Thai Visa Runs to Taiwan: The Road Less Traveled
If you want to stay in Thailand for an extended period of time then at some point you’re going to have to hop the border to get yourself a new visa. Some travelers hate doing this but why make it a chore? If you’re going to have to leave the country then you may as well visit somewhere interesting while you’re doing it. Yes, you can do the typical Thai visa run to Malaysia or Cambodia with the rest of the crowds, but how about going somewhere a bit different? Introducing Thai visa runs to Taiwan!
Taipei is the capital of Taiwan, an island to the north east of Hong Kong in the South China Sea. While ethnically mostly Chinese, it’s actually a melting pot of cultures and features Japanese colonial shopping lanes, western-style Malls and office complexes and a ton of great restaurants.
It’s also home to the Taipei 101 skyscraper, the second tallest building in the world after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai so you can get some great tourism done while you’re here!
But there’s no Thai embassy…
A quick search on Google might give you a bit of cause for concern, because no, there’s no Thai embassy in Taipei. Don’t panic though – you can still get a Thai visa! The Trade and Economic Office has the power to issue visas but keeps quite quiet about it, so you won’t find the long queues here that you will in other places.
Instead, your trip to a pretty standard tower block will be a breeze compared to elbowing the 900 other digital nomads with guitars out of the way in Penang or Vientiane!
Getting Your Thai Tourist Visa in Taipei
The Trade and Economic Office is on the 12th floor of office building 10491 on Songjiang road in the center of town. The opening hours for application submission and visa collection are 09:00 – 12:00, Monday to Friday. Take the lift up to their reception desk and present your documentation; you’ll be given a number and entered into a queueing system.
Watch out for your number being called on the electronic board, and when it’s your turn then hand over your documentation in a side room. That’s it! You’re free to go. The whole hand-in process should take less than an hour!
The official line is that your visa may take 3 days to process, but in reality it may be quicker. It doesn’t matter though, because there’s so much to see and do in Taipei that you won’t mind spending the time!
To collect your visa, just head back to the office and grab another number to get you a spot in the queue. It should only be a matter of minutes before you’re once again the holder of a lovely, long Thai visa!
Things to do in Taipei on Your Visa Run
Taipei is an exciting city for a visit. In no particular order you can visit the National Palace Museum, check out the views from Taipei 101, go shopping on Chinese Dihua Street, be wowed at the Bao’an Temple and stretch your legs in the stunning Yangmingshan national park just outside the city.
The food scene is great so check out the fusion restaurants that blend traditional Chinese cookery with modern techniques, and grab a few drinks at Pipe, an underground club that hosts trance parties that sometimes go on for days… Just don’t miss your flight back to Thailand!
What to Take on Thai Visa Runs to Taiwan
As with all visa applications there are rules and regulations to adhere to, so make sure you’ve got all of the following with you:
- Passport with at least 6 months validity and one free page for the visa
- A printed copy of your bank statement to show you have funds to support yourself
- A printed copy of your flight back into Thailand
- A printed copy of your flights out of Thailand within the period of the visa (60 days)
- Passport photo
- The visa fee for your country in cash
How to Get to Taipei from Thailand
A return trip to Taipei from Bangkok costs anything from $120 to $300 US, depending on whether there are deals on at the time. Check all the budget airlines like AirAsia, Lion Air and NokScoot to see if you can bag a cheap ticket, and if you’re traveling from elsewhere in Thailand then check if it’s cheaper for you to head to Bangkok first before flying out. We recommend just hopping on SkyScanner for a quick comparison, revealing the cheapest and fastest flights.
Taipei might not be the closest or the cheapest Thai visa run location, but it sure as hell is a great shout for a weekend away. Pack the guidebook and turn your administrative chore into a great holiday!