The other day I had to make a quick journey down to Bangkok to visit the Australian Embassy to renew my passport. It was a flying visit, arriving in Bangkok at 7am and leaving at 7pm and arriving back in Ubon Ratchathani at 8pm.
Now I have to step back a little here. About two months ago I thought I would get organised and download all the paperwork to renew my passport. So I went to the Australian Embassy website in Bangkok and when I put my passport number in it came up, “Unable to renew this passport. Please contact your nearest Embassy”
I did a WTF! Put the numbers in again, but the same result. So I contacted the Bangkok Embassy.
I rang and got through very easily and the first conversation went a little astray with one of the Thai embassy staff. I explained what had happened and was then told to “ring the Birth, Death and Marriages (BDM)” in the state where I was born. I did question this but was told “they will explain everything!”
So I called Victoria’s BDM, had an excellent older lady on the phone and when I explained that I was told to call them and they would explain with everything, it was meet with “sorry love, but I have no idea what they are talking about.”
So another call back to the embassy and I got the same operator and he asked “Did everything go alright?”
I then started to explain that it hadn’t as they had no idea what I was talking about. An Australian lady then cut onto the line and she was great. She explained that an alert had been issued that I had to show copy of a “full birth certificate” to renew my passport.
I did question why, but a law change on the 1st of October 2008 was the reason. This is the release.
From today, the Australian Passport Office will only accept the new passport applications forms which were introduced on 1 July 2008 to strengthen the identity management process that underpins the Australian passport issuing system.
The new forms better ensure the names included in replacement passports match those recorded on state and territory births, deaths and marriages registers or the Australian citizenship register.
The one-page pre-printed renewal form can be used in the majority of cases by Australians seeking to renew their current passport, or passport that has expired for not more than 12 months. The passport being replaced is required as supporting documentation when lodging a renewal form.
A full application form will need to be used by Australians that have never held a passport or by those who do not qualify for the renewal process. An Australian birth certificate or Australian citizenship certificate, along with other documentation listed on the form, will need to be presented to establish identity and citizenship.
So I contacted BDM again and enquired what I had to do to obtain the certificate. It was going to be a bit of a pain in the bottom. I needed three forms of identification certified and one containing my current address. Any forms in another language had to be officially translated.
So the easiest way was, give my parents “power of attorney” and they obtained the certificate and then went to the passport office in Melbourne. They sighted it and then sent a copy to the Bangkok Embassy.
So I flew down to Bangkok in the morning and arrived a little early for the 8.30am opening. And I was out of the embassy by 9am with plenty of hours to kill before flying home that evening.
Out the front of the embassy I flagged down about 4 taxis to see if they would take me across to the Platinum wholesale markets, but none were willing. So I did what I have done many times in Bangkok before and that was use a good old motorbike taxi.
We agreed on the fee and were off in a hurry. Traffic was light to start, and we flew along making excellent time.
I don’t think I have ever been on a motorbike taxi where the driver is cautious, they all seem to be in a huge hurry and love trying to scare the hell out of the passengers. When the traffic became thick, this is where the fun begins. How the riders squeeze through such small gaps between buses, cars and other obstacles at speed, does at times get your heart beating.
Arriving at Platinum, the first thing I did was go to good old McDonalds. In Ubon Ratchathani we don’t have it. We will apparently with the new development happening in the Big C area. So McMuffins and coffee to energise me.
Then I headed to the market area first and spent a good three hours wandering around buying bits and pieces. Then across to the large Platinum Mall, I thought about grabbing some lunch up on the 6th floor but there was not one table free and heaps of people looking for somewhere to sit.
I spent another few hours wandering around the mall, then decided I had had enough and would head out to the airport a little early, grab something to eat and read a book I had bought. So a short walk down to the Ratchathewi BTS Station, a short ride to Phaya Thai and then change and onto the Suvarnabhumi Airport Link.
The airport link is excellent; if you haven’t used it then you should give it a try. Arriving at the airport headed to Subway (we don’t have in Ubon) and then found a quiet place to sit a read for a while. Before I knew it, it was time to check in.
Because it was already a naughty day for food, I couldn’t help but have a Burger King Burger (don’t have in Ubon) and before I knew it we were airborne and heading home.
So that was an exciting flying 12 hour visit to Bangkok.