We had a few days in Manila after our Palawan adventure and since our next stop was Thailand our main goal was to get Thailand visas.
Citizens of the United States (and several other countries) can enter Thailand without a visa, but we planned to stay longer than the 30 day visa exemption. By getting the visas ahead of time we wouldn’t have to leave the country, or deal with extensions or border runs, for 60 days after entering Thailand.
There’s a Royal Thai Embassy in the Makati City section of Manila, so a stop there was at the top of our list.
How to Get To the Royal Thai Embassy in Manila
The Royal Thai Embassy in Manila is located on Rada Street (also known as Thailand Street) in Legaspi Village, which is part of Makati City. Here’s a map.
I took a taxi to get there and back from our hotel near Rizal Park in Ermita. I actually went twice (once to drop off paperwork and once to pickup the visas) and both times the driver had no idea where the Royal Thai Embassy was. The drivers were familiar with Legaspi Village though, and Dela Rosa Street, which is the larger cross street that Rada intersects.
Three out of my four cab rides to or from the Embassy were pretty easy. The drive takes about 20-25 minutes from Ermita if traffic isn’t too bad, but upwards of an hour if there’s gridlock. Traffic in Manila was more often heavy than not, so plan on an hour especially if you’re cutting it close with the Embassy’s hours of operation (see below). The fare was about 150-180 pesos ($4) each way between Ermita and the Royal Thai Embassy in Makati.
The one trip that was “eventful” consisted of my cab driver getting pulled over for making an illegal turn, then getting cited by the police for driving without a license! Needless to say I got out of the cab at that point and hailed another. But not before snapping a picture…
What You Need to Bring
Bringing the proper documentation is critical to a smooth Thailand visa application process. The Royal Thai Embassy website doesn’t include much detail about what to bring.
Fortunately, there is a great list of required documents in this post about applying for a Thai visa in Manila on the Big Little Planet blog. We followed their advice and had minimal issues.
One thing to add if you are traveling with children: copies of birth certificates for the kids. We also needed to provide a copy of our marriage certificate.
Double check that you have everything in order before you leave for the Embassy. The staff are professional but I didn’t get much sympathy when I ran into a couple of snags.
For example, we had printed the required two passport pictures next to each other on one sheet of paper. The Embassy official informed me that the pictures must be separated. When I asked if I could borrow a pair of scissors his answer was simply “no, we do not have scissors.” After watching me struggle for a minute or so trying to tear the pictures on the edge of the desk he produced a pair of scissors for me to use.
I also did not have hard copies of our marriage certificate or the kids’ birth certificates with me and the Embassy would not process our applications without them (despite both kids having their own passports).
Luckily I had electronic copies accessible from my smartphone so I could email them to a print shop down the street to make the required copies (turn right out of the Embassy and walk about 5 minutes to Mackim Prints, Inc. on the same side of the street as the Embassy). In contrast, in a similar situation at the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco the officials allowed me to email the documents directly to them.
We did not need to show any proof of onward travel to get our visas at the Royal Thai Embassy in Manila. This is probably variable, but in our case a simple explanation that we planned to leave before the visa expired was enough.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Visa?
The Royal Thai Embassy accepts applications for visas from 9:30 a.m. until 12:00 noon Monday through Friday, and releases the visas between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. 2 working days later.
What does it cost?
Our 60 day single entry visas cost 1,450 pesos (about $32) each.
Ready for Thailand
For us arranging our Thailand visas in Manila worked out really well.
The process was not too difficult once we knew what documentation to bring, though it did take a decent chunk of time out of two days. The time commitment would be less if we had been staying closer to the Royal Thai Embassy.
With our Thailand visas in order we were ready to depart, but we took advantage of our time in Manila to explore a lot more of the city and take care of a few other errands. The next few posts will include tracking down a camera repair shop in a sketchy neighborhood and “rebonding” Kat’s hair!
Visiting Manila? Find a great place to stay on Agoda.