Thailand visa requirements  |  South Africa

"Visumvereistes vir Thailand vir Suid-Afrikaanse burgers."

Updated 14 days ago at Sat, Jun 01, 2024
Visas  |  Requirements  |  Demographics  |  Crime  |  Food  |  Culture  |  Fundamentals  |  Relationships  |  Visa Extension


  Visa Duration

60 Day Visa Exemption is available for South African citizens

30 days Extension

15 Day Visa on Arrival is NOT available for South African citizens

15 days
no Extension

Tourist Visa is Available for South Africa

60 days
30 days Extension

Destination Thailand Visa is Available for South Africa

6 months
6 months Extension

Retirement Visa is Available for South Africa

1 year
1 year Extension

Retirement Visa 10 Year is Available for South Africa

5 year
5 year Extension

Education Visa is Available for South Africa

varied Extension

Business/Work Visa is Available for South Africa

1 year
1 year Extension

Marriage Visa is Available for South Africa

1 year
1 year Extension

Family Visa is Available for South Africa

3 Months - 1 Year
varied Extension

Privilege/Elite Visa is Available for South Africa

5/10/20 years
varied Extension

LTR Visa is Available for South Africa

5 years
5 years Extension



Population and Size of Country

Thailand has a population of approximately 70 million people and covers an area of about 513,120 square kilometers. In contrast, South Africa has a population of around 60 million people and spans an area of roughly 1,221,037 square kilometers, making it more than twice the size of Thailand in terms of land area.


Thailand is predominantly ethnically homogeneous, with about 95% of the population being ethnic Thais. Other ethnic groups include Chinese, Malays, and various hill tribes. South Africa, on the other hand, is ethnically diverse. The major ethnic groups include Black Africans (about 80%), Whites (8%), Coloureds (mixed race, 9%), and Indians/Asians (3%).


In Thailand, Buddhism is the dominant religion, practiced by approximately 94% of the population. Islam is the second most common religion, mainly among the Malay ethnic group in the southern provinces. South Africa is predominantly Christian, with about 80% of the population adhering to various Christian denominations. Other religions include Islam, Hinduism, and traditional African religions.


Thailand has a GDP of around $543 billion USD, with a per capita GDP of approximately $7,800 USD. South Africa’s GDP is about $350 billion USD, with a per capita GDP of around $5,800 USD. Despite Thailand having a higher total GDP and per capita GDP, both countries face significant economic disparities within their populations.

Population Age Brackets

Thailand has an aging population with about 11% of its population aged 65 and older. Approximately 17% are aged between 0-14 years, and the majority are in the working-age bracket of 15-64 years. South Africa has a younger demographic profile: about 29% are aged between 0-14 years, around 64% are in the working-age bracket (15-64 years), and only about 7% are aged 65 and older.

Men vs Women

In Thailand, the gender ratio is relatively balanced with a slight female majority; there are approximately 97 men for every 100 women. In South Africa, the gender ratio is also nearly balanced but slightly favors women as well, with around 96 men for every 100 women.

Source of Popular Types of Income

Thailand’s economy relies heavily on tourism, manufacturing (particularly automotive and electronics), and agriculture (including rice, rubber, and seafood). South Africa’s economy is more diversified but is significantly driven by mining (gold, diamonds, and platinum), manufacturing, and services. Tourism also plays a crucial role in South Africa’s economy but to a lesser extent compared to Thailand.


Violent Crime

Thailand generally has a lower rate of violent crime compared to South Africa. Incidents involving tourists are relatively rare, but it’s wise to exercise caution, especially in less populated areas or during late hours. Police presence in tourist areas is relatively strong, contributing to a sense of safety.

Casual Crime

Petty crimes such as pickpocketing and bag snatching are more common in crowded places like markets, public transportation, and tourist attractions. Travelers should be vigilant with their belongings and avoid displaying valuable items openly.

Crimes of Passion

Crimes of passion, often related to personal relationships, do occur but are typically not directed at tourists. These incidents are usually isolated and involve locals. Visitors are unlikely to encounter this type of crime unless they become personally involved in local disputes.

Safety for Solo Women Travelers

Thailand is considered relatively safe for solo women travelers. However, it’s advisable to take standard precautions such as avoiding poorly lit areas at night, not accepting drinks from strangers, and dressing modestly in more conservative regions. Many solo female travelers report positive experiences in Thailand.

