You’ve been enjoying your time in Koh Phangan, Thailand and your 30 day Passport Entry stamp starts to creep up on you, but you still want to enjoy the island paradise.
A quick hop over to the island of Koh Samui will allow you to extend your 30 days entry Stamp with an additional 30 day extension stamp at Koh Samui Immigration office so what to do next?
How to do a Thai Visa Run to Penang, Malaysia from Koh Pangan, Thailand
Tips on why you should do a visa run to Penang, Malaysia
You will need to get a Thai Tourist Visa, the closest and easiest place to get one will be from Penang, Malaysia and here is how you do it.
You have two options, you can do this the easy way or the hard way.
You can either DIY the whole trip, point to point or pay for a package and pay an extra additional fee.
When you break down both costs and compare the time involved for such a mission, it’s always easiest (And laziest) to pay a Travel agent to sort out the whole process the price difference is so minimal that it’s easier to pay up and sit back, it can be a long process to just save a few bucks.
Normally I would DIY it, but in this case it was easier to do the bookings through a travel agent.
Travelling to Penang, Malaysia resolves a short term solution and will give you 60 days on a tourist visa which can be extended another 30 days in Koh Samui, for a grand total of 90 days in Thailand.
It’s important to note that Thai Embassies in Malaysia only issue one entry Tourist Visa’s (60 days).
It’s not possible to exit Thailand and get another 30 days free entry stamp unless you plan on going away for a lengthy period.
Getting a Thai Tourist Visa will solve this and you can enter back into Thailand in a few days, Please note that you will have to show proof that you have 20,000 Thai Baht in your bank account.
Don’t overstay your current Duration in Thailand, this is bad news! Every additional day that you overstay comes along with a heavy 500 Baht per a day fine, it’s extreme, don’t risk it, just get it sorted.
Penang, Malaysia, is the easiest Visa Location to get to from Koh Phangan. Transport is cheap, Will take you a few days to sort out, but it’s a possible option for you to consider.
Travelling to Penang, Malaysia from Koh Phangan
Flying to Penang, Malaysia, from Koh Phangan, Thailand
You can get the Haad Rin Queen Ferry from Haad Rin pier, which gets you to the Koh Samui Budha Pier, then fly direct to Penang, Malaysia. You can fly direct with Fireflyz, A Malaysian owned airline that’s connected with Malaysian air, this is the quickest option, but not the cheapest.
Another point to bring up with this option is you can’t guarantee the return date as the turn around time of processing a Thai Tourist visa varies.
Unless you have the cash and want to go for a long duration to Penang, Malaysia, for say a week, then that will give you enough time to process your Thai Tourist Visa, in Penang.
Bearing in mind your avoiding the weekends and Thailand’s Public holidays as the Thai embassy will be closed.
Take the Taxi, Boat and bus service from Koh Pangan to Penang.
When you walk around Haad Rin, you will easily spot travel agents selling Penang, Malaysia packages, they are almost everywhere and on my last count I think it was around 12, even the hotels and hostels do the bookings as well. The current going rate was 1,400 one way.
This covers your Hotel pick up to Tong Sala port, the Raja Boat Service over to the mainland, Bus connection to the Surat Thani center then onwards to the Malaysian border and further onwards to Penang.
If you can, book your shuttle service with your hotel.
Pick up by Song Tal Taxi to Tong Sala pier is 6:00am from Haad Rin, if you book this with your hotel they will personally make sure you get on the bus, this is an added extra at no additional cost.
If you book with one of the Haad Rin travel agents, they will jot down the name of your hotel and arrange for a Taxi to come and pick you up, if you’re late, it will pass by without you and then you miss all the connections so make sure you arrange your wake up call with your guest house.
1,400 is an expensive sleep in! Make sure you are up and ready to go, then it’s plain sailing from here.
But surely You can book it all by yourself?
Sure, go for it!
You can sort out your own Tuk Truck by hitching one down (Bare in mind 6:00am is hit and miss with Tuk Trucks coming around Haad Rin), Pay for your Raja boat ticket at the ticket office located at the end of the pier, pay for a Surat Thani taxi transfer, then sort out a bus to Penang from Surat Thani.
I went with the Travel Agents for the added convenience, they have the timing down like clockwork and once the Tuk Truck picks you up from your hotel, everything else works and is on time to get to you Penang, no running around.
The Whole journey from your Guest house in Haad Rin, Koh Phangan to reaching Penang, will take you roughly 12 hours, you can either do this during the day (Like I did) Or overnight and sleep most of the way, what ever works best for you, these two options are both possible.
When you reach George town, in Penang, Malaysia, What to do?
Sort out for your Thai Tourist Visa first, this is important as it may take some time.
Again treating myself here, Mostly all hostels or Travel agents can sort out your Thai Tourist visa for you.
Make sure you’re already armed with your passport and passport photos (2 needed), fill out your Thai tourist Visa, Application form, Then you can pay a Travel Agent in Penang a set runner fee and they will deal all your Thai Tourist visa processing for you.
My reasons for this is simple, Penang is wonderful to explore for a day or two, freeing up this time gives you the freedom to run around George town (A UNESCO spot) and explore the city.
The last thing you want to be doing is waiting in line at an embassy, of course it’s cheaper for you to do this, but almost everyone goes through a travel agent in Penang to sort out there Thai Visa.
Everyone opts in for this service, first thing in the morning, all the travel agents dump off the passports from the day before and you are sitting waiting at the Thai embassy for your time slot, it’s not pleasant and to pay a small free to not have to worry about this is just the ticket.
Another reason to go with a travel agent in Penang is in the transportation back. If you book your return travel in advance you won’t be 100% sure when you will return, When you book your return transportation to Koh Phangan with the same company you opt in with the Thai Tourist visa service they put your ticket on hold until your passport is returned.
This works wonders as you have your transport covered and then just have to wait till your passport is all sorted.
Happy Days! Enjoy Penang, Malaysia until your passport comes back.
Sorting out accommodation
When you sort out your Passport and return ticket, Normally the travel agent in Penang, Malaysia will try to sort you out with a room too, I say scrap this and hunt around yourself and find something with a bit more bang for your buck.
My hostel of choice which I can highly recommend was The Frame Guest House, which used to be an old picture frame shop back in the day and has recently been transformed into a quirky stylish, modern looking hostel, I loved it!
This is my type of hostel style that I enjoy staying at, Modern, clean, safe, and affordable, everything I could possibly ask for.
Price includes Breakfast, towel, locker facilities and decent Wifi as well as a huge bundle of chill spots to hang out. It’s only 6 months old and is located in the main area of George town, easily accessible to all the main locations. It sets me back roughly £5 a night.
I booked 2 nights stay and on arrival discovered that the place was fully booked, if you want to stay here too best to book two nights in advance, I asked about extending to 3 days if I needed more time for the visa process and the owner was happy enough to block the room for me if needed, nice touch.
I didn’t end up extending but wish I could have stayed another night as it’s got a lot going for its self, for sure check out this hostel for your stay in Penang, Malaysia.
Exploring Penang, Malaysia and its UNESCO protected area George town.
First off, Penang is a whole island worth exploring, It’s got a lot to offer, but as I have a feeling that I will be visiting again soon in the close future, I didn’t want to do too much all at once and decided to explore only George town for the duration of my stay, for two nights it was a perfect amount of time and managed to explore rather a lot.
Best of luck with getting your Thai Tourist Visa from Thailands Embassy in Penang, Malaysia, I hope all the above information you’ve found useful and I hope it goes all smoothly.
Enjoy exploring Penang and if you have any more questions or want to share your own experience, feel free to post below in the comment section, thank you for reading!