore. Great place to spend the afternoon!
Location: Located in a small bay at the west coast of the island. (Sunset side).
Description of beach: With its crystal clear water, it is just perfect for a swim, and a short swim out from the beach, you’ll come across a coral reef. However, at low tide you have to go a little bit further to swim, and be careful of the sea- urchins. Haad Son is a small tucked away beach, relatively protected and safe, and it is quite popular in high season, so sometimes the name “Secret Beach” doesn’t quite live up to its name. Like on many of the Koh Phangan beaches, you don’t have too much shady spots over here.
Activities: Snorkeling, swimming, sunbathing
Beach Bars, Restaurants and facilities: There is only a small restaurant, to purchase food. It has a long waiting time if busy, where you can sometimes hear some music at the beach, but it’s not too noisy.
Getting there: Taxis will know where this beach is. May be quite expensive if coming from the south – 300thb. Biking will take you along the beautiful coastal roads, but you’ll ride up and down some really precarious hills but much of the island is like that. You’ll be able to see the sign from the road, but eyes open otherwise you’ll miss it. Signs refer to it as “Secret Beach”.
Tip: Beautiful for a few hours just before sunset, or early morning you will have the place to yourself.
Nearest resort: Haad Son is generally not considered to be a destination beach, but a lot of travelers stay at hotels within walking distance.
Haad Rin Nok (Sunrise Beach) is a 1km peninsular beach area and town. The famous Full Moon Party takes place on this Beach each month. Click this link for the date schedule of the Full Moon Party Dates. Around this time of the month, 2/3 days before and after the party, the island gets quite busy, however the rest of the month, it is a wide stretch of beach with plenty of space, shade and restaurants easy to spend your whole holiday there. There are many mixed reviews about this location, due to the Full Moon Party, however don’t let this fool you. It is the best beach on the island!
Location: The most southern tip of Ko Phangan. Its main beach in Haad Rin Town, to the East.
Description of beach: Pure golden clean sand. This beach is spotless on all days of the month, apart from the evening of the full moon party, as the Haad Rin Business Society, which organizes the parties, have a cleaning team and also have a million dollar beach cleaning machine which goes over the whole beach. So it remains to have its golden picture worthy sand.
The water is very shallow, great for swimming and also for small children. Occasionally you get a small pinprick, due to the Rin, which are there micro sea-lice. However this is not to be worried about as they are non-harmful. There is no living coral here, so if you are looking for snorkeling it is best to head to the North of the island.
Lots of shade can easily be found under the coconut trees lining the beach, however it is not recommended to sit directly under them, due to falling coconuts.
Beach Volleyball Thailand organizes the Beach volleyball on the island which can be played here, on Olympic standard nets and balls, on the court in front of Tommy Resort. They offers trainings, tournaments around full moon and half-moon and also open play.
Jet skis can be hired, however be careful if you break them as you’ll be charged a large amount.
Shopping in the main Haad Rin town, which is just one street up from the beach, you can find many a cheap bargain, or souvenirs, sarongs, swimming costumes.
Beach Bars, Restaurants and facilities:
Enjoy the environment of the relaxing beach, with refreshments for the beach bars and restaurants, or catch a bite to eat from the many places to eat (see our top restaurants review). You will not be stuck for choice.
Resorts have pools, toilets and sun loungers which and be used for 200THB per day.
Size: 1km peninsular beach area
Tip: Haad Rin Nai (Sunset Beach) located on the West of Haad Rin, can be found if you go to Cocohut Resort, which has its own private beach and floating pontoon going out into the sea. Great for sunset pictures.
Nearest resort: There are many resorts on the beach front and in Haad Rin Town, all ranging in prices and standards.