I’ve decided some time ago that I was going to travel south East Asia starting in June, and since then have been doing a lot of planning. I discovered this website a few days ago and after reading through other people’s posts that I’d be as well getting advice on several aspects of my trip.
I’m planning to visit:
My plan is to fly to Ho Chi Minh City and make my way north and then west into Laos, then south into Cambodia, then west into Thailand, and then to Fly to either Bangladesh or Nepal (need to make mind up) when I get to Nepal fly to Tibet and fly back again, and then go south into India and spend as long of my 6 months visa in India, however If I still have enough money then I plan to go south to Sri Lanka. I’d like some advice on the following please:
1. I was wondering if anyone knows a cheap airline to fly from Glasgow, Scotland to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I’ve found prices of about £375 - £415
2. I’ve gathered the information on visas and how to gain entry to each country and was wondering if it was all correct. (please look at bottom)
3. Things I really shouldn’t miss in each country
Flying there, visa in advance, 30 day visa valid for 6 months after receipt. I need:
1. One copy of application form with one passport photo (I already have)
2. Original passport
3. Visa fee £38
4. Enclose a prepaid self-addressed return envelope + £5
Can enter into Laos from Vietnam at Lao Bao, Khung Tri or Lak Sao, Vinh - 15 day Visa. I need:
2. 2 x Passport Photos
Can enter Cambodia from Laos via Voen Kham, an island in the Mekong, and the Cambodian town of Stung Treng - 30 day visa from date of issue. I need:
2. 1x Passport Photo
3. $15 (Bribe)
Can enter Thailand from Cambodia via multiple borders i.e. Poipet. - 60 days from date of issue
2. 1x Passport Photo
4. Proof of onward travel
I’ve not looked into visas for the other countries yet and would be happy for any advice.
Thanks in advance,
[ Edit: Edited on Feb 17, 2007, at 5:23 AM by Howie87 ]
Something to consider:
If you can find cheaper flights to Bangkok, you might find the route easier. From Bangkok you can easily do a loop from Thailand, through Cambodia to Vietnam, Laos and then back down to Thailand. This solves a couple problems- Any visas that you need in advance can be very easily arranged in Bangkok in a matter of a couple days. Seems easier than mailing your passport off when you are at home. Also, since you are allowed to enter Thailand visa-free for 30 days, you can spend a month there before heading into Cambodia, and then spend another month when you return from Laos by reentering and renewing your visa free status. This will save you some money by not having to pay for a 60day Thai visa.
Another consideration since you seem to be backtracking alot with your flights from SouthAsia to Tibet- Tibet is pretty easy to reach overland from Vietnam or Laos. It's just a matter of crossing into China and heading west. Once in Tibet you can continue overland or fly to Kathmandu. Remember that before you enter into India you have to have your visa in advance. Since its good for 6 months from the day you recieve it, in order to get the most time out of it, it's best to get it right before you go. So Kathmandu might be a good place to arrange your Indian Visa.
Things not to miss: In Southest Asia - Grand Palace in Bnagkok, Angkor, Mekong Delta, Hoi An, Hanoi, Sapa, Halong Bay, Luang Prabang, Thai beaches.
In India - Varanasi, Jaisalmer, McLeod Ganj, Hampi, Kerela and a thousand other highlights.
Would you suggest then I fly to Bangkok, then enter Laos, then Cambodia, then Vietnam and into China - Tibet? That sounds perfect, but I have NO idea about how to get a visa for Tibet or China, but some research will sort that out.
In regards to Indian visa and getting it in Kathmandu, that’s perfect, I assume I can get a visa and a flight to Sri Lanka from India easily.
I've sorted out what I need to the 1st four countries but I'm stuck at what to do at China.
From what I already gather I am able to enter China from Vietnam via the Lao Cai border crossing, and I would have had to already have my visa issued. This would be done by downloading and completing the following:
However I don't know how to get visa for the region of Tibet or if this is included in the chinese visa. I don't know how long the visa is valid from from the date of issue. If it's under 3 months, am I able to apply for the Chinese visa in Vietnam?
Also would I be as well flying from Kundming to Lhasa and then from Lhasa to Kathmandu? As It seems ALOT of ground to cover by land.
Please any help is greatly appreciated
PS: Where can I enter India from Nepal? And How do I go about getting a Sri Lankan visa? Any advise for visas for these regions etc is greatly appreciated
[ Edit: Edited on Feb 17, 2007, at 4:45 PM by Howie87 ]
Even though I gave you the suggestion of heading overland to Tibet, I'm sorry that I don't know alot of the details about visas and stuff. What I do know is that you can get most of them in Bangkok. Hopefully someone here will be able to advise on if you can get a Chinese visa in Hanoi. Im assuming you probably can and most travel agents in Hanoi will be willing to arrange it for you, but I dont want to tell you that for certain because I've never done it, and sometimes I'm wrong. I have arranged my visa for Laos in Hanoi and that was very easy.
For Tibet, as far as I know you do need a special permit seperate from you Chinese Visa. It also is required that you are are part of a tour group in order to get it. I've heard that alot of these tours are just formality and once you cross the border with them they'll drop you off to go indepenantly if you want, or you can go the whole way with them. Though I've never been to Tibet, when I was in Dali and Lijiang (last few towns in China before Tibet) there were heaps of travel agents advertising trips into Tibet. I'm pretty sure Chengdu is a pretty popular gateway as well. Hopefully someone can give you some info on how to arrange these tours and whatnot.
I dont know much about the Nepal visa, but a couple websites I found say that you can get the visa on arrival at the border. Hopefully someone can confirm that for you.
As far as my suggestion about flying into Bangkok goes, I suggested that because in general (though not always I'm sure) flights into Bangkok are cheaper than into Vietnam directly from overseas. It's not nessesarily a better option, just another option to consider. Which ever one works best for your route would be the best option.
Thanks Degolasse for the time you have taken to help me out It's been a lot of work as I'm traveling on my own, I plan by my own.
As you can see from a quick plan I drew up to outline the main cities I'll visit, it does make more sense to fly to Bangkok first because it allows me to enter China by land and I also I can make it for the Full Moon Party in Thailnd
I've also found out about the Nepalese visa (valid from 1st Jan - 31st Dec) and that I can get my Indian visa in Kathmandu (I think) I've also been accepted into working in a school in the Indian mountains teaching children aged 5-9. I'll be doing that for several months.
I don't think I will go to Sri Lanka because it will cost too much to fly from India to Sri Lanka and then either back to Scotland or India.
The only part of my trip I really need to figure out properly now is the whole China-Tibet-Nepal area. Once I have got my full plan organised I'll post it and see if anyone finds any problems with it.