About a month ago, Thailand instituted new policies for its tourist visas. Already some of the most difficult and most expensive tourist visas in the region, Thailand added three new requirements for those people applying for a 60-day tourist visa to Thailand:
a) Plane ticket out of Thailand
b) Hotel reservations confirmed for duration of your stay
c) At least $500 in a bank account
While they sound reasonable enough at first glance, it has come to our attention from various sources that some of the Thai consulates in the region are now adding extra requirements, then turning away applicants for tourist visas who do not have them.(And why would you have them? After all, you didn’t know you were supposed to have them before you went to the consulate).
So, if you are looking for a tourist-friendly place to stay in south east Asia, one where you are welcomed with open arms, treated like tourists and not like criminals, and where you don’t have to a) pay an arm and a leg for a tourist visa and extensions and b) aren’t likely to get turned down for one, unfortunately we recommend staying away from Thailand and visitng Malaysia instead.
Malaysia is lovely. The country is tourist-friendly, its immigration officers are polite and fair and a 90-day stay is free at the airport when you arrive, with the option of getting a second 90-day stay from immigration in Malaysia.
No need for expensive visa runs like you have to do in Thailand.
Thailand used to be tourist-friendly. Unfortunately, with all the visa rules constantly being changed by the current government, it is not anymore.