Thailand visa on arrival for Indians, Chinese and others. The procedure, form and the documents you need

Updated 23 August 2014

I make multiple trips to Thailand every year. I have applied for the visa on arrival facility at several Thai airports and land border crossings. I am hoping that this guide will help fellow travellers. I made this guide as there is lot of bad advice and misinformation on internet forums or the sites are full of ads. I will concentrate on the Suvarnabhumi Airport (Bangkok) as this is where most tourists come in. The process is similar and simpler at other airports or land borders.
mekongriver

Ihe Thai-Lao border.
A. What documents do you need for the Visa
A1. Completed visa form.You can get this form at a desk near the visa on arrival area. Fill the part until the signature. The part that says “For Official Use” and the back of the form is for the Thai visa officer’s use. Fill in everything that I have marked in the image below.Thailand Visa on Arrival Form
Make sure that you fill in the section that asks for the address in Thailand. They are very particular about this. Fill in the name of the hotel you are staying at. If I am staying in multiple hotels in multiple cities, I will fill in the place where I am staying first or the longest. If I am staying at a friend or a relative’s place, I will fill in their address. Some people ask me if they can print and use the visa form they find on some website.  I would recommend that you use the form that is available at the visa on arrival (VOA) counter.  I have had some travellers tell me that they did not accept the printed forms and requested the travellers to fill a fresh form.
A2. Your passportYour passports needs to be valid for at least six months from the day you enter Thailand.  Thai visa and the immigration stamps take up one full page. There should be at least one blank page on your passport.A3. Your boarding pass stubThis is part of the boarding pass that has your seat number and flight details etc. The stub also has your flight number.A4. Arrival-Departure cardThailand Arrival CardThailand Arrival Card

The flight attendants will distribute this card before the plane lands in Thailand. Fill all the areas except the part that asks for the visa number. The second page of this form asks for your departure flight. The form also asks for some personal details. Fill everything that applies to you. The From/Port of embarkation is the city where you started your journey. Next City is the immediate next destination after Bangkok. So if you are going to say Phuket after Bangkok, then you should write Phuket. If you are only staying in Bangkok and going back to your home city (or city you started your journey from) then put that city. Sometimes, they run out of this card in the plane. You can find this card at the Visa on Arrival counter too.

A5. Proof of ability to stay in Thailand

10,000 THB (about 340 USD) per person or 20,000 THB per family (people who are related, having same family name etc.) . They will not take this money. They just want to make sure you have enough money. This can be in any  currency as long as it is equivalent to the Thai currency above. I have shown them Singapore Dollars and Chinese RMB in the past and they were fine with it. In recent years, they hardly ever ask you to show this money, but be prepared just in case.  They do not acknowledge credit or debit cards. In Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) airport there are ATMs before the immigration where you can withdraw cash, if you have to. 

A6. Your return or onward ticket or e-ticket printout.

Your return date must be within 14 days from the date of entry (visa on arrival allows 14 days stay). So say if you enter Thailand on 1 June, you must return no later than 14 June.

A7. One recent photograph

Thai immigration website recommends  that the photo be 4 x 6 cm.  I have used photo that is similar in size to the photo in Indian passports and they were fine with it. There is a photobooth nearby that will take your photo for small fee.

A8.  The visa on arrival fee

Visa fee is 1000 THB (Thai Bahts). If you do not have the Thai currency, you can get it at the 24 hour money changers near the visa on arrival counter at Suvarnabhumi airport.  If you decide to take the express (premium) queue, then you will have to pay 200 THB extra.

B. The procedure

Look for the Visa on Arrival signs, they will lead you to the Visa on Arrival area.

The Visa on Arrival Counter at Suvarnabhumi airport

 

If you arrive on a plane from China or India, most people will be going to this area. Note the money-changers just before the Visa on Arrival Counter.

Below is the plan for the Visa on Arrival area at Suvarnabhumi airport.

Thailand Visa on Arrival Process

Walk to the visa on arrival desk. (point A in the figure). Collect and fill the Visa On Arrival form. This counter is open 24 hours. The official at this counter can usually speak some English and Chinese. Give your photo to this official and she will staple it to your form.

Next, choose between regular queue (B) or premium or express queue (C). You will have to pay 200 THB for the express queue. You may use this option if you are in a hurry to get out.

