Planning for 6 months in Thailand

Old Sep 20th, 2010, 02:02 PM
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Planning for 6 months in Thailand

Hello Thailand Experts, I am just beginning to plan a 6 month stay in Thailand. I am considering renting an apartment in Chiang Mai for most of the time, probably 5 months. I know that US citizens don't generally require a visa, but how do I stay this long? Is that an issue?

Also, if you have any practical advise regarding anything I should know about please pass it along. Such as: is it advisable to arrange a rental in advance from the US or just deal with it when I get there. What area of Chiang Mai would be safest and most convenient for a single woman with no car? I am figuring on obtaining a bicycle to get around on once I get there. I will be having A LOT of visitors so location is a consideration for that matter also.

This will occur early in 2011, probably February departure, so I want to get my planning started.

Kind Regards,

Lynnie D
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 02:17 PM
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For a stay of over 30 days you need a visa. A tourist visa Is good for stays of up to 60 days and may be extended for another 30 days. A non-immigrant A-O visa is good for up to one year but has conditions that must all be met that are more specific than a tourist visa. http://www.mfa.go.th/web/2482.?id=2493.

The forums at thaivisa.com may be of interest to you.
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 02:24 PM
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No visa is required fro US citizens for up to 30 days stay. You can apply in advance for a 60 day visa and you can get a 30 day extension for that visa.

It used to be that people did visa runs every 30 days to stay in Thailand longer, but the government has cracked down on this.

It's possible to get a retirement visa, but that is really a longer term commitment.
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 02:25 PM
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have you been to CM before....?

i don't really remember many people riding around on bicycles... its a very big place... 2nd biggest city in thailand...

the visa question is one you have to be very careful about...some regs changed last year and you need to be up on the latest, so i think the address kim has given you is best reviewed carefully....in years past people would just leave thailand for a day or two and just be granted a new 30 day visa on their return.. this may have changed...in fact there were bus trips over the border for just this reason... same day i think...
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 02:37 PM
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It seems the link to the visa info directly doesn't work so here is the top page from which you can navigate yourself. http://www.mfa.go.th
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 03:02 PM
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Thanks, Kim, the website works fine and is easy to navigate. It seems I qualify on all accounts, sadly, I'll be 50 on Thursday and I do not have Elephantaisis or Leprosy. Just a number of forms to get to make sure I'm a healthy non-felon non -drug addict.
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 03:03 PM
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Also, yes, I have been to Chiang Mai and although I don't recall bikes as being hugely popular, I still think it's a reasonable mode of transportation, but I'll have to do some research, maybe it's unsafe with all the cars and scooters on the road?
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 03:21 PM
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I consider the CM traffic scarier than Bangkok. Remember there is no public transport, unlike Bangkok with the Skytrain, subway and water taxis. I wouldn't want to be riding a bicycle in that traffic, and motorcycle accidents are the biggest killer of young adults. If I was staying in CM for 6 months (as someone who doesn't like CM, that's a nightmare!) I'd be using tuk-tuks for short hops and taxis for longer drives.
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 04:44 PM
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Lynnie, I assume you saw the financial requirement for the long stay visa...

"A copy of bank statement showing a deposit of the amount equal to and not less than 800,000 Baht or an income certificate (an original copy) with a monthly income of not less than 65,000 Baht, or a deposit account plus a monthly income totalling not less than 800,000 Baht."
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 05:03 PM
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I will seriously consider the Tuk-tuk/taxi scenario. Sounds reasonable.

I did read the requirement, not a problem. I did not understand if I need the 800000 Baht in a Thai account, or just in my account here with a letter from my bank saying it's legit.
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 05:08 PM
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My understanding from when I looked into it several years ago is that you need to transfer that amount into a Thai bank.

I look forward to the day when we can spend 6 months in Thailand. Enjoy!
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 05:23 PM
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I'm curious to know why you chose Chiang Mai. And I totally agree about a bicycle being a dangerous mode of transportation amongst all the cars, trucks, buses, and motorbikes. CM is a large city. You need to be able to get farther afield than just the center! A bicycle just would not do the job IMO.

You say you will have lots of visitors. If it were me, I'd want to be somewhere where visitors would have more to see/do when they come to see me. But that's just my opinion.

I've been to CM numerous times, and I enjoy the city, unlike some here on the forums who do not. That does not mean that I would choose to live there for 6 months. I'd be bored to death, I think. I would want more options, and I would want easy public transportation!

Have you thought about a second/third choice of location? I'd be curious to hear about it...

