A visit to Immigration at Government Center Building B, Chaengwattana Road.
See Video of Immigration Office in Bangkok at bottom of this page.
Immigration Offices in Bangkok have moved from Suan Phlu to the Northern part of the city in 2009.
The offices are located at :
Government Center Chaeng Wattana Building B, Nr. 120
Moo 3, ChaengWattana Road Soi 7,
Tung Song Hong Subdistrict
Laksi, Bangkok 10210
The 'new' location (since 2009) is off the major Chaengwattana Road. We reached it by taking a taxi from the Moo Chit skytrain station. From there is is somewhat more than 10 kilometers by the major Rangsit-Vibvavadi road. Everybody who has been a while in Bangkok will know that road as the one leading to the old airport. Government Center Building B is located amongst a spread out cluster of government buildings, about 1 kilometer from the main road. There is a shuttle bus that seems to drive to most buildings in the large compound and likely to Chaeng Wattana Road itself (we did not try it). All the buildings around seem to be brand new, though the development of this area has not widely been talked about in the Thai media.
Government Center Building B, at Chaeng Wattana Road Soi 7
Building B is really huge rectangular building (there is a building A close to the main Chaeng Wattana road of similar appearance and size). Once inside the building it is revealed that most of the wide space is occupied by an empty central atrium (all roofed), about the size of two soccer fields. All around are various government offices and related services 5-6 floors high. The building inside is rather functional and mostly undecorated.
The immigration offices themselves are more spacious than at the old location at Suan Phlu. There is an information desk at the entrance, where you are given the appropriate forms to fill out. A little bit further is the location where you can get your 'queue' number. Opening hours are from 8.30 A.M. till 4.30 P.M. However the last queue numbers (and you need them) are given before 3.30 P.M.
A walk around the immigration shows that business is not conducted anymore in one wide open space. Immigration officers are located in separate cubicles. You may experience a lunch break of the staff between 12.00 A.M. and 1.00 P.M.
In the basement of the building there are a number of banks, convenience stores, a food court, and a few shops where you can have your copies made and passport photos taken. As anybody knows, whatever work you do at home to prepare yourself, it will almost always be necessary to take yet another copy of some of your passport pages or other documents. After the few years of operation, the huge Building B seems now completely functional, as can also be judget by the number of cars parked all over the area. The covered many parking slots do not seem to suffice anymore.
In conclusion, it is not very difficult to get to the new immigration offices, but we still find it a rather uncomfortable place to reach.
Update after some more visits :
How to get to Immigration?
There are quite a few steps and time needs to be spent.
Reach either Chatuchak MRT station (most convenient) or Moo Chit skytrain station.
At Chatuchak MRT station take the exit Chatuchak Park. On the main road, you will notice a taxi queue, and a smaller queue of minivans. Most of the minivans go to Minburi, which seems to be a very popular destination. Usually within a few minutes you will see a minivan parked, or arriving, with Paak Kret destination. Signs on the minivans are in Thai only.
The minivans going to Paak Kret turn into Chaeng Wattana road and pass the Government Complex. Tell the driver you want to exit at Government Complex. Fare is 25 baht. Traffic to Immigration is usually reasonable.
When in front of the Immigration compound, you have 3 choices. Take a motorcycle taxi (good luck), walk the distance to Building B (about 1.5 km), or flag down a taxi from the main road, and direct it inside the compount (that is what we do all the time).
There is a security check when entering the building, which include X-ray of any bags, and a picture of your face (!).
Going back home :
We often walk the distance. Motorcycle taxis are not always visible when exiting the building. Taxis will often, if not always, refuse to take you the short distance. They seem to prefer to take you all the way home. If you exit around the time when most offices close, you can enter the staff queue that wait for the shuttle buses that take passengers to main Chaengwattana Road. Not sure if this is allowed for 'customers', but nobody ever turned us down we do this.
On Chaengwattana wait for passing minivans (cross the road first by the passenger bridge closeby) taking you to Chatuchak. You may have to wait awhile, and the traffic back in the later afternoon can be busy (the same would apply if you take a taxi home).
Some small advice :
Fill out whatever forms need to be filled out. Proceed and get a queue ticket. Check on the ticket how many people are there before you. If let's say more than 40, you have ample time to exit the area again and go down the escalator to have a coffee or have a snack. Visit the GPO pharmacy, which has cheaper stuff (vitamins, plasters, etc.) for sale, than you will find in most pharmacies around Bangkok. Get a bottle of water at 7-Eleven, you may need it. You can also use this time to take copies of we think all the pages in your passport, do not forget to copy your entrance slip, attached in your passport. After about 30 or 40 minutes, go back to Immigration proper. You likely still will have to wait awhile. Always be polite, do not come in beach clothing to the area, it always helps. Service has improved the last few years, likely because most of the immigration officers working are female.
Note : The photo and map have been borrowed from the Immigration Bureau website.