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4evermaat

single entry Non-O visiting family visa run - Penang

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I was successful at obtaining non-o single entry in Pinang, Malaysia this past week. Since several people were reported locally as having problems from Chumphon @ Ranong border during pre-Crackdown phase (4th consecutive run was being denied at the same border) and now it is even worse as I understand that even attempting more than 1 consecutive "Out-In" could be a problem ("Out-In" = an official synonym for border runs specifically for the purpose of immediately obtaining more permission to stay). So I will try to make this as comprehensive as possible for future reference.

Getting to Penang, Malaysia from Chumphon.

Option 1: Train

There is a #35 train from the Chumphon train station that goes directly to Butterworth, Penang. The most convenient option is to book the 2nd class sleeper (air conditioned) which is appx 1020-1110 baht, with the lower berth being more expensive (more legroom). The same car continues onto Malaysia when it disconnects in Hat Yai, so no need to change seats or trains; just one straight shot with a mandatory stop in Padang Besar to stamp passport. The Malaysian side will security-check bags and possibly scan them when you get to their side. There will be someone on the train that will exchange Thai Baht (THB) for Malaysian Ringgit (MYR/RM) at a reasonable rate (generally 10 THB 1 RM). You should get 40-100RM this way until you get to GeorgeTown.

Then from Buttersworth, you can take a taxi or take the ferry to Georgetown for 1.20 RM (ferry recommended). The ferries run very often...maybe every 10-20 mins.

The biggest drawback with the train method is that there is only ONE per day. 2nd class sleepers can sell out quickly on short notice, especially during holidays; but it may be possible to do 1st/3rd class and then switch to 2nd class at Hat Yai (this may require 2 separate tickets). You may also be able to take 2 different trains altogether, laying over in Hat Yai waiting for the #35 to Buttersworth. But if you do get the same train, especially the 2nd class sleeper, it's very simple. Make sure you leave at least 1 day prior to your permission to stay expire date to avoid overstay. (E.g. if your permission to stay ends on Dec 9th, catch the #35 on Dec 8th evening so you arrive at the border Dec 9th smile.png

Option 2: a) Coach bus to Hat Yai, then cool.png minibus/bus to Penang.

This is the most flexible option in the sense that once you get to Hat Yai, it's fairly 'easy' to make your way to the Sadao border and onwards to Penang at most times of the day. This is the one I did on short notice.

a) Bus to Hat Yai: There are a couple of companies that go to Hat Yai, but there is one with a terminal right down the street from the Chumphon train station behind the 7-11 (PTT gas station) that leaves 4 times a day, I think 08:30, 09:30, 11:30, and 21:00. I know for sure 21:00. First Class, air conditioning, 400 baht, 082-2846462. Takes about 7-8 hours depending on how often we stop. The bus was nearly full by the time we got to the larger bus terminal outside Chumphon Town. In fact, there was an overflow where about 7 people were sitting or standing in the aisle (that bus actually had extra plastic stools). We ended up changing to another bus (everyone) about 1 hour in, but there still weren't enough seats. I'm not sure if it was an intentional overbook. The bus (same company) from hat yai back to Chumphon was 1/2 empty and it was newer; go figure.

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Avoid the last 3 rows when you are getting assigned seat. If they are using an older bus, those seats are likely to be either removed or non-reclinable, especially that back row. This was different than a different company that I used to go to bangkok, where all the seats the same except the rear seats, which had more space to recline back.

cool.png Bus to Penang. There used to be minivan service that went directly to Penang (Komtar and Chulia St) and it was at least 5 times a day; the same minivan for the whole trip. That service seems to have been suspended. Now, Newsia (New Asian) offers only twice daily service that I know of, and I do not know the times from HatYai >> Penang (I think one is 16:00). The minivan takes you to Sadao, and then after immigration you switch to a coach bus that will stop in Changlun to change money and then continue onto Penang. Unfortunately, with the confusion of the old minibus service being disrupted, I was unaware of the newer minivan/coach bus combo service that took its place. So here is what I did instead:

1) Take Minivan to Sadao border (Dannok); Cross border on foot. 2) Take Taxi to ChangLun, 3) Take local bus to Alor Setar, 4) Take coach bus to Butterworth, 5) Hop ferry to Georgetown, Penang (Weld Quay AKA "Jetty" ferry/bus terminal).