Carol
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 07:13 PM
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The retirement visa is not really an option if you only plan to stay six months. You must transfer the 800,000 Baht into a Thai bank, and must show that it's been there for 60 days before you apply for the visa - you'll be granted 30 day extensions until that time, which will eat up a lot of your time cooling your heels at immigration. I think it would probably be far easier to get a 60 or 90 day non-imm. visa and plan on taking a trip out of the country to get another one near the end of that time. If you go to Phnom Penh you can get another Thai visa will relatively little hassle.

I don't know what these other posters have against Chiang Mai. I think staying there near the center of town with a bicycle to get around is a perfectly reasonable idea - have even considered it myself. It's really a small town. Yes, there's suburban sprawl, but there's no reason to go to the burbs. If you get a place near the center of town, you should have no problem getting around. You definitely want to wait until you get there to find a place. I wouldn't want to make a six month commitment on a place I'd never seen.
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 07:33 PM
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like kathie i dislike CM.... i would be interesting in what draws you there however....

tuk-tuks would be my choice for in city or foot in the local areas...
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 11:57 PM
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Like Michelbbk, I find it hard to understand why a number of posters so dislike CM. I have visited on mumerous occasions and really like the place, great restaurants, lots to see and do both in town and in the surrounding areas. The people are friendly and you don't see so much of the excesses as in BKK . It is also a lot cheaper for a long stay than BKK. On our visit before last, we stayed a week in the centre of town and rented bicycles to get around for a couple of days and it was fine. Tuk Tuks and taxis are readily available and cheap (even cheaper are the sorngthaews which ply many routes around town. I do not recall the traffic being any worse than other Thai towns and certainly nowhere near as bad as BKK. I would not be inclined to arrange a rental sight unseen but rather arrive spend a week in a guesthouse and get to know the areas and property agents and then decide.
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Old Sep 21st, 2010, 06:58 AM
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Well, When I was in CM 2 years ago I felt very at home there. Also, I met a couple who live there for 6 months every so often and were really enthusiastic about it. It seemed like an easy city to navigate, plenty to do, safe enough fairly simple to get to from BKK and cheap enough.

The bottom line is that I'm turning 50 in 2 days, getting divorced, contemplating a HUGE move back home to Detroit after being in SoCal for 20 years, and I want to go to neutral territory to clear my head. I am also considering Latin America, but Mexico isn't really safe at this moment and nowhere in Central America appeals to me right now. So that's how I came up with CM.
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Old Sep 21st, 2010, 07:15 AM
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Bravo to you, Lynnie. Very Eat, Pray, Love of you.

I hope you find the clarity you're looking for.

There's not a lot of love for CM on the board in general, but I've always preferred it--so I think you're making a great decision. It's a personal choice so only you can make it. I've always loved the vibe up north so much more thank Bangkok (and I LOVE Bangkok!)

A lot of folks have told me I'm nuts for saying it but I find Chiang Mai to be extremely quaint for a "city" and I loved exploring as much of the city as I could on foot. Can only imagine the experience would be all the much better via bike.

Keep us posted on how this all pans out for you.
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Old Sep 21st, 2010, 07:57 AM
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How you feel about CM is FAR more important than how we feel about it.

I have a visa question for Michael, though. My understanding was that if you received a 60 day visa, then extended it for 30 days, you can't just go out of the country and get another 60 day visa. Is that right, or am I confusing it with the new regulations regarding the 30 day visa-free entry and how many times you can do a visa run? I also have only seen the option for a 60 day visa (plus a 30 day extension), not a 90 day visa. There are a number of us for whom the question may be relevant in the next ffew years.
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Old Sep 21st, 2010, 08:52 AM
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Lynnie, I agree with filmwill... You are brave to make this temporary move, and I applaud you! As I said before, I DO like CM, unlike many here. But I, personally, would get quite bored with it after a few weeks. But I go there with 'things to do' and you are going there to clear your head. Two different reasons!

I also hope it all works out for you!

Carol (who passed the 50th b'day a long time ago but can still understand the trauma of it; especially in conjunction with everything else you are dealing with) You go girl!
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Old Sep 21st, 2010, 09:04 AM
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Thanks for the show of support. I really appreciate it. The Eat Pray Love reference made me laugh out loud. I got about 5 pages into the book and couldn't stand the self-indulgence of it, and never saw the movie, although I normally see everything with Julia Roberts in it. And here I am behaving accordingly!!

I think I will find enough to keep me busy. I am hoping to volunteer at a school or orphanage, and have a connection in CM that will probably help me with that. Additionally, I am expecting A LOT of company while there. Many friends are planning to make the trip and take advantage of the opportunity.

The visa issue is perplexing. The way Michael described it seems simple enough if I can do the 2 90 day things, otherwise, why not just open a bank account and put the money in? It's about 26K USD, and I would just use what I need while there and bring the rest back with me when I come back, or do I need to maintain the balance? So much confusion.
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