First... the 30 day visa, is not a visa.
It's actually a "visa exemption stamp". And to get it, first, click here to check if your country qualifies. And if it does, then you can just show up at an airport in Thailand and you will get "stamped in" for 30 days.
Some people call it the "30 day Tourist Visa". Some people call it the Visa on Arrival (but thats a totally different thing).
As we said, just check if your country qualifies and if it does, buy a plane ticket, pack your bags and head to Thailand. This is perfect for The short term visit. Or the start of a visit through South East Asia where Thailand is just the first stop.
Don't forget that you do need a Thailand Pass, which is not a visa at all, and is just an entry "pass" to come to Thailand, regardless of what kind of visa you have.
You're in the kingdom and realize that you want to stay longer. If you got the 30 day stamp, you are also eligible for a 30 day extension, which is generally given without question. Just take your passport and your entry card (little white card) to the nearest immigration and look for the "visa extension" section, or ask information. You need a passport photo and 1,900 THB, then you will get your extension in less than an hour. Boom. 30 more days in Thailand. After these 30 days, though... you do have to leave.
For all intents and purposes, this visa means you can stay 60 days in Thailand.
Normally, if you are coming to Thailand without a visa, you do need to show a flight leaving Thailand within 30 days. So we recommend buying a one way ticket, then purchasing an Onward Flight Ticket or even purchasing a cheap ticket to a neighboring country.
This will give you the flexlibilty of deciding when you want to leave on your own terms.
If you are flying in and out of Thailand, there are no restrictions on how many times you can do a "flight based" border run. And if you take advantage of visa extensions, in theory you can do it 6 times per year.
However if you are doing land-based "border runs", then there are limited to doing this 2 times per year.
In the end, you should look into a long term visa in Thailand instead of endless border runs.
If you want to stay up to 90 days at a time in Thailand, then the 60 day Tourist visa is the one for you. You need to get this visa, or indeed any tourist visa such as the STV visa, you need to get it outside of Thailand. You cannot transfer to another tourist visa once you arrive in Thailand.
You can travel to a neighboring country such as Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos and get this 60 day visa at any nearby Thai consulate.
Once you are in Thailand, you can transfer to a Business Visa, or a Retirement Visa without leaving the country. Transferring to an Education Visa within Thailand is still murky and is allowed in some cases.
So there you have it! If you have questions, please email us for advice about your visa situation. The Baan Smile team has experience with helping you process your visa and Thailand Pass so you enter Thailand in a stress free manner.