One of the things you have to deal with when living a globe hopping nomadic lifestyle is the issue of visas. When you enter into a country you only have a set amount of time you can stay. As an American, for most countries I enter as a tourist I get 90 days. In Thailand, unless you applied for a longer visa through an embassy before your arrival, you only get 30 days. The only real way you can extend the 30 day visa on arrival is to leave the country and come back. Making a border crossing for the explicit purpose of renewing your visa is called a visa run.
Chinatown is one of the many parts of Singapore I didn't see on Saturday because I never left the airport
I’ve done glorified visa runs before. My trip to Papua New Guinea was really just to renew my Australian visa which was expiring after 3 months in the country. I decided to make a real trip out of it, so it was more than just getting a passport stamp. Likewise, last month I went to Singapore because my Thai visa was running out, but I also spent 10 days there with my college roommate Dave and met with people in Singapore.
Last Saturday I flew to Singapore and back to Bangkok in one day. In fact, I never even left the airport in Singapore. That, my friends, was a real deal, in-out, quickie, good old fashioned visa run. My flight arrived in Singapore around noon and I was checking in for my flight to Bangkok at 4pm. (more…)