You can find full details of Thailand's visa requirements at Thailand Ministry of Foreign Affairs. However, most visitors do not need to trawl through all this information. All you really need to know is that if you have a passport from one of these countries then you are exempt from visa requirements and will receive a 30-day entry stamp on arrival. You can extend the 30-day entry stamp by a further 7 days at an immigration office in Thailand for a fee of 1900-baht.
If you want to stay longer than 37 days, you have two options:
You can get a 60-day tourist visa before entering Thailand. You can obtain these from a Thai embassy or consulate in your home country. When you arrive in Thailand, enter the visa number on your arrival card and the immigration officer will give you a 60-day entry stamp on arrival. You can extend this by another 30 days at an immigration office in Thailand for a fee of 1900-baht allowing a 90-day visit without leaving the country. It is possible to get multiple tourist visas. These entitle you to two or three 60-day visits. However, between each 60-day visit (and optional 30-day extension) you must leave Thailand and then re-enter the country.
The second option is to do what is known as a visa run. This involves border hopping from Thailand to a neighbouring country and then returning to Thailand to receive another entry stamp. You will receive another 30-days if you return by air and another 15-days if you return at a land border. The term visa run is a little misleading as what you are getting is not actually a visa - it is a visa waiver entry stamp.
From Phang Nga, the normal visa run is to Burma (Myanmar). There are several companies that organise visa runs. They run either buses or minibuses to Ranong. There you get your passport exit stamped from Thailand. You then take a boat to Burma, stamp your passport in and out of Myanmar before returning to Ranong to get a new entry stamp into Thailand. The whole trip takes around 10-hours and costs around 1,500-baht.
A more pleasant alternative is to fly to a neighbouring country and turn the visa run into a trip. Singapore and Kuala Lumpur are popular choices. You can get two or three day tour packages to these cities for very reasonable prices and then return to Phang Nga and receive a new 30-day entry stamp.
You should always check the date on your entry stamp when you enter the country. Do not stay beyond the permitted stay date. The fine for overstay is 500-baht per day. If you pay the fine at the time you leave the country then you will receive a fine and an overstay stamp in your passport but normally no other repercussions. However, if during your stay in Thailand the police have cause to check your passport and find you have overstayed, they will treat you as an illegal immigrant. You may spend a night or two in a cell before being deported from the country.
There are longer-term visas available to people who want to live in Phang Nga based on retirement, family or work qualifications. See our Living in Phang Nga section for more details.
You can extend your visa and make general visa enquiries at Phang Nga immigration office. The immigration office is on the edge of Phang Nga town. It is not a convenient location for most tourists but its services are more generally required by expat residents.
Phang Nga Immigration Office
Phang Nga does not have its own TAT office (Tourism Authority of Thailand). The nearest TAT office is in Phuket Town. It is in Thalang Road next to Queen Sirikit Park. They do provide information about Phang Nga but there is no particular reason you should need to go there unless you are visiting Phuket anyway.
Phang Nga does not have its own airport so most visitors arrive at nearby Phuket International Airport. Phang Nga's main tourism area at Khao Lak is 75km from Phuket airport and is a 1-hour drive.
There are plenty of taxis at the airport but it has to be said that Phuket taxis are notoriously expensive. The 1-hour journey may cost up to 2000-baht.
It is possible to get a cheaper minibus service but only if there are enough people who want to go that way.
There is no direct bus service to Phang Nga. From March 2013 there is a bus service to Phuket Town and then you can get a bus from there to Takua Pa (for Khao Lak get off at La On Village) or Phang Nga Town.
Alternatively you can take a taxi from the airport to Khok Kloi (the first town you come to in Phang Nga province) and catch the bus from there.
Really after a long flight we recommend you just bite the bullet and pay the taxi or minibus fare or ask your resort if they provide an airport transfer service.