While you are waiting in the queue, arrange your documents in this order from top to bottom

  1. Boarding pass stub
  2. Passport
  3. Completed visa form (with photo attached)
  4. Return ticket printout
  5. Completed Arrival/Departure form

Procedure for regular queue

  1. If you have chosen the regular queue, your documents will be checked at (B).  The officer here will issue you a token with your number on it.
  2. Sit down at the waiting area (D) until your number is called at the immigration desk (E)
  3. Once your number is called, proceed to area (E). This is where you will pay the visa fee (1000THB). The office here stamps the visa.
  4. Once done, you will find the baggage area just behind the immigration counter. (F)

Procedure for express queue

  1. If you have chosen the express queue, your documents will be checked at (C).  The officer here will issue you a token with your number on it.
  2. Sit down at the waiting area (D). They will  process your visa and once done, your number is called at  (C).
  3. Collect your passport and head to the express immigration counter (C2). The entry stamp is made on your visa and you can proceed to counter (F) to collect your bags.
Visa on arrival stamped on a passport
The above photo shows how the visa on arrival stamp looks like. Note that it takes up on whole page on your passport.
Frequently Asked Questions
 
Q1. How long does the visa on arrival take?
A. My wait times have ranged from 10 minutes to 2 hours. (Though in recent times – in 2014- they have become faster at this). It all depends how many flights from India and China arrive at the same time as yours.    Before you leave your home airport, just check the flight arrivals at Suvarnabhumi airport for the day. You can check the arrivals at http://www.bangkokairportonline.com/node/129 (it shows departures but you can switch to arrival view). If you find some flights from China/India/Parts of Africa and Central Asia landing just before your flight then be ready to wait longer.  The wait is a good opportunity to practice your Chinese/Russian language skills with folks around you. Load up some games on your iPad to keep the kids busy.
Q2. Is is worth joining the express queue?
A. If you happen to land at a busy time , the express queue will not help you much, as it will have the same number of people as the regular queue. But if you land at a less busy time  and you are in a hurry then express queue is a good choice.
Q3. How long is the Visa on Arrival queue in Phuket, Chiang Mai and other international airports?
A. Much faster compared to Bangkok. The process is also much simpler. There is just one counter that handles all the process.
 
Q4. My ticket is from Dubai (or some other city) to Bangkok and then to Phuket (or some other Thai city) from the same airport. Should I take the visa on arrival at Bangkok or my destination airport?
A.  If you have an immediate flight to other destinations in Thailand and this flight is also leaving from the same airport,  look for a counter that says “Transfer to Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket, Krabi, Samui, Hatyai”. Officers in this counter will process your visa.  This counter is before the Visa on Arrival counter.
Transfer Visa Counter - VOA on arrival for those going to Phuket, Chiang Mai etc.
 
Some domestic flights such as Thai Air Asia leave from Don Muang airport. If your next flight is from Don Muang, then you will have to get a visa on arrival before you exit the Suvarnabhumi airport. Getting to Don Muang airport from Suvarnabhumi via shuttle bus or taxi will take you 2 to 3 hours so keep that in mind when you book your domestic flights.
 
Q5. Is it better to take a visa on arrival or should I apply for a visa at a nearby Thai embassy.A. If you have smaller children or senior folks in your party, I would recommend getting the visa in advance. Otherwise visa on arrival is fine.
 
Q6. Are there other options for getting the Thai Visa in India?A. You can contact the Thai embassy or consulates in India. VFS Global is also able to assist for resident of select cities. See http://www.vfs-thailand.co.in/
 
