Missed me? Yea, I’ve missed my little space here too! it’s been 10 days since I last blogged!
I was away on a short getaway to Bangkok Friday – Monday, and really really really wanted to blog, but sooooo many things happened during that trip, and was quite busy at work since I went back to office yesterday, so I haven’t got a chance to pop in.
Still haven’t sorted out my trip photos, so I can’t share that yet. But I do wanna blog about something rather ‘dramatic’ that happened during the trip, so here goes!
BFF and I had long wanted to do a mother-daughter trip, but we weren’t sure of their ‘chemistry’ and our ‘group dynamics’, so we decided on a short trip to somewhere near. BFF also brought her sister. Then one thing led to another, before we knew it, there’re like eight of us making the trip, hehe!
I was lazing in bed after brekky while BFF called me on my cellphone. She said calmly, “Hey, your mom’s bag got slashed and she lost her travel purse and her passport.” (Don’t worry, my mom’s OK, just a little grouchy…)
Thankfully, she had passed some of her her money to me the night before, and she’d forgotten her usual wallet, so no SGD, no credit cards and no IC. So it was just less than S$300 worth of Thai baht and the troublesome part was actually the loss of the passport.
You see, that was Sunday, and we were due back on the noon flight on Monday. Which means we only had those few hours on Monday morning to sort out whatever paperwork needed to fly us back.
What to Do if You Lose Your Passport
Here’s a list of the things you need to do if you ever lose or have your passport stolen in Bangkok.
1. File a police report, preferably in the area the passport was lost or stolen. Make sure you get a copy of the police report.
2. Bring the police report to your embassy and get a Document of Identity. Be sure to prepare two passport-sized photos.
And oh, it’s best if you have your NRIC or driver’s license or a copy of your passport with you. It may help expedite the verification process with ICA.
At the embassy, they will have to check back with ICA in Singapore on your travel records and your travel documents to ensure that all’s well.
The prescribed turnaround time is three hours, but they can usually process your case in an hour. So you can choose to wait there or come back in three hours. My mom’s was done in under an hour.
Once the verification with ICA is completed, they will prepare a Document of Identity for you.
Be sure they give you back a copy of the police report as you will need it at immigration control at both the Bangkok and Singapore airports.
This will cost you 360 Thai baht (S$15).
This is how the Document of Identity looks like.
Embassy of the Republic of Singapore
129 South Sathorn Road
(Mon to Fri) 9.00 am – 12 noon and 1.00 pm – 5.00 pm
Closed on Sat, Sun and PHs
Tel: +66-(2) 286-2111 (during office hours)
Tel: +66-(81) 844-3580 (for urgent consular assistance after office hours)
Click HERE for more info.
3. Next, bring your Document of Identity and police report to the Thailand Immigration Bureau to have another document drawn up so that you can clear the immigration control in Thailand. This is not near the Singapore embassy >.<
Immigration Bureau Floor,
Visa Division 4, Old Building
Te1: +66-(2) 287-3911 or 287-3101-10 Ext.22
4. Proceed to Bangkok airport armed with the police report, and documents from both Singapore embassy and also from Thailand immigration.
5. At Changi Airport, go to the Immigration Control counter instead of clearing immigration at the automated lanes or the manned counters. You will need to do some thumb-print thingy at the counter and will also need to surrender your Document of Identity. This is also to officially report the loss of your report since it is stipulated that we need to report within 14 days).
6. Go apply for a new passport at ICA. It will cost you a total of $120, being $70 for application of passport and $50 for loss of passport. Processing usually takes a week.
1. Always bring along a copy of your passport. Alternatively, scan it and email it to your web-based email account so that you can retrieve it anywhere so long as there’s internet.
2. Keep your passport in a safe place (e.g. safe in your hotel room) or guard it tightly when going to crowded places.
3. Cross-sling your bag to the front is probably a good idea.
4. Longchamp Le Pliage bags may not be so ‘safe’ as the material is easy to slice through. Also, there ain’t many compartments in the bag, making it easier for the thieves to steal your stuff. So be extra careful if you’re using one of these bags. My BFF”s mom was also carrying a Le Pliage and her bag got slashed in the exact same way, although the thief didn’t manage to steal anything.
5. Don’t put all your money in one basket. I always tuck my money in two separate spots to minimize the risk of losing it all. And depending on the hotels that I’m staying in, I sometimes lock my Singapore wallet in my luggage when I go out.
6. Last tip! Remember I was saying my mom had her passport stolen on a Sunday, and we were due to fly back on a Monday noon flight? Since the embassy’s closed on Sundays, we could only go to the embassy at 9am Monday. We effectively only had an hour to settle the paperwork since we needed to be at the airport at around 11am and we needed time to travel to the airport too.
So, we actually skipped the step of going to the Thailand Immigration Bureau and went straight to the airport after the embassy. We only had the police report and the Document of Identity issued by the embassy, and were missing the document from the Thai side.
If you ask really really nicely, and explain that you really don’t have time to go get that document, the airport immigration officers MAY let you through.
And we were luckier in that the SQ counter supervisor offered to accompany us through the immigration so that she could render help if we were stuck with the immigration officer.
The super-duper-helpful counter supervisor also told us that in the event the airport immigration officers refused to let us through and we ended up having to make that trip to the Thailand Immigration Bureau, she would do the necessary to put us on a later flight without charges. Sooooo nice!!
I was so touched and impressed by her that I emailed SQ to commend her for service excellence the night that I got back! SQ ftw!
Incidentally, BFF told me another Singaporean couple was at the police station to report the loss of their wallet too. And the lady’s canvas tote bag was also slashed. And when we were at the embassy, a Singaporean man was also there to apply for the Document of Identity. He said his passport was stolen at one of the BTS stations.
The SQ supervisor told us that these are usually syndicates and many are not Thai. She said that there’re syndicates from countries such as Vietnam and Laos who would target the tourists in Bangkok. Not that it’s her fault, but she’d apologised repeatedly for our unpleasant experience, and kept saying she hoped this wouldn’t stop us from visiting again.
I’ve been to Bangkok quite many times (four times in 2014 alone, lol!), and I do like the place and also the people. So nope, this episode won’t stop me from going again, although I can’t say the same of my mom. She did say that she’s gonna stay away for awhile. She’s been asking me… “When, Japan?” ^^
So there, not that I’d wish it on anyone, but you now know what to do if you ever lose your passport or have your passport stolen in Bangkok.