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karTER

60 Day Visa Application In Georgetown

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Once a year we stay in Georgetown (Penang), Malaysia, to arrange for our single entry, 60 day tourist visa and once more we are in this delightful town to arrange this.

We always go back to the same travel agent (Banana Travel) who provide us with an excellent service and we popped in yesterday to get things moving. We were aware that the visa remains free of charge until 31st March next year and had all of our documents ready (passport and two photos), plus the fees for the agent. Ah yes, the fee...

Over the past couple of years, they have consistently charged a quite piffling MYR 5 per application (~THB 50/£1) but this time they've upped their prices and are charging a more realistic MYR 30 {~THB 300/£3) per person. Despite the large increase, they have always provided a super service and so we used them once more as we stick with what we know. Particularly as they now offer a same day turnaround if you get to them before 09:00. You can then expect your passport and visa back by 16:00 later in the day.

Having done the deed, we took a stroll through the familiar back streets and noticed how many new places had sprung up since last year, all offering to arrange Thai visas. Out of curiosity we popped into a couple to see what the new guys on the block were charging.

The average was around MYR 20 (~THB 200/£2) but here's the interesting part. Not only do they not guarantee to obtain your visa (they stress that all they can do is submit your application, which is also highlighted in their banners and other ads) but they now suggest that you accompany them to the Thai embassy and hand in your application in person. They will then arrange to collect you later in the day to pick up your visa in person again.

We're aware that any application is never guaranteed of course, but this is the first time we've ever been advised of this "personal application" by an agent and they all seemed less than confident of success. This is odd, given the recent troubles in Bangkok and the country wanting to boost tourism again. Has anyone else had a similar experience or was it business as usual?

By the way, we got our visas punctually and without fuss yesterday as arranged, and are once again looking forward to coming back "home" next week.

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There have been numerous reports of turf wars at that location for some time.

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the new thai consulate from sir lanka is not tourist friendly all the shops in penang are hurting since the long time consulate was transfered this new guy is very tight forget penang till malaysia changes this consulate in penang what a shame!

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the new thai consulate from sir lanka is not tourist friendly all the shops in penang are hurting since the long time consulate was transfered this new guy is very tight forget penang till malaysia changes this consulate in penang what a shame!

Sorry, I'm not sure what you are saying?

There is a Sri Lankan chap issuing Thai visas at the consulate in Penang? How is he tight on applications? Are we talking about back to back/multiple applications?

We've never had a problem here, and in the two years have always received ours promptly and without trouble. This is the third time, by the way- we only apply sparingly and intersperse them with "stamp on arrival 30 day" stays.

And there is definitely competition amongst the agents here, but I was surprised that a number wanted us to accompany them to the Embassy here- why would we need their services if we need to be there in person? We'd just do it ourselves. smile.gif

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Banana guest house has gone bad. :)

They have a inside guy at the consulate that refuses applications from other agents.

DO NOT USE THEM.

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Banana guest house has gone bad. :)

They have a inside guy at the consulate that refuses applications from other agents.

DO NOT USE THEM.

I'm sorry but if they have an "inside guy", surely that is a reason to use them, no?

How will using another agent therefore gain you a visa if he is refusing to issue them from anyone but Banana guest house? huh.gif

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Banana guest house has gone bad. :)

They have a inside guy at the consulate that refuses applications from other agents.

DO NOT USE THEM.

I'm sorry but if they have an "inside guy", surely that is a reason to use them, no?

How will using another agent therefore gain you a visa if he is refusing to issue them from anyone but Banana guest house? huh.gif

OK, if you want to support a corrupt system.

Next time the "Fee" might be 1000 baht.

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Banana guest house has gone bad. :)

They have a inside guy at the consulate that refuses applications from other agents.

DO NOT USE THEM.

I'm sorry but if they have an "inside guy", surely that is a reason to use them, no?

How will using another agent therefore gain you a visa if he is refusing to issue them from anyone but Banana guest house? huh.gif

OK, if you want to support a corrupt system.

Next time the "Fee" might be 1000 baht.

Perhaps you can explain how to get a visa here then? You say not to use Banana and yet state no other agency can obtain them due to their "inside man". What are you suggesting anyone applying for a visa in Georgetown should do then?

Perhaps you'll also kindly offer some proof they have an inside man, or are we relying on a mate up the pub telling you?

As mentioned originally, we've used them for two years and had three successful visa applications with them. On the first two occasions we paid MYR 5 and this time MYR 30. No signs of corruption to me.

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Banana guest house has gone bad. :D

They have a inside guy at the consulate that refuses applications from other agents.

DO NOT USE THEM.

I'm sorry but if they have an "inside guy", surely that is a reason to use them, no?

How will using another agent therefore gain you a visa if he is refusing to issue them from anyone but Banana guest house? huh.gif

OK, if you want to support a corrupt system.

Next time the "Fee" might be 1000 baht.

Perhaps you can explain how to get a visa here then? You say not to use Banana and yet state no other agency can obtain them due to their "inside man". What are you suggesting anyone applying for a visa in Georgetown should do then?

Perhaps you'll also kindly offer some proof they have an inside man, or are we relying on a mate up the pub telling you?

As mentioned originally, we've used them for two years and had three successful visa applications with them. On the first two occasions we paid MYR 5 and this time MYR 30. No signs of corruption to me.