1) Take minivan to Sadao border (57 Baht - appx 1 hour). You might be able to do this from the bus station, but when I arrived (around 04:30) I did not see anyone at what looked like an outdoor booth/table that sold tickets. I think you have to call them and have then pick you up there. OR take a minibus/tuktuk to ClockTower (หอนาฬิกา hawng naa-re-ka). Shouldn't be more than 50 baht. You might be able to show them the image here and then say clocktower. If you are already standing at the clocktower, continue walking in the direction of the traffic on Phetkasam Rd and make a left at the next block, which I think is Poonsuwan Rd (one way). You'll see the minivans and probably some people waiting for the next one to fill up.

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They do pick up a few people along the way on main roads, so I am assuming that you can call and reserve that way. I don't know if they speak english. They did pick up someone inside the bus station that I started at (not far from CentralWorld); I cannot confirm if that is regular stop or if the customer had to call first (no one was at the booth at the time).

There may also be song-thaws running from bus station to clocktower, but they start around 7 or 8am and I'm not sure when they finish; taxis are more instantaneous. There seemed to be some market behind the [building behind] clocktower, so you could possibly stop for a bite if there are any vendors ready.

Takes about an hour to get to the border, with some people getting on/off along the way. They will go all the way up the hill just before the covered immigration checkpoint and then make a u-turn (does not go into the parking lot at the checkpoint). The driver may not announce the stop for Sadao border. So if you see him making a u-turn away from the immigration border checkpoint, stop him and get out.

Stamp out of thai immigration. If you want, you can cross over to the Thai arrivals side and pick up a few arrival cards. Then walk about 700m to the Malay arrivals side (Bukit Kayu Hitam) and stamp in an air conditioned checkpoint. They were very friendly and simply asked "where are you going?" Issued the 90 day stamp, scan your bags and you are on your way. If you need to use the toilet, now is the time to do it as they are likely to be cleanest. There won't be another toilet break until either the money exchanger in Changlun or Aloe Setar bus station.

2) Take taxi to Chang-Lun (Chang-loon, 20RM/200 Baht - 10 min). You can first head into the Malay tourist info center a few meters from the checkpoint and pickup a free map to confirm these steps; tell them you want to go to Penang. You might be able to split this taxi with someone else going in that direction, but it seemed unlikely.

Tell the driver you want to go to Chang-Lun to catch the local bus to Alor-Setar (Aloe-Star). Ask them to make a stop first at CTC Recreation Park (Rest Area) to change some money (THB, MYR, USD, etc). After the police checkpoint, Petronas Gas Station is on the left, and the CTC rest area is on the right about 1km or so. I don't know of any other place to change money except in GeorgeTown. You do not need to change everything...about 30-100RM minimum is sufficient for a single person to get to GeorgeTown; there are plenty of exchanges in Georgetown to exchange larger amounts.

Where I was dropped off to catch bus to Aloe Star, I did not see any exchange booths or banks. Maybe one of the travel agents may change money, but I couldn't tell. The CTC rest area has a proper money exchanger; don't forget.

BTW, you could also take a taxi directly from the border to Penang for 280 RM.

3) Take local bus to Alor-Star (4.50RM - 1.5-2hr). Where the taxi drops you off, it seems like a mini shopping area with the majority of the shops closed; a couple of tour company booths are scattered in this 2 story building. The bus will be an older style, un-branded coach bus with just enough air conditioning to keep the temp below room temperature. It should have a sign on the windshield that says Aloe Setar. The color outside was mostly grey with an orange stripe but it may also be purple or another color. Don't get off until you reach the bus station in Alor Star, which appeared to be the final stop.

4) Take coach bus to Butterworth Penang. (Konsortium 10.80RM - 2-3hrs). There is another company that runs to Butterworth from that terminal, but the Konsortium ticket peddler will be outside the local bus eager to sell tickets. Plus the local bus driver pointed to the Konsortium bus, so I didn't bother. It is a 2 + 1 seating configuration and a few of the seats were broken (the seat recliner would recline all the way back instead of locking half-way). Air condition was great.

