Here are some tips to make your passport renewal less stressful than it was for me last week. The first is to start the process well in advance. Check your embassy’s scheduled visits to Chiang Mai and prepare well in advance, since the US and China have the only full-function consulates here. You will need photocopies and, since copy machines are rare and their quality poor, locate one and make your copies. You will need passport photographs and there is only one photography studio, Fotomax 15, opposite Chiang Mai Plaza Hotel, that knows how to take them.
Get the dimensions from your embassy’s web page and take them to Fotomax AFTER 10:30 am and explain your needs to the technician. Take a ruler (or a template from your embassy) to check that all dimensions are correct. Make sure that the paper is glossy (or matte, depending on your requirements) and don’t leave this until the day of your appointment. Remember, this is Thailand!