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My first trip to Patong Immigration Office couldn't have been easier and I successfully received a 30-day extension on the first entry of my tourist visa.

I went in prepared:  I had made the required copies of my passport pages (photo and visa pages, plus the page showing the most recent entry into the Kingdom) and we stopped at a Fuji photo shop on the way so I could get the 2-inch photos made.  I got 12 prints (180 baht) so I wouldn't have to have my picture taken again for a while.  We then drove over the mountain into Patong; the Immigration office is located on the beach road close to the intersection with Bangla Road (next to the Tourist Police station).

I entered the small office where a large desk wraps around the room and a sofa offers seating for those waiting.  When I arrived, there were two officers — one was handling the applications for two men whom I believe were from Turkey or Egypt and the other was sitting in the back with the approval rubber stamp.  One of the Turkish/Egyptian men was yelling at the application officer while the other official was sitting with an angry look on his face.  After a few moments, the two foreigners stormed out of the office with a "Refused" stamp.

I was then beckoned forward.  I put on my biggest smile, approached the desk, and greeted the officer with a wai and a "Sawasdee khap" while handing him my passport.  I was glad I'd dressed nicely in a blue dress shirt, white slacks, and "real" shoes (the previous applicants were in beachwear).  I then politely asked for a visa extension.  The officer apparently didn't speak any English but he understood the reason I was there and simply handed me an application which I filled out while he took my passport over to a nearby copy machine (so I didn't need to make my own copies afterall).

The application was very straightforward:  full name, date and place of birth, date and place of entry into Thailand, method of entry into Thailand (airplane), passport number along with issue and expiry dates and place of issue, type of visa, reason for requesting an extension, and — on the back — address in Thailand and two places to sign.  He returned to the desk just as I got to the "reason for extension" section and waved me away from filling this part; he turned the application over, showed me the place to fill in my Thai address and where to sign.  He then handed the stack of papers and my passport to the approval stamp guy who flipped through my passport and stamped in the date I need to leave Thailand plus signed it.

I then handed the first officer the processing fee (1,900 baht) and he returned my passport.  They were kind to me — since I came in a few days before the initial 60-day visa was due to expire they still gave me an expiration date of July 4 (normally, I would have lost three days of my full visa time).

I think I'll schedule my first "visa run" for Monday, July 3rd.  Tim and I will probably take the "executive big bus" to Ranong and cross into Myanmar for a couple of hours.  That trip costs 1,300 baht per person but includes lunch, snacks, all visa processing fees, the boat crossing from Thailand into Burma, and they show DVD movies during the trip.  You have to meet the bus around 6:30 in the morning and you return around 7:30 in the evening.