There is also supposed to be the Transnational bus and Plusliner for around the same price.

5) Take ferry to GeorgeTown, Penang island (1.20RM - 15 min). The ferries leave appx every 15 mins. There is supposed to be an exchanger but you have to walk to where one of the food courts are. It just so happened it was closed for prayer or whatever when I got there. I was able to get one of the restaurants to exchange 50 baht for 5 ringgit, but don't rely on that (exchange beforehand in Chang-Lun rest area if possible).

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Once on Penang Island, you can get a Rapid Passport (bus pass) at the RapidPenang counter in the "Jetty" Weld Quay bus terminal (30 RM - unlimited rides for 7 days). You are likely to hang out for a couple of days in Penang;, the bus pass is worth it IMO. With the bus pass, take the #101 up Chulia st or you can walk through the Jetty bus station, turn left and walk a few meters; Chulia St will be on your right.

All those steps weren't too exhausting, you just had to know what to do. It obviously would still be easier to do the straight shot from Hat Yai to Penang. But you have it easy now because it is all compiled here in one list. If anyone knows how to purchase the Hat Yai >> Penang direct mini-bus/coach bus tour baht in Hat Yai, please share that tour company info along with the current times they are running and price.

Option 3: Bus/train/Fly to Bangkok, and then fly to Penang.

No direct flights from Chumphon to Penang or Chumphon to Hat Yai. You could possibly take a flight from hat yai, but I'm sure that more options would exist from Bangkok. This is the most expensive route, especially on short notice.

From Penang Airport, take #102 bus (air condition) into GeorgeTown (not sure if this goes up Chulia St....but it does go to Komtar and then you can walk 1KM or so or take taxi). You can also ask the information counter if there is a RapidPenang Kiosk or something similar to buy the tourist Rapid Passport. 30RM for unlimited rides, 7 days. If not, you can buy the pass in Komtar, which is a huge shopping mall complex/bus terminal in GeorgeTown. I think the airport taxi is like 45RM to GeorgeTown.

Accomodation

I stayed at a couple of different guesthouses and it seemed that several have gone through renovations. The cheapest AND cleanest that I know is over on Muntri St (one block over from Chulia St via Love Lane); 75 Traveler's Lodge. Completely renovated since the last time I was there; almost all of the photos on google images are outdated as of this writing. You can get bunk bed for 15RM / night with fan and shared toilet/showers. Or a private room with fan/sink and shared toilet for 30RM / night. They also had some air condition rooms with private toilet/hot water downstairs 60RM or so. The temperature in the room was surprisingly cool in that bunk room because there were lots of windows for circulation. The shared toilets were very clean and two of the showers have working hot water units; bring your own soap. There is also a patio to smoke, relax, work and you can even hand wash your clothes if you want and hang them out to dry on one of the racks.

There is free wifi from most of the hotels, but it seems that either Malaysia or that area of Penang the internet is unusually slow for international sites at times. A private Digi sim card is 30RM at the convenience store across from the 7-11 on Chulia St and includes 20RM of credit; there is usually also 2 days of free bonus internet (150MB) for the first 2 days that you activate the card. So you can wait until after the bonus days are up before you layer on an internet package.

Star lodge and W & O Cafe is also located nearby (same owner); Star lodge has private air con rooms/private bath for 50RM or so. Other guesthouses in the backpacker areas that had the air con bunk bed room/shared toilet for 25-30RM/night were sold out, so you have to move quickly I guess.

Visa Run to Thai consulate.

There are several guesthouses that will also run the visa for you for 30-50 Ringgit extra. For some this might be the most hassle free option. I actually wanted to see how the process worked so I opted to do it myself. Monday morning I headed to a tour company that had a printer to print documentation. It was getting late in the day decided not to take any chances and take a taxi (below I show how to take the bus). I negotiated 15RM, but I think you might have been able to get it down to 12 or 10RM if they are using a motorbike to escort you. I forgot the name of the guesthouse, but almost any of them that rent motorbikes should offer this shuttle service.