Money and Banks
The Thai currency is Baht. The exchange rates available in Thailand are generally a little better than you will get in your home country. You will get good rates if you exchange cash or travellers cheques at exchange booths. If you don't want to carry in lots of cash then generally the most cost effective way to buy Thai Baht is to use your credit/debit card at an exchange booth. The ATMs may give good exchange rates but that does depend on what fee your bank charges for this service. There are plenty of banks and exchange booths in the tourist areas at Khao Lak. The main towns all have banks that offer exchange services.
The exchange booths and banks usually give competitive rates. The worst rates are at the airports and hotels. Thailand bank opening hours are Monday-Friday 8.30am-3.30pm.
The international dialling code from Thailand is 001 followed by the relevant country code.
The country code to call Thailand is +66 and the area code for Phang Nga is 076.
International calls are reasonably cheap. Many internet and tour shops offer telephone services which are cheaper than hotel rates.
Mobile phone coverage in Phang Nga is good around all the main tourist areas and towns. You can use a mobile telephone from your home country if you have international roaming options. Another alternative is to buy a mobile phone in Thailand with a prepaid sim-card. You can buy a reasonable mobile phone with pre-paid sim-card from as little as 1,500 baht.
There are plenty of Internet shops in the main tourist areas at Khao Lak. Broadband connections are now standard and the reliability is generally good. If you are near the beach, you can expect to pay two baht a minute. Further from the beach, prices drop to one baht a minute and if you get out of the tourist resorts then you can find internet shops charging 20 baht an hour.
Postal services seem less important in these days of e-mail and text messaging. Post to/from the west takes 7-14 days either way. It is generally reliable but anything at all valuable should definitely be sent registered mail.
There is a post office at Khao Lak in Khuk Khak village.
Value Added Tax is 7%. This amount is already included in prices displayed in shops. Small restaurants, shops and stalls will not charge it anyway as they will not be registered. Larger restaurants and hotels may add 7% to your bill and some will also add a 10% service charge.
220 volts, 50 Hz. Electricity sockets generally accept both two pin round and two pin flat plugs. Adapters for other plugs are easy to find in local shops.
There are two government hospitals, one at Phang Nga Town and one at Takua Pa. These are well equipped and generally fine for dealing with the normal sort of health issues visitors may have.
If you need a higher level of service you will need to visit one of the two international hospitals at Phuket, the Bangkok International Phuket of the Phuket International Hospital.
There are also private clinics in the Khao Lak area that can deal with general health issues. The private clinics will have a qualified doctor and some open long hours.
There are plenty of pharmacies as Thais do like their medicine at the slightest hint of feeling unwell. Many of them will sell medicines without a prescription so if you go straight to a pharmacist then make sure you know what you want. Some will sell drugs such as sleeping tablets and Viagra on request. The small private chemists are more likely to sell such drugs without prescription - it is just a matter of asking around.
Whilst you are visiting Phang Nga, you may want to take advantage of the excellent deals available from dentists and opticians where you can make big savings compared to what you would pay at home.
You do not need to take any vaccinations before visiting Phang Nga. If you are visiting other parts of Thailand then it may be worth consulting your doctor. Phang Nga does not have Malaria but there is Dengue Fever which is also transmitted by mosquito bites. Dengue causes a very unpleasant fever and headache that will knock you off your feet for a week. It occasionally develops into a haemorregic fever in which case you will need to be hospitalised immediately. There is no vaccination for Dengue. Cases of Dengue are unusual in Phang Nga but it is worth wearing insect repellent to be safe. The mosquito that transmits Dengue is a daytime biter.
You pay 700-baht airport tax on departure but it is included in the price of your air ticket so no need to pay extra at the airport.
|Marine Police||076 215 438|
|Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)||1672|
|Phang Nga Town Hospital||076 412032|
|Takua Pa Hospital||076 431488|
|Bangkok Phuket Hospital||076 254 421|
|Phuket International Hospital||076 249 400|
|Australian Embassy (Bangkok)||081 546 5354|
|UK Embassy (Bangkok)||02 3058 333|
|US Embassy (Bangkok)||02 2054 000|