Walking Around at Night

Walking around at night is generally safe in most tourist areas like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket. However, it’s best to stick to well-lit and populated areas. Avoid walking alone in isolated or unfamiliar neighborhoods after dark.


Scams targeting tourists are common in Thailand. These can include inflated taxi fares, gem scams, and misleading tour packages. Always use reputable service providers, agree on prices beforehand, and be cautious of overly friendly strangers offering unsolicited help or deals that seem too good to be true.


South African travelers to Thailand will find some intriguing similarities between the two countries’ cuisines, particularly in the use of fresh ingredients, vibrant spices, and a love for street food culture. Both cuisines emphasize bold flavors and a mix of textures, making the culinary experience rich and diverse.

In Thailand, travelers can explore a variety of dishes that may remind them of home. For instance, the use of chili peppers and garlic in Thai cuisine is similar to the spicy dishes found in South Africa. Just as South African cuisine features peri-peri chicken, Thai cuisine offers Gai Yang (grilled chicken), which is marinated in a mix of garlic, coriander, and pepper before being grilled to perfection.

Seafood lovers will appreciate Thai dishes such as Tom Yum Goong (spicy shrimp soup) and Pla Pao (grilled fish), which are somewhat akin to South African seafood dishes like snoek braai and peri-peri prawns. The fresh herbs and spices used in these dishes create a flavor profile that is both familiar and exotic.

For those who enjoy hearty stews, Massaman Curry could be a delightful discovery. This rich and slightly sweet curry, often made with beef or chicken, includes ingredients like potatoes and peanuts, drawing parallels to South African stews that combine meat and root vegetables.

Street food is a significant part of both cultures. In Thailand, travelers should not miss out on trying Pad Thai (stir-fried noodles), Som Tum (green papaya salad), and Satay (grilled skewers), which are readily available from street vendors. These dishes are comparable to South African street foods like boerewors rolls and bunny chow in their accessibility and popularity.

Additionally, the tropical fruits in Thailand, such as mangoes, pineapples, and coconuts, are similar to those found in South Africa. A refreshing treat to try is Mango Sticky Rice, a dessert made with sweet sticky rice, ripe mangoes, and coconut milk.

Overall, while there are unique elements in both cuisines that make them distinct, the shared emphasis on fresh ingredients, bold flavors, and street food culture will make South African travelers feel both at home and excited to explore new culinary landscapes in Thailand.


Cultural Differences and Making Friends

In Thailand, social interactions are often more formal and hierarchical compared to South Africa. Thais value respect and politeness, especially towards elders and those in higher social positions. When meeting someone, a traditional Thai greeting called the “wai” is often used. This involves placing your palms together in a prayer-like gesture and bowing slightly. The higher the hands and the deeper the bow, the more respect is conveyed. Smiling is also very important in Thai culture and is used to show friendliness, politeness, and to diffuse tension.

Do’s and Don’ts


  • Remove your shoes before entering someone’s home or a temple.
  • Dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites. Shoulders and knees should be covered.
  • Use your right hand when giving or receiving something, as the left hand is considered unclean.
  • Show respect to the Thai Royal Family; any disrespect is not tolerated.


  • Touch someone’s head or ruffle their hair; the head is considered the most sacred part of the body.
  • Point your feet at people or religious objects; feet are considered the lowest and dirtiest part of the body.
  • Raise your voice or display anger in public; maintaining a calm demeanor is crucial.
  • Public displays of affection are frowned upon.

Habits Not to Bring from South Africa

Avoid being overly direct or confrontational. Thais prefer to avoid conflict and maintain harmony in social interactions. Loud talking, aggressive bargaining, or public displays of frustration can be seen as disrespectful.

Deportment and Respect

Dress conservatively and maintain good posture. When sitting, avoid showing the soles of your feet. Always show respect to monks, elders, and those in authority. When passing someone who is seated, lower your body slightly to show respect.

Religious Places

When visiting temples, dress modestly. Remove your shoes before entering, and avoid touching religious statues or monks. Women should not touch monks or hand anything directly to them; instead, place the item on a cloth or pass it through a male intermediary.