Q7. Is it fine if I show my bank statements, receipts of hotel etc in lieu of the spending money?
A. It purely depends on how strict the visa officer that is handling you is. My adage is always do exactly what they say on their official visa on arrival rules mentioned at the Foreign Affairs Website page on Visa on Arrival (link at the bottom). If you check that page, you will notice that they do not mention hotel or bank statements. If the visa officer ignores your bank statements and insists on seeing the spending money, you will spend a lot of time arguing with her and the people in the queue behind you will get angry. I am sure you are planning to take some USD (or INR etc.) to spend in Thailand, just show this money. In the 50 odd visits I have made to Thailand over the last 15 years, only twice (once at Bangkok airport and once at Malaysia-Thailand land border crossing) I was asked to show this spending money.  But do not take chances. Prepare this money so that you can show it, if they ask for it. 
Q8. My travel agent or someone told me that you have to show 1000USD (or some other amount) or hotel reservations etc.  Is it true?
A. Your travel agent is misinformed (or is trying to get you to book hotels or convert money to earn some more  off you).  You only need what is mentioned in section A5 on top. If your travel agent does too much drama, show them the official Thai ministry of  Foreign Affairs Website page on Visa on Arrival (link at the bottom)  . The visa on arrival form and the embarkation slip do ask for your address in Thailand. Fill in the name of the hotel you have booked or the hotel you intend to stay at. You do not need to show the hotel bookings at VOA counter.
Q9. Where do I pick up my bags? before visa on arrival or after?
A. After. The baggage area is immidiately after the counter where you get your visa stamped. If you find that your baggage belt is already assigned to a more recent flight, check the floor near the belt. Usually the airport crew will unload the unclaimed bags and place it next to the belt.  Thailand is warm and it is much cheaper to buy clothes locally. Avoid bringing a big bag, it will slow you down. (I carry two changes of clothes and as hand luggage. I always head to UNIQLO store in Bangkok and buy their cotton linen shirts. They are inexpensive, suited for the hot and humid weather, look good, wash and dry fast.)
Q10. I am going to Cambodia/Lao/Malaysia etc. from Thailand and returning to Thailand for my return flight back home. Can I get a multiple or double entry visa?
A.  Thailand no longer issues a double/multiple entry tourist visa. You need to get a visa on arrival on every entry to Thailand. Get your first visa at the Thai airport where you enter the country. Exit Thailand to visit the neighbouring country.  Then get your next Thai visa when you re-enter Thailand. I have applied for visa on arrival at several border posts and airports, and it is not a problem as long as you can show a  flight ticket out of Thailand to another country (and pay the visa fees etc.). A list of border posts where you can get Visa on Arrival is here at Thailand’s Foreign Affairs Website page on Visa on Arrival.
Do note that you will not be able to get Thai visa on arrival when you are crossing the land border from Cambodia into Thailand. So it is better to apply to for a regular Thai visa in Cambodia. Your hotel in Cambodia can assist you with this.
Q11. Do we need to show a marriage certificate to prove that we are a family
A. You do not need any documentation to prove that you are a family. Thailand is not that fussy. Having said that, it is a good idea to carry a photocopy of your marriage certificate, passport and other travel documents just in case. I keep a scanned copy on my phone another online on Dropbox. This way, even if you misplace your passport etc, you will have some backup to take to the embassy and get an emergency passport.

Other useful links

I made a youtube video with the same information, you can find it here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OyPUdWeZtk

See the following link for mobile SIM cards that you can buy in Thailand. 

Thailand Ministry of Foreign Affairs official Visa on Arrival site – http://www.mfa.go.th/main/en/services/123/15393-Visa-on-Arrival.html

737 thoughts on “Thailand visa on arrival for Indians, Chinese and others. The procedure, form and the documents you need

  1. Very useful information, but in the official website they have mentioned that the minimum money you should carry is 20,000 bahts per person or 40,000 bahts per family.. can you please re confirm what is the minimum money we should carry?

  2. I had used my passprt for the first time to visit bangkok this july 2014. I didnt travel any other country before using my passport. I want to go bangkok again in December. So can i go again? Is there any procedure ? please reply. IS it allow to go twice in a year in the same place? Bcoz i did nt use my passport to any other countries before as i d idnt travel. plz reply

    • There is no issue with traveling to Thailand multiple times in a year. Don’t worry about it. Many people from India and China just visit Thailand as it is easy to get the visa on arrival.

  3. I am travelling Bangkok on 1st of Oct-2014,& will be back on 6th Of Oct-2014 Can any one let me know how much thai bath need to carry per person

  4. Firstly this blog really made majority of my doubts clear… Kudos Travelspy … being a first time traveller, all my required queries got answered..
    But I have still 2 queries.. 1) Will the whole VOA process be similar in Don Mueng Airport as well as you have mentioned above?
    2) I even intend to visit Siem Reap through the land border crossing in Poipet, But now I am giving it a second thought since You have mentioned that getting back to Thailand from Cambodia will be a problem by Land. by the same crossing. My return Flight is from Don Mueng Airport itself. What should I do? I wanted to go to Siem Reap.. Can You Suggest Something? Thought of going to Cambodia just for 2 days, ie. limiting myself exclusively to Siem Reap.
    ThankYou.

