Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ten minutes in Burma

Thailand gives a thirty day tourist visa free of charge to U.S. citizens upon arrival in the country. This allotted amount of time has always been enough for me in the past. However, when two and a half weeks of classes and a week of conference is tacked on, any sort of traveling after conference means I'm over the limit. There are several options for solving this predicament. One option is to pay 500 baht (30 baht to 1 USD) per day over the limit upon exit. Rather pricey, I think I'll pass. Another option is to go to the consulate, fill out a form asking for an extension, and pay 1,500 baht. Once again, pricey. Option three is to make a border run--travel across the border into Burma and then come back into Thailand, receiving a new visa. This option seemed to be the cheapest and offered the added bonus of seeing a new country. However, with all costs included the trip ended up only being about 500 baht less. In addition, the trip involved nine hours in a van speeding around curvy, hilly roads. Such a route was less traumatic for the adults drugged up on Dramamine; however, some of the kids' breakfasts...and then lunches...came back up. Oh yes, good times. But, I made it to Burma (for about 5 minutes, enough time for a new stamp in the passport and a picture) and now have my renewed visa. Conference begins Wednesday; I'm looking forward to seeing everyone. Currently, China is getting hammered with winter storms, which makes the warm temperatures here seem that much nicer. It's going to be a rough transition back to long underwear.


Amy said...

Let me get this straight: they wanted to charge you US$15,000 a day to stay in the country??

Please tell me I'm reading this wrong.

Katherine said...

Whoops! I wrote that conversion wrong. :) It's 30 baht to 1 USD...that would be absolutely ridiculous!

Amy said...

Oh, good! That's more like US$17 a day. It still would add up quickly, though.