Getting a myanmar visa in Bangkok.
16.01.2013 - 16.01.2013 34 °C
Busy day today….. We were up early as we needed to get to the Myanmar embassy to apply for our visa. We decided to go by boat as there are public transport ferries and express boats that go up and down the river and got off at station 1 for 15 baht each. We think it is the nicest way to travel around Bangkok and the pricing and routes are easy to understand and cheap. Plus you get to see the sights by boat on your way.
We walked to the embassy and there was a hug queue so Liam joined it while Chelsea went to get the application form from the front to fill in. At the front inside the building was chaos and there was a lot of people. An American guy was also in the same boat looking for paperwork so we approached together and were given the forms. Chelsea went back to the queue to fill in the forms but just as we were about to start the American guy came over to inform us we had been given the wrong ones, business visa forms so it was another trip back inside for the correct ones. We filled in our paperwork in the queue whilst waiting for it to go down. The form is quite straightforward. You need passport details, personal details such as hair and eye colour and complexion, addresses and two previous work histories. You need to take two photos, one which you must glue onto the form and the other one needs to be paper clipped (they have glue and paperclips at the embassy to use). You also need your passport and a photocopy of your passport. Applications are open only in the morning until 12pm. You queue to be seen by a lady who checks you have all the required paperwork completed, and then she gives you a number card that you queue at the designated window and wait again to be seen to have everything checked over and to pay. It costs 810 baht for the visa to be ready in two working days but you can also pay more for one working day or for the same day (for the same day you also need and airline ticket for proof of entry/exit). We pick up our visa on Friday, pick up times are afternoons only, between 3.30pm-4.30pm and you have to make sure you save the receipt. It took us about an hour in total to get this sorted and then we were hungry and thirsty as we had gone straight there and it was now after 11.30am.
We called at a restaurant and had some food and a sprite and then decided to walk to China town and explore that for the rest of the day. The Myanmar embassy is right at the end of central Bangkok so we had to walk quite a few kilometres at midday. We walked through an area which was full of gold, silver and jewel shops and it even had a mall dedicated to just jewellery and antique shops. We stopped off for a flavoured ice tea which we weren’t that keep on and carried on our way along the busy streets. As we got closer you could see elements of Chinatown appearing in the shops and restaurants and it gradually got busier and busier.
China town in Bangkok is huge! We walked around the streets for a long time. The traffic is relentless and the shops spill out onto the streets. There are market stalls everywhere with umbrellas up so the walkways are small. Smells waft in your face as you past vendors and at one point we breathed in chilli and it burned our eyes and nose. We walked around the streets in awe at the stalls and the amount of people, cars, buses and tuk-tuks. The main streets are massive and full of huge signs and shops advertising shark fin soup, gems, gold and electronics and there are smaller soi’s (lanes) that branch off these where vendors and market stalls set up,
We walked towards Thanon Yaowarat, a big market street and were shocked at the sheer vastness of the market. It went on and on and even when a main road crossed it, it carried on the other side. It started off as a food market where there were lots of weird and wonderful things for sale we have never seen before. Stalls upon stalls selling everything from spices, fish, tea, dried goods, fresh meat, fruit, everything you could possibly imagine and more. It then changed into juice stalls and vendors mixed with people selling handbags, clothes, toys, souvenirs, toiletries, basically everything. We really enjoyed browsing the stalls and shops and are going to venture down one night to see what it is like after dark.
By this point our legs and feet were tired from walking right across town so we headed back. In Thailand and South East Asia in general we have found that similar shops group together. There are often lots of religious material shops together or bridal shops next to each other as well as jewellers and cookware shops. On the way back there was a large cluster of shops selling only weighing scales, shops selling only lawn mowers and shops selling only big industrial safes. There was also a cluster of gun shops with huge rifles and knives displayed in the front windows. We made it as far as the grand palace and then we decided to get our first tuk-tuk the rest of the way. It is a really fun way to travel and it took us back to our guest house for 40 baht.
After some recuperation we went out for the evening. We went to a street vendor for some food, Chelsea had black pepper fish with rice and Liam had Tom Yam, a sort of spicy soup dish and they were both really nice, and as always really cheap. We went to a bar that so far we have seen has the cheapest beer sat and had a few drinks, chatting and drinking. China town is by far the busiest area in Bangkok we have seen so far but is so exciting and vibrant with countless places to eat, shop and drink.