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I’m not sure why I decided to come to KL for a whole week. Part of me was paranoid about getting my Thai visa. It was indeed a very nerve-wracking two days waiting for my visa, unsure if I’d be accepted or not.

I did my research beforehand, but of course some of it was out of date. I got to the embassy looking like the picture they had a big X through. Thailand was saying NO to scruffy backpackers. The next thing I knew I was at the counter, and the lady asked for a printout of my flight itinerary. I don’t understand why embassies require you to book the flight before the visa. Surely it’s better to know you have permission to enter the country before spending money on a flight?

I didn’t have a print out of my flight, because nowhere in my research had I seen that you needed this. I was told to leave the embassy and get my printout. I left, asked where I might find a printer, and threw myself on the mercy of a travel agent attached to a nearby hotel. Luckily they were really nice, helped me print out the itinerary and didn’t even charge me for it.

I re-entered the embassy and was asked up again. After submitting the printout, I was asked to wait for 20 minutes, before they asked me to come and pay the $50 fee. This fee does not ensure your visa, all it does is get the embassy to consider your application. If it’s denied, you don’t get a refund. Also, the fee had increased recently and the information online of out of date. Luckily I had brought extra money with me.

That evening and the next day I was convinced that they would reject my application, even though many people assured me I’d be fine. On pickup day, I spent the entire trip back to the embassy coming up with alternative plans and telling myself not to cry if I didn’t get it. I get emotional about things that I can’t control that are unfair.

Needless to say upon receiving my visa I was ridiculously relieved. I wanted to celebrate with someone, but I was here, alone at the hostel. Of course, I’m not actually alone. I’m surrounded by fit, young, tanned, mostly blond, occasionally tattooed backpackers who all seem to be travelling in their own groups already. It’s going to take time to get used to solo travel again. At least the hostel has cheap cocktails!

P.S: I tweeted Travelfish so they could update their info about getting the Thai visa in KL, to help future travellers avoid the same pitfalls.

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