Got to the Thai Consulate around 10:30 am Monday and there was a small line of 8 people in front of me, but it moved quickly. I presented my visa application along with the following documentation:

  1. - USA passport, valid until 2020 or so.
  2. - photocopy of of mother's thai ID; signed
  3. - photocopy of my passport; signed.
  4. - two passport photos (2" x 2")
  5. - photocopy of thai child birth certificate, signed by both parents
  6. - photocopy of tambien baan (housebook), page 1 with address of land plot and the page with thai child's name. The page images were small enough to fit both images on one A4 page for the photocopy. Signed by both parents.
  7. - photocopy of bank statement from a foreign bank (not a thai bank) showing over $5k USD (150k baht equivalent recommended by someone here). Signed. Only the first page with the account summary was given.

The fee is 110 RM for tourist visa, 220RM for Single entry non-imm, and 550RM for multiple entry; they only accept Malaysian Ringgit as payment.

When it was my turn, he looked at all of the documentation quickly and then smiled and say "You stay with your family?" He handed a receipt slip with a large number on it and slots to fill out name, passport number, date and type of visa requested. He then stamps it and puts the pickup date/time on it and even said "Wednesday - Thai holiday tomorrow" to be clear smile.png. I noticed that some other people going for tourist visas were being questioned about having 20k baht or equivalent and the consulate was even demanding bank statements for some people, one of them being from Seychelles.

There was a Thai holiday on Tuesday. On return to the consulate Wed afternoon. They open @ 14:00, I got there around 14:45. You show the guard the receipt with the number on it, and he will let you in. It looks like they have a couple of technical college student staff helpers helping out, and after handing her the slip, she tried to look through a couple of piles of passports, but could not find mine (clueless). The guy who accepted the application before finally came out and found it quickly in what appeared to be the 'non-O' pile. It looks like they have separate piles for different visa classes (and maybe different dates of application). They close @16:00, so avoid being late.

After the fact, I was more confident that I might have been able to get a multiple entry with the same documents, but that is also based on a previous report where the consulate actually asked the visa runner if he wanted a multiple entry. The guy was very friendly and the line moves quickly.

Prior to leaving Thailand, you can print out all the documents you need for the visa run and keep them in a folder or paper protector. I also recommend getting the passport photos before coming to Malaysia I got 12 - 2" x 2" passport photos for 150 baht at a FujiFilm photo shop in Chumphon Town (down the street from Fame, NOT the one behind the Ocean Mall); took about 30 minutes to process.

Getting to the Royal Thai Consulate General in Penang.

For those wanting to hand off their passports in person, I mentioned earlier getting there via taxi. You can also get there by bus. There are no obvious signs pointing to the Thai Consulate, but it is directly across the street from the St Christopher's International Primary School on Jalan Nunn entrance. You have two options:

1) [closest] You can take the #10, 304, or 306 to Jalan Macalister and the St Christopher's Int'l Primary School. If you pass Jalan Cantonment, you went too far. Walk up Jalan Cantonment a few meters and make a left onto Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman. A few meters later, make a left onto Jalan Nunn. School is on your left and Thai Consulate is on your right.

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The #304 (and maybe #10) must be taken outside Komtar terminal on Penang Rd (there's the actual covered Komtar terminal with Rapid penang info desk and then there is a bus stop just outside the terminal on Penang Rd/Tek Soon St many buses stop at going onwards to the "Jetty" -- you can always ask the info desk if you are not sure).

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I didn't take these buses because I wasn't sure how often they ran, so I opted for the other buses.....

2) [preferred IMO, but longer walk]. Take the 101,102,103 towards Gurney Plaza. These also run up Chulia St and go pass through Gurney Paragon and Gurney Plaza. You can also catch them at Komtar terminal. Take the bus along Jalan Kelawei and get off at Jalan Cantonment traffic light (shortly before you'll see Temple with a yellow dome, pointy top on left. On the corner, you will see Fortune Heights office building). If you see Gurney Paragon, you went too far and need to get off and walk back to Jalan Cantonment. Walk south about 1.3 km and turn right onto Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman. A few meters later, make a left onto Jalan Nunn. St Christopher's Int'l Primary School is on your left and Thai Consulate is on your right.

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Alternatively, you can pass Gurney Plaza and then catch 101,102 and a few other busses going back to Komtar via Jalan Burma. Shortly before the Jalan Cantonment traffic light, you will see Burma House office building with Dominos Pizza and MayBank. Get off at that bus stop. Aroi Thai Restaurant is also nearby. Make right onto Jalan Cantonment.

