Thailand extends visa-on-arrival fee waiver for these nations

Travelers from certain countries won’t have to pay US$63 on arrival in Thailand until April. Source: Shutterstock.

THE Royal Thai Government has approved the extension of the visa-on-arrival fee waiver for citizens of 20 countries, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

The waiver will be in effect until April 30, 2019.

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the continuation of the stimulus visa-on-arrival measure came at a perfect time as Thailand is set to celebrate Chinese New Year in February and the Songkran festival (Thai New Year) in April.

Chinese New Year brings one of the most exhilarating celebrations in Thailand, where celebrations are massive. In Thailand, Chinese New Year is a public holiday in Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and Satun provinces.

This year, the Chinese New Year (Feb 5, 2019) will mark the 15th anniversary of cooperation between TAT, the Chinese Ministry of Culture, and the Chinese Embassy in organizing the annual festivities in Thailand.

“This year, the Chinese New Year official opening ceremony will be held at Siam Square, one of the most popular shopping areas in Bangkok. We aim to attract more of the younger generation to enjoy the traditional performances,” Yuthasak said.

Here are some events you can look forward to:

Chinese New Year

Every year, Thailand welcomes over 100 traditional Chinese dancers, musicians, opera performers, martial artists, and acrobats from China as part of a cultural exchange.

The opening ceremony, typically held at Bangkok’s Chinatown (Yaowarat) will see the entire area turning red from beginning to end, dotted with street fanfares and cultural festivities such as dragon parades, acrobatic dances, and firecrackers.

Source: Shutterstock.

Performances will also be held in key cities around Thailand and in return, TAT organizes education tours of Thailand for the performers.

Songkran Festival

Did you know that Thailand has its very own version of the new year?

A national holiday which typically falls on April 13 to April 15 annually, the Songkran festival (which means “shift” or “movement” in Sanskrit) sees more than half a million tourists flocking to Thailand for three days of water fights and non-stop revelries.

Source: Shutterstock.

Families, friends, locals, and tourists alike celebrate by visiting temples, sprinkling water on Buddha images, and tossing bucketloads on each other with good blessings as an act of wishing good luck.

This year, TAT will continue its strategy to promote Thai traditions and cultural values, the core part of almost all traditional events and festivals in Thailand.

“As usual, TAT will provide support to the organizing of Songkran celebrations in various destinations throughout the kingdom,” Yuthasak said.

The list of countries eligible for the visa-on-arrival fee waiver until April 30, 2019, are:

Travelers from Andora, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China including Taiwan, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan will be exempted from the THB2,000 (US$63) visa-on-arrival fee for the purpose of touring in Thailand for not more than 15 days.