Public Presentation of Oneself

Maintain a polite and calm demeanor at all times. Avoid loud talking or boisterous behavior in public spaces. Respect personal space and avoid unnecessary physical contact with strangers.

Behavior on Public Transport

Queue politely when waiting for public transport. Offer your seat to monks, elderly people, pregnant women, and those with disabilities. Keep conversations quiet and avoid using loudspeakers on your mobile devices.

Losing and Gaining Face

In Thai culture, “face” refers to one’s reputation and social standing. Losing face can occur through public embarrassment, criticism, or failure, and it can have significant social consequences. Conversely, gaining face involves earning respect through polite behavior, success, or generosity. To help others save face, avoid direct confrontations or criticisms in public settings. Instead, address issues privately and diplomatically.

By understanding and respecting these cultural differences, South African travelers can enjoy a more harmonious and enriching experience in Thailand.


Bringing Phone from South Africa
Ensure your phone is unlocked for international use. Most South African phones should work in Thailand, but it’s wise to check with your service provider. Consider buying a local SIM card upon arrival for better rates on calls and data.

Internet Availability
Thailand has extensive 4G coverage in most urban areas and tourist destinations. Free Wi-Fi is also widely available in hotels, cafes, and restaurants. For seamless connectivity, purchasing a local SIM card with a data plan is recommended.

Dominant Messaging Apps
LINE is the most popular messaging app in Thailand, followed by WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Download LINE before you arrive to stay connected with locals.

Must-Download Apps Before Arrival

  • LINE: For messaging and social networking.
  • Google Maps: For navigation.
  • Grab: For taxis and food delivery.
  • Klook: For booking tours and activities.

The official currency is the Thai Baht (THB). It’s advisable to carry some cash, especially for small purchases and street food. Currency exchange services are widely available at airports, banks, and exchange kiosks.

ATMs are plentiful in Thailand. Most accept international cards, but check for fees both from the Thai bank and your home bank. ATMs usually dispense cash in 1,000 THB notes, so be prepared for large denominations.

Taxi Apps
Grab is the leading ride-hailing app in Thailand, similar to Uber. It’s convenient, reliable, and often cheaper than traditional taxis. Download and set up the app before your trip.

Food Delivery
Food delivery services are very popular in Thailand. GrabFood and FoodPanda are the dominant players. These apps offer a wide range of options from local street food to international cuisine.

Credit Cards
Credit cards are widely accepted in urban areas, hotels, and larger restaurants. However, smaller businesses and street vendors may only accept cash. Always have some cash on hand for such situations.

Thailand offers a variety of shopping experiences from luxury malls to bustling markets. Popular spots include MBK Center in Bangkok, Chatuchak Weekend Market, and Night Bazaars in Chiang Mai. Bargaining is common in markets but not in malls.

Thailand’s train system is a great way to travel long distances affordably. The State Railway of Thailand operates services throughout the country. Booking tickets in advance is recommended, especially for sleeper trains.

Local Buses
Local buses are an economical way to travel within cities, though they can be confusing for first-time visitors due to language barriers and lack of clear schedules. Apps like ViaBus can help navigate the bus routes in Bangkok.

By preparing with these practical considerations, your trip to Thailand will be smoother and more enjoyable. Safe travels!


Acceptance of Men from South Africa

Thai people are generally welcoming and hospitable towards foreigners, including South Africans. However, it’s essential to be respectful of local customs and traditions. A friendly demeanor and genuine interest in Thai culture can go a long way in building positive relationships.

Funny Ways to Tell Women You Are from South Africa

Humor can be a great icebreaker. You could say something like, “I’m from the land where we ride elephants to school… just kidding, we have cars too!” or “I’m from South Africa, where we have more types of wildlife than you have types of noodles!”

Which Dating Apps to Use

Popular dating apps in Thailand include Tinder, Bumble, and ThaiFriendly. These platforms are widely used and have a diverse user base, making them good options for meeting Thai women.

Good Opening Lines to Use with Thai Women on the Apps

  • “Hi! I’m new to Thailand and would love some local tips. What’s your favorite place to visit?”
  • “Sawadee krap! I’m from South Africa and looking to make new friends here. How’s your day going?”
  • “I heard Thai food is amazing. Any recommendations for a must-try dish?”