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If you really wanted to, you could even walk directly to the Thai consulate from Chulia St area, it would take about an hour walking briskly. Not sure if you would want to do that in Malaysian tropical weather.

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Getting back to Chumphon, Thailand.

I used the more direct bus route from Penang (Komtar) to Hat yai. The name of the company is New Asian (Newsia) Tour. Most guesthouses will also book ticket for you, or you can book directly at their Komtar office; 35RM. They leave twice a day at 08:30 and 15:30 although I was able to get them to wait until 16:00 as I wanted to be sure I would make it back in time from the Thai consulate. You can leave your heavy bags in their office until you are ready to leave. Turns out I arrived at Thai consulate close to 14:50 and was able to get back to Komtar via bus (Jalan Burma) around 15:20.

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Coach bus is comfortable and appx 3 hrs and only goes to the border. You switch to the minibus to do the remainder of the trip to hat yai. Right before the border, there is a stop at the CTC recreational rest stop and you can use the toilet / exchange money. I would exchange the majority of funds in Georgetown first before traveling back, and then exchange the final amounts here. The rest stop also offer to fill out the Thai immigration arrival and departure card for 2RM if your English writing skills aren't too great. But you can get the arrival card for FREE at the border and fill it out yourself like at most other borders. There is the larger immigration office right near the booths; walk in a grab the arrival card. It's a good idea to get one before you go to Malaysia, as it will save you some time. The minivan is waiting, so move quickly as you can. I was surprised at how many people did the 2RM thing. Not sure why the driver does not know or inform people about the free option.

If this direct service changes or is unavailable, you can just reverse the steps I did before to get here (ferry to butterworth, bus to Aloe Setar or Changlun, Changlun to Bukit Kayu Hitam (Sadao) border via taxi, border to hat yai via minibus. Or go by train/air.

Once in Hat Yai, you will be dropped off at the bus station, although they may allow other drop offs nearby (the driver asked everyone where they were going). Go INSIDE the bus station and buy the first class bus ticket to Chumphon for 400 baht, leaves 4 times a day with the last one @21:00, arrives in the Chumphon Town PTT gas station around 04:30.

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If there are other tourists on the bus, they might be going in the same final destination as you. It might be a good idea to ask them, you might be able to split a taxi. Or you can go to Fame until the song-thaew start to run. The one to Sapli actually has an early one that leaves around 6-6:30 AM to go back to Sapli. The next one isn't until almost 8AM. It is best to wait in front of the 7-11 by the Chok-anan Tour (near TMB/SCB banks) to be sure you catch it.

Have fun. If anyone knows an agent that sells the tour from Hat Yai to go directly to Penang since the recent changes that occurred around April, 2014, please advise.

Edited by 4evermaat
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The important thing is that you got the visa. Now you have 90 days that you can extend easily for another 60 days at immigration. You should start the process to get your parenthood legitimized.

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whistling.gif Long post, but for your information.

Going from Thailand to Malaysia (specifically Penang) is NOT considered an out-in by Thai immigration, even at a land border.

What they are referring to as an out-in is to leave on a visa exempt (30 day stamp) and then immediately to try to return to Thailand on another 30 day visa exempt entry.

Using two back-to-back visa exempt 30 day entries IS what the Thais are referring as an out-in.

But going to the Thai consulate and getting yourself a That tourist visa (assuming you qualify for such a visa) is exactly what the Thais want you to do.

So, I expect that being the case, you will have no problem doing that Malaysia run.

(I'm assuming you can book that train of course.... it is often fully booked).

For that matter, you can also fly from BKK to Penang, if you can handle the fare.

Note: there is another reason for getting a lower berth if you can. That's because the air-con blows into the TOP bunk, and frankly it can get d-mn cold up there. (the blanket they give you is thin, bring your own blanket is a good idea).

wai2.gif

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whistling.gif

For that matter, you can also fly from BKK to Penang, if you can handle the fare.

There are also direct flights from Koh Samui to Penang. May be easier then getting to Bangkok first.

