I spoke to my friend Chris yesterday. We had spoke about spending some time in Phuket before heading of to Koh Samui but Chris was unable to get a flight down to Phuket so we decided to just meet in Samui.
Before I came to Thailand I visited the Thai Consulate in Glasgow to get a 60 day visa. The default number of days a British person gets arriving in Thailand by air is 30 days so the tourist visa saved me a lot of hassle. I wanted to stay for 90 days but unfortunately that isn't possible. However, what you can do is get a 60 day visa and then extend it by 30 days when you get to Thailand.
There is no immigration office in Koh Samui but there is one just 20km from Rawai in Phulet town. Without extending it, my visa would expire 6th March so I didn't want to go over to Samui and then have to head back to Phuket or up to Bangkok to extend it. Therefore this morning I drove my moped up to Phuket Town to find the immigration office.
Equipped with the an incredibly poor tourist map which had very little info except a red dot showing where the office was, I headed off at 9.30am this morning. I don't know how I managed it but I somehow managed to find the office after only a few wrong turns. I was just lucky with the route I took as I happend to drive pass a monument called Mineral Monument, one of the only things which was on the map.
I wanted to get there early incase I had to wait around a long time. Thankfully, extending my visa wasn't too bad. Once I got there I had to complete a form with my details, get a picture taken downstairs and then get my passport photocopied.
After getting my passport photos I went back upstairs and took a ticket from the machine. At this point I feared I would be sitting there all day. Holding in my hand a ticket with the number 668 on it I looked up at the machine and saw the next 3 people to be called were 001, 002 and 003 (perhaps that's what purgatory is supposed to be like).
I quickly realised that the staff were not updating the machine and I was seen shortly afterwards. After paying 1,900 baht for my vsa and 150 baht for my photos etc (about 40 UK pounds total), I had my visa. Even better, it only took about 45 minutes. A friend of mine, Bob, had to travel to Burma (Myanmar) today on a 10+ hour journey just to extend his visa by 15 days so it really has saved me a lot of hassle.
So I now fly to Koh Samui on Friday afternoon. I arrive at 14.40 but I'm going to wait around at the airport as my friend Chris arrives at 15.45. I'm not sure if we will get a place with wi-fi but I'll try to keep updating this blog as and when I can :)