Go to the Embassy yourself. :)

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Perhaps you can explain how to get a visa here then? You say not to use Banana and yet state no other agency can obtain them due to their "inside man". What are you suggesting anyone applying for a visa in Georgetown should do then?

Perhaps you'll also kindly offer some proof they have an inside man, or are we relying on a mate up the pub telling you?

As mentioned originally, we've used them for two years and had three successful visa applications with them. On the first two occasions we paid MYR 5 and this time MYR 30. No signs of corruption to me.

I used Banana Guesthouse twice in 2007. Both times they charged 20 Ringgit for a tourist visa. All the agents charged the same back then.

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Go to the Embassy yourself. :)

I have far better things to do with my time than wasting it on queuing and dealing with bureaucracy unnecessarily. And it would cost me far more in fares to reach the Embassy than to simply walk around to the agent.

I'd still like to see what evidence you have of this allegation, by the way. So far it's just been your unsubstantiated word.

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I'd still like to see what evidence you have of this allegation, by the way. So far it's just been your unsubstantiated word.

I doubt you will. Banana guesthouse have been doing good business for a long while. They are probably favoured agents at the consulate and other agents are getting jealous and spreading vicious rumours.

It is hard to believe that people will run around trying to save 200 baht. It's a great service.

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I'd still like to see what evidence you have of this allegation, by the way. So far it's just been your unsubstantiated word.

I doubt you will. Banana guesthouse have been doing good business for a long while. They are probably favoured agents at the consulate and other agents are getting jealous and spreading vicious rumours.

It is hard to believe that people will run around trying to save 200 baht. It's a great service.

My sentiments entirely.

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Actually there have been a number of reports that only one visa service is currently able to obtain without presence of applicant and below is another as of today.

My link

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Actually, I am the opposite. I will never use Banana as I find them extremely rude and have only had horrible service from them. Not helpful at all.

I use another agent who is fantastic. He also will tell you straight up if he thinks you will get the visa or not. If he feels you will be denyed he will inform you of this before taking your money. All expats I know always use him and avoid Banana.

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Actually there have been a number of reports that only one visa service is currently able to obtain without presence of applicant and below is another as of today.

My link

Is that agent actually Banana? And do these reports offer some kind of tangible evidence they have an inside man? So far all we've heard is someone telling us not to use them or we are aiding and abetting corruption.

I can appreciate not everyone has been as lucky as we have when using them but I can only comment from personal experiences.

Nor do I feel paying MYR 30 is a lot of money, particularly when I can do better things with my time. If I had to choose between saving MYR 10 but taking two trips to the Embassy or having a dip in our swimming pool, taking a leisurely lunch or doing a bit of sight seeing, I know which option I'd pick. :)

Still, it matters not, we have our visa, we've got our return flights already booked and we'll be back in BKK very soon. Life is good.

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Actually, I am the opposite. I will never use Banana as I find them extremely rude and have only had horrible service from them. Not helpful at all.

I use another agent who is fantastic. He also will tell you straight up if he thinks you will get the visa or not. If he feels you will be denyed he will inform you of this before taking your money. All expats I know always use him and avoid Banana.

I've always found them extremely polite.

There is a better way than flying all the way to Penang and asking an agent if you qualify for a visa. E-mail Banana Guesthouse before you leave and ask them how you'll go. They have a very good idea about these things. It could save you a wasted trip.

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MYR 30 in banana could be MYR 100 next year if they succeed to get monopoly. :)

I'm just happy that I have 1 year extensions now.

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MYR 30 in banana could be MYR 100 next year if they succeed to get monopoly. :)

I'm just happy that I have 1 year extensions now.

Do you always look at life with a half-full glass in your hand?

And I'm still awaiting a shred of evidence to support your original claim btw- or was it really just a gadgy up the pub who convinced you of the insider man conspiracy.

Either way, I'm glad you've got your extension now and you don't have to apply for any more visas for a while. That'll be one less worry for you to contend with. :D

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Actually, I am the opposite. I will never use Banana as I find them extremely rude and have only had horrible service from them. Not helpful at all.

I use another agent who is fantastic. He also will tell you straight up if he thinks you will get the visa or not. If he feels you will be denyed he will inform you of this before taking your money. All expats I know always use him and avoid Banana.

I've always found them extremely polite.

There is a better way than flying all the way to Penang and asking an agent if you qualify for a visa. E-mail Banana Guesthouse before you leave and ask them how you'll go. They have a very good idea about these things. It could save you a wasted trip.

Very good point indeed.

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My understanding now is that if you do it yourself, your screwed; if you use an agent, your screwed. depends which way you like to take it. Why not do what smart people do and go to K:L?

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My understanding now is that if you do it yourself, your screwed; if you use an agent, your screwed. depends which way you like to take it. Why not do what smart people do and go to K:L?

How about we like to live in Georgetown a few times a year? It's a great place to visit- unlike KL. For me it's always a disappointment visiting the city, promising so much and delivering very little. What's "smart" about going somewhere you don't like?

May I ask how you reached your understanding? I've clearly stated that I have never had a problem in obtaining my visa here via Banana. For MYR 30 you get a same day service without having to go to the Embassy, that doesn't imply getting screwed to me. smile.gif

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