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Lower berths are only larger on certain carriages, which makes for a larger seat during the day. I went down in Car No 2 and came back in Car No 9. Car No 9 was obviously a lot older, upper and lower berths were the same width, like the upper in Car no 2. Being older the suspension appeared to be virtually non existant making for a fairly uncomfortable journey, quite a contrast to Car No 2.

I think if I had gone down in Car No 9 I would probably have flown back.

I know that No 3 is the same as No 2 and No 10 is the same as No 9. You should be able to check the No when booking as it comes up on the ticket.

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whistling.gif Long post, but for your information.

Going from Thailand to Malaysia (specifically Penang) is NOT considered an out-in by Thai immigration, even at a land border.

What they are referring to as an out-in is to leave on a visa exempt (30 day stamp) and then immediately to try to return to Thailand on another 30 day visa exempt entry.

Using two back-to-back visa exempt 30 day entries IS what the Thais are referring as an out-in.

But going to the Thai consulate and getting yourself a That tourist visa (assuming you qualify for such a visa) is exactly what the Thais want you to do.

So, I expect that being the case, you will have no problem doing that Malaysia run.

(I'm assuming you can book that train of course.... it is often fully booked).

For that matter, you can also fly from BKK to Penang, if you can handle the fare.

Note: there is another reason for getting a lower berth if you can. That's because the air-con blows into the TOP bunk, and frankly it can get d-mn cold up there. (the blanket they give you is thin, bring your own blanket is a good idea).

wai2.gif

It actually took over a week to compile the post as I got distracted with other things offline. I actually got the visa last week...almost 2 weeks already. The Out-In was just for reference purposes only. I did the run specifically because I already did 3 Out-In stamps at Ranong and the Ranong border run company reported problems with people doing their 4th Out-In, several living in my area. So they refunded my ticket and I had to move quickly to obtain a new visa; Malaysia was the easiest option for my location but I noticed a lack of comprehensive info for how to do it if no train was available.

I suppose I could have broken it up into 2 separate threads, one for travel info and one just with visa info. But it was already started. I hope I organized it well enough and it was not too wordy to cause confusion. Good thing my computer didn't reboot in between; not sure how well the forum auto-save feature works. It should help some people in Chumphon who were having difficulty and need to reset Out-In count.

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Hi UbonJoe,

I'm off to Penang next week to get a single Non O based on having a child with the ex but the OP stated that he took financial proof equivalent to 150k thai baht.

I thought proof for a Single Non O wasn't needed or ever asked for. Am I wrong?

Thanks

The important thing is that you got the visa. Now you have 90 days that you can extend easily for another 60 days at immigration. You should start the process to get your parenthood legitimized.

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Hi UbonJoe,

I'm off to Penang next week to get a single Non O based on having a child with the ex but the OP stated that he took financial proof equivalent to 150k thai baht.

I thought proof for a Single Non O wasn't needed or ever asked for. Am I wrong?

Thanks

The important thing is that you got the visa. Now you have 90 days that you can extend easily for another 60 days at immigration. You should start the process to get your parenthood legitimized.

They did not ask for the 150k baht. He just presented the proof thinking it was needed.

For a single entry visa it should not be required,

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"Have fun. If anyone knows an agent that sells the tour from Hat Yai to go directly to Penang since the recent changes that occurred around April, 2014, please advise."

CHAO VANG TRAVEL (AKA Swiss Travel in Penang):

70/2 Lamaisongkrew Road, Hatyai, Songkhla 90110, Thailand

Tel. <contact member by PM for phone numbers>

Google map from bus station to get to CHAO VANG (motorcycle or tuk tuk should be 40-50 baht) http://goo.gl/oxfHYw

Departure time: 0930, 1230, 1530, 1630

450 baht (used to be 350 baht)

In Penang SWISS TRAVEL: (CHAO VANG TRAVEL)

No. 395 Chulia Street, 10200 Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Tel. <contact member by PM for phone numbers>

Departure time: 0500, 0830, 1200, 1600

Edited by ubonjoe
Removed phone number Not allowed by forum rules
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Just a thought, if your are in Hat Yai there are actually a lot of companies still running the regular van services. If you're close to the Lee Garden Plaza / Thanon Thamanoovithee area you can walk down Thanon Nipatuthit 3, several ticket agents there. Or grab a motorbike taxi and ask for the minivan station. Lots there too.