    • I have not flown in via Don Meung in recent times, but the process should be simpler (and faster) if not similar. The documents that you need is the same for all entry points.

      Getting a Thai visa in Cambodia might take 2 days and more. Your safest bet will be to take a return flight from Siem Reap to Don Meung. It costs about 80 USD (weekdays) to 100 USD (weekends) on Air Asia. That way you can another visa on arrival when you are back in BKK.

      • Thanks a Lot..
        What is your opinion in case I leave Bangkok the very morning I land in Thailand to Siem Reap by the Poipet border crossing. Do you think that it might lead to some trouble considering I will leave the same day while clearing immigration at the border? In that case what should I put in my arrival card as well as VOA form in the “residence in thailand” slot?
        .. Anything particular that you think? and also while I fly back as you mentioned from Siem reap to BKK, do you think it might create similar problem in the Bkk airport?
        Or do you think I should limit myself to Thailand itself?

        • There is no problem with entering and then leaving Thailand again on the same day. I have done this several times. If you plan to enter Cambodia, it is better to get the Cambodian e-visa via their official visa online site. There are couple of scams going on (google for poipet visa scam) at the border where agents get you to pay more for a Cambodian visa. If you have an e-visa, they will not bug you. As for the address in Thailand, you can write the name of any hotel, just look up a backpacker place in Bangkok (Google for wikivoyage Bangkok and look under the Sleep section) and fill in the address. They never ask you to show a booking receipt etc. The Cambodian visa form also asks for address, you can fill in the address of any hotel in Siem Reap.

          If your aim is to see Khmer style temples, there are some in Thailand too. http://www.wanderlust.co.uk/magazine/articles/destinations/khmer-temples-isaan-thailand?page=all

          These are not as magnificent as Angkor Wat, but less busy.

  5. Hi, PREETOM, Alot of thanks for your precious informations about VOA in Thailand.I have been inspired by this as I am planning to visit thailand this September.My doubts about VOA is removed from my mind.pl inform me if there is any latest changes in their VOA policy at my given e-mail i/d if possible

  6. hi,
    just want to know are they really strict about the passport validity as my passport would be expiring in feb 2015 and m planning to travel in sep. would the airlies allow me to board the flight and would i be able to get the visa. i have checked their official website and there’s nothing mentioned like 6 months validity. plz help as i should book my flights or get a new passport.

    thanks

    • The immigration and the airlines in your home country will not let you leave. I was in a similar situation once, and the local Indian consulate offered me an option of a one year passport that can be issued in a hurry. I am not sure if they still have that facility.

      The official Thai websites do state that your passport needs six month validity. See the third paragraph on this Thai Embassy website. http://www.thaiembassy.sg/visa-matters-/-consular/visa-on-arrival

  7. My in-laws are planning to visit Thailand with Visa on arrival. Further my parents (my Dad) is working in Thailand for the last 20 years. In this regard, my in-laws can use the address of my DAd’s residential, isn’t it? Also, do my Dad need to prepare an authorization letter for my in-laws to show it to the Thai immigrations? |Please advise.
    Bob.

    • Yes, you can use a friend or relatives address. There is no need for authorization letter etc. They just glance at the address to make sure that it is filled.

  8. Hi..Very useful informations.is there any chance of dney of VOA,since i have all needed documents.Reasons like nervus,unrelated answers,etc(i’m bit weak at english)
    Also how the officers deal us?harshly or soft.
    Thanks in advance

    • Don’t worry about it. Most people from other countries that need visa on arrival such as China, Ukraine etc also are not fluent with English. You don’t need to talk to them much. As long as you have all the documents mentioned above, they will not stop you. Enjoy your holidays.

    • Thai immigration does not care about any NOC – they will not ask you for this. All you need is the documents listed above.

  9. wow…..very useful blog…im visting thailand with a group of 9 people…this info is of great help..really thanks alot…i just have one doubt…
    we are visiting bankok – phuket – pattaya..we are planing to book bangkok hotel before the visit..and rest everything else…like sight-seeing in all cities ,hotel in phutket n pattaya and bus tckt for phuket frm bangkok and from phuket to pattaya…
    i just want to ask is this good idea…will we get locat tour guide in each city…?? or should we book everythng before hand and then go… Thanks in advance… :) :)

    • If you get a good guidebook, you probably don’t need a guide in advance. And you can always get a local guide at the hotel you are staying at. Get them to arrange day trips for you on some days, and on some other days, you can explore the city by yourself.