Teaching Thai Women About South African Culture

Share interesting facts about South Africa, such as its diverse cultures, languages, and unique wildlife. You could talk about traditional foods like biltong or explain the significance of Nelson Mandela in your country’s history. Sharing photos or videos can also make your stories more engaging.

Dressing and Personal Hygiene

Dress neatly and appropriately for the occasion. Casual but clean attire is usually acceptable for most situations. Personal hygiene is crucial; make sure you are well-groomed, as first impressions matter.

Examples of Red Flags You Should Watch For

  • Overly eager interest in financial matters.
  • Reluctance to meet in person after prolonged chatting.
  • Inconsistent stories or background information.
  • Excessive flattery or declarations of love early on.

Examples of Scams on Dating Apps

  • Requests for money for emergencies or travel expenses.
  • Links to suspicious websites asking for personal information.
  • Claims of being stuck in a foreign country and needing financial help.
  • Fake profiles using stolen photos.

Major Difference in Dating Between South Africa and Thailand

Thai dating culture tends to be more conservative compared to South Africa. Public displays of affection are less common, and family approval is often significant. It’s also typical for Thai women to take things slowly and get to know someone well before committing.

Major Differences Between Thai Women and South African Women

Thai women often value modesty, politeness, and family ties more strongly. They may also be more reserved initially compared to South African women, who might be more direct and open in their communication.

Popular First Date Activities

  • Visiting a local market or night bazaar.
  • Enjoying a meal at a traditional Thai restaurant.
  • Taking a walk in a public park or along the beach.
  • Exploring cultural sites like temples or museums.

Red Light Districts

Famous red light districts in Thailand include Patpong in Bangkok, Walking Street in Pattaya, and Bangla Road in Phuket. These areas are known for their nightlife and adult entertainment but may not be suitable for everyone.

Prostitution on Dating Apps

Be cautious as some profiles on dating apps may be linked to prostitution. Signs include overly suggestive photos, immediate offers to meet for paid companionship, or profiles that seem too good to be true.

10 Places to Meet Thai Women Outside of Dating Apps

  1. Local coffee shops and cafes.
  2. University campuses (if you are a student or attending an event).
  3. Community events and festivals.
  4. Language exchange meetups.
  5. Gyms and fitness centers.
  6. Cooking classes.
  7. Volunteer organizations.
  8. Bookstores and libraries.
  9. Art galleries and museums.
  10. Social clubs or hobby groups (e.g., hiking clubs, dance classes).


Practical Guide to Extending a Thai Tourist Visa or Visa Exemption for South African Passport Holders

1. Understanding the Extension Process

South African passport holders who wish to extend their stay in Thailand can do so by applying for an extension of their tourist visa or visa exemption at the nearest Thai Immigration Office.

2. Required Documents

Prepare the following documents before visiting the immigration office:

  • Passport: Ensure it is valid for at least 6 months and has blank pages.
  • Departure Card (TM.6): This is the card you received upon entering Thailand.
  • Completed Application Form (TM.7): This form can be obtained at the immigration office or downloaded in advance from the Thai Immigration Bureau’s website.
  • Passport-sized Photos: Two recent photos (4x6 cm).
  • Extension Fee: The fee is typically 1,900 THB (subject to change).

3. Visit the Immigration Office

Identify the nearest immigration office. Major offices are located in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, and other tourist hubs. It is advisable to arrive early to avoid long queues.

4. Submit Your Application

At the immigration office:

  • Collect a Queue Number: Upon arrival, collect a queue number and wait for your turn.
  • Submit Documents: Present your documents to the immigration officer when called.
  • Pay the Fee: Pay the extension fee of 1,900 THB.

5. Processing Time

The processing time is usually the same day, but it can take a few hours depending on the office and the number of applicants.

6. Approval and Extension Stamp

Once approved, your passport will be stamped with the new extension date. Ensure that all details are correct before leaving the immigration office.

7. Additional Tips

  • Dress Appropriately: Wear respectful clothing as a sign of respect.
  • Plan Ahead: Apply for an extension a few days before your current visa or exemption expires to avoid overstaying.
  • Check Public Holidays: Immigration offices are closed on Thai public holidays.

By following these steps, South African passport holders can efficiently extend their stay in Thailand and enjoy more time exploring this beautiful country.

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