Equally if you've done a trip that drops you straight to Dannok (Sadao) there are quite a few agents in Dannok. One is very close to the border crossing on the right as you walk down the main road towards the border.

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Hi UbonJoe,

I'm off to Penang next week to get a single Non O based on having a child with the ex but the OP stated that he took financial proof equivalent to 150k thai baht.

I thought proof for a Single Non O wasn't needed or ever asked for. Am I wrong?

Thanks

They did not ask for the 150k baht. He just presented the proof thinking it was needed.

For a single entry visa it should not be required,

Actually, they did ask for financial proof. I held it back initially and then he asked for bank statement.

Single entry or multiple entry non-O. Now whether single entry needs the full 150k I am not 100% sure of this. I was ready.

Just a thought, if your are in Hat Yai there are actually a lot of companies still running the regular van services. If you're close to the Lee Garden Plaza / Thanon Thamanoovithee area you can walk down Thanon Nipatuthit 3, several ticket agents there. Or grab a motorbike taxi and ask for the minivan station. Lots there too.

Equally if you've done a trip that drops you straight to Dannok (Sadao) there are quite a few agents in Dannok. One is very close to the border crossing on the right as you walk down the main road towards the border.

At the time, there was a crackdown on minivans going from hat yai << >> penang. That may be relaxed now, but my understanding was that Chao Vang / Swiss Travel has been running smoothly the whole time, but they may sometimes use a different border depending on the time of day. But yes, the cost now is about 450 baht. I actually think the train is a better deal if you can get it, unless the final destination is Hat Yai. The minivans do sometimes sell out quickly, so act fast.

I do not trust random ticket agencies as they often do not have your best interest at heart. Personal recommendations are much better to avoid the hustlers.

In regards to agents in Dannok. Are you referring to taking passengers from dannok to Penang? Or Dannok to Hat Yai? That would be great if there were services going from Dannok to Penang.

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I did a more recent multiple entry non-imm visa at Penang with virtually all the same paperwork.

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Just a thought, if your are in Hat Yai there are actually a lot of companies still running the regular van services. If you're close to the Lee Garden Plaza / Thanon Thamanoovithee area you can walk down Thanon Nipatuthit 3, several ticket agents there. Or grab a motorbike taxi and ask for the minivan station. Lots there too.

Equally if you've done a trip that drops you straight to Dannok (Sadao) there are quite a few agents in Dannok. One is very close to the border crossing on the right as you walk down the main road towards the border.

At the time, there was a crackdown on minivans going from hat yai << >> penang. That may be relaxed now, but my understanding was that Chao Vang / Swiss Travel has been running smoothly the whole time, but they may sometimes use a differ have quite a rent border depending on the time of day. But yes, the cost now is about 450 baht. I actually think the train is a better deal if you can get it, unless the final destination is Hat Yai. The minivans do sometimes sell out quickly, so act fast.

I do not trust random ticket agencies as they often do not have your best interest at heart. Personal recommendations are much better to avoid the hustlers.

In regards to agents in Dannok. Are you referring to taking passengers from dannok to Penang? Or Dannok to Hat Yai? That would be great if there were services going from Dannok to Penang.

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I did a more recent multiple entry non-imm visa at Penang with virtually all the same paperwork.

Yep, the Dannok booths sell tickets for minivans going from Dannok to Penang and also numerous other places.

When you say crackdown are your talking about the window-tinting issue that caused a lot of problems for the coach companies or something else (now relaxed)? Must admit I don't really keep tabs on mininvan issues etc. as most times I drive and I ask only out of interest because none of my chums had a problem over that time with getting vans to/from Hat Yai and in April there were LOADS of them going for Songkran. I also have quite a few people visit from Hat Yai and they always just use the ticket booths either in Nipatuthit 3 or even from the minivan station, never a problem with them.

The minivan station is I'd suggest is best if you're just doing a 'cold call' as there are so many companies operating that you don't normally have to wait too long. Mostly though, to be 100% sure I always tell people to get the ticket the day before they go if they can. I also always recommend Swiss as they have a good operation here in Penang also but I have the numbers of several others. In Dannok you'd probably be best looking to get your ticket around mid-day as a lot of the operators have vans leaving around the 2-4pm period.