  10. Hi I am Indian staying in Dubai and will be visiting Phuket in August month. This information is helpful in getting on arrival visa. Can you also elobrate on which places to visit during Phuket stay and general information about the city

  11. Hi, I stay in Thailand and have my parents visiting me on a tourist visa. Their visa is expiring in this week and they’d like to stay for 15 days more. so, we’re planning to visit Laos and get VOA for Thailand for next 15 days. We have planned to use Non Khai border for VOA. Recently, I cross-checked my plan with a local agent. He advised that it might be a problem getting a VOA at Thai/Lao border for Indians, with Visa officer asking extra money for issuing VOA. Can you please suggest if this is so? They’ve the return ticket to India and I’ll be accompanying them on Laos visit. Should I go ahead with my plan and expect not much problem in getting VOA for them?

    • Sony, I have entered Thailand via land borders before, though not at this particular border. I had no trouble. If they ask for extra money, just be firm. Also, try to spend 2-3 days in Lao, if you return on the same day, it becomes obvious that you are only going there to get extra days for the visa.

      • Hi Travespy,
        We are travelling to Thialand with our two children aged 5yrs and 15yrs. On the Passport of my son aged 15yrs which is issued yesterday they have by mistake put ECR stamp whereas we all have ECNR Passports. Pls suggest that do we need to get it rectified before we go. We dont have much time as we are travelling on Wednesday 25th June.

        • As far as I remember. The ECR is only checked when you leave India. The Thai immigration does not care about it. I think in you can convince the Indian immigration that you are leaving as a family and coming back together, you may not have any issues. Also,
          I think ECR is not applicable to some popular tourist destinations such as Thailand. Just google a bit and you will find the list of countries for which ECR is applicable.

  12. Thank you very much for this information. I am flying in this Saturday into Bangkok just for transiting on an onward journey and was a bit nervous due to news of the coup, however I am feeling more in control now that I know this procedure.

  13. Hi Preetham,

    First of all thanks for the wealth of information you have provided here. I just wanted to report that I am in Thailand right now and the situation in Pattaya is very peaceful. The only downside is that everything in the city shuts down at 10 pm because of the curfew.

    My visa on arrival went without a hitch (I chose fast track as I had to catch a bus to Pattayafor which the service clearlytold me no refund I I miss it). The extra 200 THB was worth it as the regular line was way too long owing to about 4 flights arriving from India and china at the same time. Overall it was a smooth process for me.
    Hoping that this information helps.

  14. Hi travelspy,

    Please include the land border crossing of Padang-Besar ( Thai-Malaysia border) as one of the entry points where visa-on-arrival is not available.

    Last time i told this to two fellow train travelers and they have to get off from the train after it had traveled a good distance from Butterworth in Malaysia.

    Thanks

    • Ashwani, my suspicion is that the two people you mention did not have an air ticket out of Thailand. I have crossed into Thailand from several land borders and they are fine if you can show an air ticket out of Thailand or (in case of entry from Malaysia) driving your own private vehicle.

  15. very informative.one question .if i am travelling to phuket via bangkok and have three hours between flights,one should i get visa on arrival at bangkok or phuket.secondly i hope the flight is from same airport.
    dr vinay.

    • I have answered this in the FAQ above. Most cases the immigration is in BKK. AirAsia and some other budget airlines fly from DMK. So keep some gap (3 to 4 hours) of your next leg is from DMK.

  16. Hi Travelspy. I have been there before with hotel reserved in advance but this time I am planning to book into a hotel after getting there. I will put the intended hotel name on the VOA form but if rooms are not available there I will have to stay in a different hotel. Do you think that could cause a problem? Will they check at the hotel that I mention on the form?

    • No worries. You can write the name of your intended hotel. It does not matter. Most countries just want you to put some address in that slot.

    • Hi Travelspy,

      Quick question. I have one page left in my passport. The Thai Embassy in New Delhi says a minimum of 2 pages are required to apply at the Embassy for a tourist visa. So that doesn’t work for me. Will I be able to get VOA at Suvarnabhumi airport with just one blank page in my passport?

