Saturday, October 24, 2009

Far but awesome new Thai Immigration Office

The tomo (Thai term for immigration office) has  moved to its new location at the Government Complex on Soi 7, Chaeng Wattana, Nonthaburi Province on September 28, 2009. It opens 8:30-4:30 Mondays through Fridays and lunch break is from 12:00-1:00 PM.
Many  "farangs" (foreigners)  have aired out their complaints about the distance and the travel cost involved in getting there from the capital, Bangkok where most expats and tourists stay. The worst thing is, there is no other mode of transportation except taxi as there are no buses that go there. From the main road, it is still a few kilometers away. So if you process your visa, re-entry or 90 days reporting there, you need to have your own ride or to hire a taxi to wait as there are just a few in there. I got there today (for over an hour with all the traffic jams) through our university's pick-up for my re-entry permit.
The processing took about 1.5 hours as there was a lunch break. Unlike at the old office where there was no lunch break probably because it was too crowded so you could get a re-entry for only 30 minutes because they didn't want to keep people longer. I experienced sweating out in the fully-airconditioned old immigration office in Bangkok located on Suan Phlu. It was sooooo crowded then that the transfer was really necessary.
So while waiting for my passport to be stamped with my re-entry, we looked for a place to eat our lunch and there my negative feeling of this rather far immigration office got replaced with excitement. The sight itself of the vast magnificent building awed me with all its TIT's (This is Thailand) uniqueness especially at the various shops on the basement.
Even if I was in a hurry to get back to my office, I could not stop myself from wandering, wondering and taking photos around. The place is really awesome.   It's more than just a government complex. It's also a shopping mall and a great place to hang out. It has everything you need - clothes, food, coffee shops, souvenirs even organic products and fruits and all kinds of banks with extraordinary services. So while waiting for your queue, you can go to the basement to have a cup of coffee or cappuccino, to shop some goodies for yourself or even to pay your bills at any of the bank of your choice or at 7-11 counter.


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