What NOT to do in Thailand.

This picture — from Phuket Index — is only here so the NEXT picture isn’t at the top.
It’s the Thai flag, if you didn’t know.

Don’t get your hopes up. This is not a post about katoey or overindulgence in alcohol. So, move on out if that’s what you’re looking for. (If you’re just crazy in need of some silly Thai stories, here’s one about a Canadian tourist running around a popular shopping center while naked.)

“We smelled alcohol on him, so we took him to Patong Hospital so he could calm down,” a Patong patrol officer said.
No Shit – I said.

Nope, this is a post about PAPERWORK (cue: shudder), and why it’s so crazy important to keep up with it.

And so we shall begin at the beginning:

Back in the fall of 2010, I moved to Thailand. I flew direct from Dallas to Seoul, then Seoul to Phuket. (With the drive from my parents’ house, waiting to board, waiting at customs, and layovers this trip is about 30 hours long. In case you were interested, and I hadn’t mentioned it before.) I had problems sleeping on the first stretch, and ended up crashed the second half. This led me to not finishing the arrival card, not even doing the card. I make it to the immigration desk empty handed.

Here’s a picture from Bao-Bao’s Blog, for reference:

Hardly the most difficult thing ever.

This is a problem. It took a long time to sort out, and no one was happy with me during this time.

So: Don’t forget to fill those out! They are important!


The card I eventually received at the end of the above drama … I lost it. Seriously. I am shit at paperwork. Learn from me.

This card is something you need when you do your work visa filing, and the 90-day check ins (which is required on a one-year work visa). If you don’t have one, you have to go to the police office to report it missing and then take the paperwork from that back to the immigration office to actually get your visa work done.

Luckily, about six months into my stay, I had reason to travel back to the USA for a few weeks. When I returned to Thailand, I made SUPER certain to get that card done properly.


Don’t lose your bank book. Like with arrival and departure cards, you have to go to the police office to file it missing. They will talk to you like you are stupid. They will have a point.


If you’re on a long-term visa and/or if you work for a Thai company, you probably have a Thai bank account. Thus you also have a Thai ATM card.

ATMs, making banks easier to deal with since…whenever ATMs started.

If you lose your ATM card (which I, I’m sure you’re surprised, have done), you will need to take your bank book and your passport to your bank office. There you can cancel the missing card and get a new one.

If you cannot find your bank book … see #3. Prepare to visit the police!

This place!

Today, I lost my ATM card. I had gone to Tesco for simple things (toilet paper, cat food, etc). I hit the ATM. I left my card. This is a very, very stupid thing to do. This is the second time I have done it since moving here.

Knowing all of the above, I was prepared for this. The freak out was kept to a minimum. I go to the bank on-site, and then…

And then…

No bank book.

Now: Cue freak out.

My bank book is one of those things I try and keep on me at all times, like any other monetary thing or form of identification. I, however, bought a new purse a few days ago, and did not — apparently — transfer the bank book to the new purse.

The color matches my bank color scheme, though! This is very important.

I still had two hours before the bank closed, which was plenty of time, but this didn’t stop the anxiety. I went back home (a fifteen-ish minute walk), grabbed the bank book, then it was BACK to Tesco, back to the bank, and doing all that paperwork to cancel my old ATM/Debit card and get a new card issued.

That done, I went back to Tesco proper and bought my groceries.

Yay! All good and fixed!

Moral of the story:

Handle your damn paperwork properly. You’re an adult in a foreign country, act like it.


Remember to sign your 1040 tax form before sending it to the IRS. If you don’t, they will send it back. In an envelope marked “IRS”, which is a surprisingly scary thing to see.

Logos can be scary.

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