  17. Hey !! Thnx fo d post
    M travelling out fo first time n i wanted u to giv me sum details lik
    1-m travellin to krabi afta landin to bkk airport so voa shud b taken frm where??
    2-what amt in cash shud i carry to b shown on voa desk??inr plz
    3-wat odha documnts rather den passport,,money,,return tickets r required??
    4-voa is fo whole thailand trip??will it include krabi,,phuket,,phiphi??m new so dun no
    5-if m bookin online ol my flights n hotel,,do i find ne problm while explorin plces i mean do d cab’s n entry n ol cheat??o shud i hire an agent??
    6-do v easily get indian food??
    7-hw to travel frm krabi to phuket
    Hope u’ll answer n solve my problem

    • 1- at BKK (see FAQ1 in the post above) 2- see A5 above. To convert to INR, go to Google and type 10,000 THB to INR. 3- See A1 to A8 above. 4- Yes, once you get the visa, you can stay in Thailand for 14 days and visit any place. 5- book flights and hotels on known websites, you’ll be fine. Example makemytrip, yatra etc. Cabs can be hit and miss, bit like India – some guys are good some cheat. Ask the cab guy to run the meter. 6. In BKK and Phuket, there are several Indian food places. Thai curries are a bit like Indian and you can request them to make it vegetarian so you can try that. 7. Check with your guesthouse, they will fix up a boat or minibus ride for you. There are several of these running everyday.

      • Thnx fo d reply!!
        I hv certain oda quiries i hope u dun mind me askin…
        1-krabi to phuket-hw to go n ne idea of xpenses
        2-hv planned my trip frm bkk airport-krabi(2days),,den phuket(3days),,den bkk(2-3days))so cn i add up pattaya in dz n extend ??i mean where to manage pattaya in btwn dz destinations n wat ll b d expenses
        3-shoppings malls n street shoppin address in bkk o ne f d above destinations
        4-r u sure ll b able to explore things easily??
        5-were is james bond island,,phi phi island,,koh sumai island,,safari island situated i mean frm vch f my destination r dz connected??plz plz plz do answer n olso lemme noe d entry chrges if ne!!
        6-d best n resonanl beers ?
        7-clubs n discs n der entry chrges??
        8-is it really safe using open wifi’s??
        9-wats found cheaper in gadgets in thailand n were to get dat??
        I noe its too much m askin :p n i hope u’ll answer me :)
        Thnx

        • 1. For the latest prices check the “getting there” section of Phuket and Krabi. http://wikitravel.org/en/Krabi
          2. Pattaya is closer to BKK, so you can go there from BKK and then you can head back to the BKK airport directly from Pattaya. Again check the “getting there” section on Pattay page at wikitravel
          3. MBK mall is good for clothes and electronics in BKK. You can get there via the skytrain.
          4. Yes, Thailand is pretty safe and there are people everywhere even late at night. The street food is safe. The taxi guys might try to scam you, but ask them use the meter. Before you head out to a mall or some other place, ask the reception at your guesthouse to show you the direction on the map. And do not trust anyone who is trying to get you cheap gemstones or good currency exchange rate. Change you money at the money changer counters, they are run by Thai banks and they are safe.
          5. It is http://wikitravel.org/en/Phang_Nga_Bay. Tour operators from Phuket as well as Kraabi will organise this for you. Again I am not sure what the current prices are but your guest house will have the rates, and ask the travel agencies around the hotel for rates.
          6- Singha and Chang are Thai local beers. Beer Lao from neighbouring Lao PDR is considered by many the beer in Asia if not the world. You can pretty much get any international beer in Thai tourist destinations.
          7- See http://www.bangkok.com/nightlife/. Pick up the local time-out magazine. They have listing of latest happening places.
          8- Thailand no longer has that many open wi-fi points as compared to Cambodia and Vietnam. Your hotel wifi will be password protected so it should be fine. Avoid wi-fi that does not require a password to connect. Do not type in your password for gmail, yahoo etc. at a cybercafe or hotel computer, more so if it running windows. You can also buy an inexpensive SIM card at the airport.
          9- Thai people love latest gadgets, you can get good deals in the pre-owned phones category. Of course there is no warranty if you buy used phones. Also, if you buy new electronics, you can get tax refund. So it is a good place to buy Macbooks, Notebooks etc.

          My suggestion is not to tire yourself by trying to go to many cities. If I were you, I would just go to Bangkok and Phuket, make some local friends (local bookshops, meetup groups are good for this) and chill out. You can always head back another time. Thai beach destinations, though pretty, are choke full of tourists and not that enjoyable anymore. Cambodia is more fun these days.

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