Edited by Pick of Penang

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Yep, the Dannok booths sell tickets for minivans going from Dannok to Penang and also numerous other places.

When you say crackdown are your talking about the window-tinting issue that caused a lot of problems for the coach companies or something else (now relaxed)? Must admit I don't really keep tabs on mininvan issues etc. as most times I drive and I ask only out of interest because none of my chums had a problem over that time with getting vans to/from Hat Yai and in April there were LOADS of them going for Songkran. I also have quite a few people visit from Hat Yai and they always just use the ticket booths either in Nipatuthit 3 or even from the minivan station, never a problem with them.

The minivan station is I'd suggest is best if you're just doing a 'cold call' as there are so many companies operating that you don't normally have to wait too long. Mostly though, to be 100% sure I always tell people to get the ticket the day before they go if they can. I also always recommend Swiss as they have a good operation here in Penang also but I have the numbers of several others. In Dannok you'd probably be best looking to get your ticket around mid-day as a lot of the operators have vans leaving around the 2-4pm period.

- I needed more specifics on Dannok (border) to Penang vans. If you have exact locations relative to the border, that would be helpful.

- Crackdown was over some disagreement between Thai and Malay govts over money. It may have stopped now, but at the time many minibus services ceased to run or only ran 1 or 2 times a day max. So that is why I did separate legs from Hat Yai to the Dannok border.

- Minivan station...is this Penang, Dannok, or Hat Yai? What part specifically?

I've heard good things about Swiss/Chao Vang. Next time if I do not take the train, I will try them.

For dannok, what times from Dannok >> Penang? What about Dannok >> Hat Yai? Seemed like going to hat yai there were pretty much whenever one got full they left. At least it was that way Hat Yai >> Dannok when I took the van from near clocktower. I'm sure Dannok >> Penang is more of a schedule.

Thanks for your information.

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The people that I know that use vans use the booth that is in the first main block of outlets on the left as you come through the Thai border from the Malaysian side. It has several trip / tour posters around so you can't miss it really. Can't be more specific than that.

As to times, I can't help much as I drive. Dannok > Hat Yai quite frequent. At least hourly AFAIK. Dannok > Penang less frequent. 4 times per day. Around 8-9, 12, 2 and 4 (ish). Next time I'm there, if I have time, I'll try to get some details of Penang times. It'd take too long to get and list the Hat Yai times.

Minivan station I'm talking about is Hat Yai. Actually there are 3 main locations. Biggest is Hat Yai Nai van station but AFAIK most vans from there go North. Again, I'll drop by if I'm in that part of town and check if they have any Southbound now. The other main one is opposite the railway station at the end of Thanon Thamanoovithee. There are also a few operators near the main coach / bus terminal close to Diana Shopping Centre, but there's more at the railway station. And as I said, closer to town there's lots of ticket sellers in Thanon Nipatuthit 3, walkable from Lee Garden Plaza etc. Folks I know who travel to Penang with the vans either call Swiss, use the Nipatuthit sellers or go to the rail station.

Links from Google Maps seem to get waaaaay to long to post but just search Hat Yai Railway Station and Hat Yai Bus Terminal to see where they are.

Edited by Pick of Penang
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The people that I know that use vans use the booth that is in the first main block of outlets on the left as you come through the Thai border from the Malaysian side. It has several trip / tour posters around so you can't miss it really. Can't be more specific than that.

As to times, I can't help much as I drive. Dannok > Hat Yai quite frequent. At least hourly AFAIK. Dannok > Penang less frequent. 4 times per day. Around 8-9, 12, 2 and 4 (ish). Next time I'm there, if I have time, I'll try to get some details of Penang times. It'd take too long to get and list the Hat Yai times.

......

Thank you sir. This is what I didn't know at the time. That there are Sadao/Dannok border >> Penang minibus terminal right before the border on Thai side (I'm assuming there is a 7-11 nearby). I might have avoid the multi-legged fiasco on the Malay border side to get to Penang. Hindsight is 20/20.

I wonder why there is nothing similar on Malay side. Oh well.

Edited by 4evermaat

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