Applying for a Myanmar visa in Bangkok

Applying for a Myanmar visa in Bangkok is surprisingly straightforward if you know where to go. Here's some tips on making it easy on yourself.

Myanmar tourist visas take two working days to process at the Bangkok Myanmar Embassy and currently cost 810 Thai Baht. You can pay an extra fee of around 300 Baht (I think) and collect your visa the same day provided you arrive to apply for it first thing in the morning. You then pick it up in the afternoon.

The Myanmar Embassy is open for visa applications from 9 am to 12 noon and 1pm to 3pm. The earlier you get there, the better. All you need to do is fill in the Tourist Visa form (A4 size) and the Arrival Form (A5 size), affix a passport sized photo to each form and then queue up on the right hand side to hand in your passport and application forms and pay your visa fee. At the time of writing, the tourist visa forms are currently located on the left hand side of the counter and the business visa forms are located on the right hand side, so make sure you have a tourist visa form. (You can get the forms and full info about what you need for your tourist information at the official Myanmar Embassy Bangkok website).

Filling out the tourist visa form is straightforward. Remember to avoid writing anything controversial under Occupation like "journalist" or "photographer". Keep it as bland as possible. Similarly, write the name of the first hotel you are staying at - or one you have seen in your guidebook - under the space for your Place of Residence during your visit.

Depending on the queue, you can file your forms within an hour or so. The earlier you get there the more chance you have of beating the queue. It is common sense to not leave getting a Myanmar visa to the last minute - give yourself a few days space before you depart for Myanmar in case any problems occur. Remember that the Embassy will be shut on both Myanmar and Thai holiday days - as it was when I applied for my visa - which will delay your visa pickup by one more day.

Collecting the visa is best done in the morning, before 12 noon. The official collection time in the afternoon is from 3pm onwards, NOT from 1pm when the Embassy reopens after lunch. If you arrive at 1pm to collect your visa (as I did), you will be standing around waiting for at least half an hour until the officials finish whatever work they are doing and decide to start handing out completed visas earlier than 3pm.

The Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok is located at 132, Sathorn Nua Rd in Silom. It is very near to Surasak BTS Skytrain station. From Surasak station, go to Exit 3. Walk down onto street level and then turn right when you get to the bottom of the stairs so that you are walking along the pavement underneath the Skytrain station. You will pass the Skytrain's escalator entrance. If you don't, you are walking the wrong way down Sathorn Road!

Continue walking up the busy Sathorn Road for about 200 metres. You will arrive at a forbidding grey looking wall with big spikes on top at the corner of Sathorn Road and Thanon Pan. This is the Myanmar Embassy. Walk a few metres down the side road Thanon Pan and you will find the entrance to the Myanmar Embassy's Visa section. It is a unmarked steel door with no handle.

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