Report on Visa Run To Bangkok
Expats living in the Philippines may enter the country with only their passport, depending on their home country. This is probably not the best way to come in as it adds some expenses but for some of us it is the only choice. Those expenses include P2
500 to P5500 every two months. After sixteen months, the expat must leave the country for three days and then enter the country again with an onward ticket. That onward ticket significantly raises the cost of the trip out of the country. Most expats refer to this required trip as a “Visa Run.”
Three Days Required?
I’ve seen on the Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BI) site that there is a requirement to stay out of the country for three days. My travel agent in Cebu also says the requirement is three days. However, I’ve heard from many expats that say they flew to Bangkok (about 8 hours round trip in the air time) and then turned right around and returned to the Philippines on the next available flight.
Requirements to Leave the Philippines
It is harder to get out of the Philippines than to get into it! That’s assuming you’re not coming for ill intent. Even then it may be easier to get in than out. BI probably wont know you have evil intent unless you’ve been busted before.
Exit Certification Letter
It is easy to forget you need an exit certification from BI before you leave. You’ll need to appear before BI yourself so that they can finger print you and provide you with a letter. This exit certification will cost you about P1300. I paid P1800 but I used an agent only to find out I had to appear in person anyway. The agent may have had some of the paper work completed for me already. I don’t know.
When you enter the Philippines, you will need a ticket to your next port. When I entered the Philippines the first time, no one asked me if I had one but it may have been in the computer. This time, my onward ticket was through Cebu Pacific Air and I flew in and out of the Philippines with Philippine Air Lines. This time I was asked for it.
When I re-entered the Philippines, BI asked me if I would be staying for three weeks. My onward ticket is dated for the 29th of May which is only about a week. I don’t know if the immigration official knew I had a ticket out on the 29th but I told him I plan to leave on that date but I might get an extension. He frowned a bit when I said that.
While in Bangkok
Things went pretty well in Bangkok. My room was too hot but as long as i stripped I could stay cool enough. The staff at the 27 Hotel that I stayed at asked for my passport when I checked in and inspected it with great care. They seemed worried that my entry stamp was near the edge of the paper and spent some time trying to read the fine print. I don’t know what that was about.
The staff at the hotel were friendly and helpful. I didn’t eat there. I bought only water as they didn’t have diet coke. The room had hot water using a wall hanging heater much like the ones used in the Philippines.
The room was not dirty but it did have roaches and ants. Not over whelmed with it but I didn’t want to leave any food lying around unprotected. The hotel does not allow you to bring food from the outside in but I managed to do so.
I was surprised to find 7-11 stores in the Bangkok and they seemed to be the same Southland Corporation stores that one would find in the USA. Quite modern, with some of the same security measures in place. I bought a can of Pringles while I was there.
There were massage parlors every where, some seemed legit but many were on the seedy side. There were plenty of girls lining the door ways to all the bars at night. Some of them extremely pretty. Not the kind of place I’m going to go into alone in a strange country. That’s a great place to find lots of trouble and the last thing I was looking for was trouble. I just wanted to get in and out of the country and get back to my beautiful Filipina.
I didn’t explore a lot. I had only one full day in Bangkok and I spent most of that in an Internet cafe and several hours being driven around to places I didn’t want to go to by the taxi drivers of Bangkok. Warning, if you don’t know exactly where you want to go, the cabbies will take you any place. I had one long ride in a taxi, I think it lasted two hours as it was in heavy traffic. Once I got to the where he was taking me it was about as far from a Pizza hut as it could be. I will be writing more about my experience with the cabbies on http://liveinthephilippines.com in the next day or so.
Elephant in The Street
The most unusual thing I saw was an elephant on the street. I had walked a good distance, I was hot, hungry and tired when I came across it. It was also on the other side of a seven or eight lane road and I was in an area that I didn’t feel safe in. I wish I had been able to get over there but I was just not into at the time. I had been looking for a Pizza Hut for hours.
I did finally find one, only after I had given up though and asked to be taken to McDonald’s. I was very hungry so I wanted to make sure I got enough to eat and I did. It would have been a chance to actually touch an elephant though and I should have taken it. I’m not really being down on myself though as I was at my wits end at that point.
I enjoyed my short time in Bangkok. I hope to take Jessie next time. I think we would have really enjoyed the place if we had been together but I would need more than two nights and three partial days. I need a lot of rest when I do things like this, others wouldn’t need at much time as I do.
I was impressed how modern the city was. I have not spent any time on the streets of Manila so I can’t compare it to Manila. I look forward to spend some time in Manila but no set plans to do so yet.
If you are looking for a quick trip out of the Philippines on a budget of about $500 this would be a good way to go. The $500 includes my onward ticket back out of the Philippines which is about $125.00 I bought my ticket to Thailand at the wrong time. I paid $350 for mine and now there are promotions for considerably less. How much less, I’m not sure. Cebu Pacific runs their ads without including tax. The tax will nearly double the cost of the flight.
Filed under: Cost of living in the Philippines
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