Getting a Visa for Thailand in 3 Steps  

Wat Arun Bangkok, Thailand

Wat Arun Bangkok, Thailand

One of the most frustrating things about Thailand, is figuring out the proper visa. Thai law is constantly changing, and half the laws are not even enforced (I’ll get to that later.) One thing you will need regardless of visa type,  is a passport. I am going to be brief here assuming that most have already conquered this step, if so  proceed to step 2.

Step One: Getting a Passport.

passport

For passport requirements check out the US Department of State.Once you have everything in order,make your way to the post office (or other approved provider) to get your documents sent off for processing.

 Step Two: Figuring Out What Visa you need.

Thai Multiple Entry Visa

Thai Multiple Entry Visa

Visa on Arrival 30 Day Stay or Less: If you are from a qualifying country such as the US, you will receive a free 30 day stay in Thailand. If you wish to stay longer, you can exit the country and re-enter. This will give you an additional 30 days. You have a maximum of 3 entries or 90 days within a six month period. Cost Free

Exiting the County: Finding services to exit the country are quite easy. You can take a day trip across the border for less than $40. I crossed the border into Cambodia for only $12! You can find border run services at any bus station, or travel agency office. Be sure to shop around as prices can vary greatly, even within shops on the same street. Many hotels and hostels can arrange this service for you as well.

Tourist Visa 60 days or less: A tourist visa will allow you to stay in Thailand for up to 60 days without exiting the country.  Cost $40

Double Entry Visa 120 days or less: The advantage of the double entry visa is you are allowed to stay 60 days at a time. Once your 60 days is up you can exit the country, and re-enter for another 60 days. Cost $80

*As of this posting the triple entry visa is no longer available

Education Visa Up to 1 Year: To get an education visa you must apply to a school approved by the Thai Ministry of Education, and receive an acceptance letter.  Once you receive your letter, you can then apply for a 90 day visa which can be extended for  a year. Master Toddys in Bangkok, is one of the only Muay Thai schools approved by the Thai Ministry of education. For $600 and a 3 month commitment to his school he can easily get you a year visa, but this is not the only option.

Your alternative is to apply outside Thailand, as regulations are often loosely enforced internationally. For example, many Thai visa officers in the US will except a printed letter from any school/gym as long as you have paid the $80 fee.  This is up to the discretion of the visa officer, so you run the chance of being denied. I have met many expats training Muay Thai who have obtained a visa in this manner. If you are willing to take a gamble you can save yourself a decent amount of cash. Your final option is to apply to a Thai Language school, many language schools only require a weekly commitment of one class.   Cost $80 to $600

 Step Three: Mailing off Your Visa

 Unless you live near a Thai Embassy, you will need to mail off your visa for processing. I sent mine off to the the Thai Consulate in LA, but you can also send it to the Embassy in Washington.

What you will need:

*If you are a US citizen you do not need to show proof of arrival or departure. You can purchase your airline ticket after your visa arrives.

Priority Mail

Since you will want your passport back, you will need to send a return envelope with proper postage along with all your documents. You should use a priority service, and be sure to obtain a tracking number.

*Not including mailing time, it takes about two weeks for processing.

For more information Visit the Thai Consulate Website.

Any Questions Feel Free To Ask! 

Fighting on a Budget: Dirt Cheap Apartments Thailand

Living and training in Thailand can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. MMA and Muay Thai gyms are popping up all over, with their  main clientele being tourists. And where there are tourist, there are tourist prices.
The gym membership alone is pricey unless you have a sponsorship, so saving on accommodation is a must if you are on a tight budget like me. I found you can save hundreds by finding accommodation offsite of the gym. You can easily find weekly and monthly rooms within walking distance of most places.
For example, let’s take a look at Team Quest in Chiang Mai. For a single room onsite, it is 7,000 baht a month (aprox: $215). Great deal right? Well….not exactly. Thais in that area do not pay that much for accommodation, and neither should you.
DD Apartment

DD Apartments

Just a ten minute walk up the road  you will find the DD apartments, a monthly room will run you about 2,500 baht or $80 a month.  That is less than half the cost of an onsite room! Apartments like this can be found next to most gyms in Thailand.
So how do you go about finding these apartments? I found it best just to walk the area of the gym in which you wish to train, and ask a few places. I prefer doing this over finding a room online. The reason being is doing an online search will only bring up the apartments with English websites, and the top results in google also tend to be the most expensive. Also beware of gyms advertising offsite rooms they are over priced ,and the gym typically gets a kickback for the referral.
Check out the video of the two rooms I stayed at while training at Jit Muang Nun Gym in Bangkok. One is $60 a month, and the other is $140!

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Thailand MMA and Muay Thai Training Scholarships

Thailand is the Mecca for kickboxing, but to get exceptional training expect to pay exceptionally high prices. Training is easily 10,000 baht or $300 a month on average. Larger discounts are given for longer stays, but are minimal. This seems unreasonable when considering the low cost of living in Thailand. For example, I pay roughly $80 a month for an apartment in Chaing Mai, and I eat out almost every meal for less than $6 a day. I could probably live a pretty boring, but livable life on $400 a month. After doing a bit of research and talking to some gym owners, I found a few places that offer scholarships for Muay Thai and MMA fighters. Here are the three that I found, I will update as I find more.

Team Quest Thailand

Located in Chaing Mai in the north of Thailand, TQ is the only MMA gym in town. The gym has held scholarship opportunities for the last few years in the summer months.They  are currently looking to sponsor amateur and pro fighters. The scholarship includes accommodation and training, but you are expected to pay for your flight, and all other expenses.

For more details and to apply visit: http://tqmmathailand.com/mma-sponsorship-thailand/

Tiger Muay Thai

Located on the island of Phuket, Tiger Muay Thai is Thailands most famous MMA gym and  also the most expensive. An all inclusive training package at Tiger will run you almost $400 . Needless to say a scholarship would be nice. Tiger holds yearly tryouts that are documented via youtube. This year they handed out 7 scholarships, which cover a fighters accommodation and training for a year. The fighter is expected to foot the bill for all else, including the trip to the tryouts.

To find out when the next tryout is follow them on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tiger-Muay-Thai-MMA-Training-Camp-Phuket-Thailand/87650205356

Sumalee Boxing Gym

Sumalee is a strictly thai boxing gym located in Phuket. This scholarship is for young  fighters between the ages 18 and 22. This opportunity is for a 2 month stay and includes discounted food, free accommodation, and training. The fighter is expected to pay for airfare. They are currently taking applicantions for 2015.

For more details and to apply visit:

http://www.sumaleeboxinggym.com/scholarship/

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