I'm thinking of doing a bit of travelling next year and wanted to get a few ideas and experiences off some more experienced travellers.
I have done a fair bit of travelling over the years; the well trodden path of SE Asia, Oz, NZ Fiji etc, but fancied something a bit different now. I was thinking of travelling from the UK through Europe by trains, busses and by what ever means to Moscow, then signing up to an Imaginative traveller trip along the Rhubarb road to Beijing. I have travelled with Imaginative traveller before and enjoyed the group atmosphere, so thought I would do it again. The next stage is what I am unsure about, I had got the idea to travel to N Korea but I think that could get quite expensive having researched it, so I thought about travelling south to eventually end up in Perth where I intend on working for a while before planning the return!! I have done the Thailand, Malaysia peninsular so was going to avoid that, possibly Vietnam?
As you can tell I am still in the early stages of planning, and trying to get together as much money and information as possible. I have a friend that is interested in coming along, although he doesn’t have much clue never having done anything like this before, so he is no inspiration. I am just after any ideas and possible means of travelling that is cheap but interesting. Being two fully grown rugby lads with mental ages of 15 we are not too worried about anything important like hygiene, safety, sleep etc so don’t mind slumming it.
I have been looking into certain aspects of the journey already and one thing that has struck me is the amount of countries we are planning on travelling through, so Visas was an issue that cropped up for me. Where is it best to get the visas for each country, especially when I’m not too sure when we will be travelling through each one and will it get expensive?
Anyway I have waffled on for long enough, so if anyone has got any ideas or answers to my questions it would be most appreciated if you could tell me what you think.
All countries I am aware of you need to know your dates of entry and exit if you have to apply for a visa prior to arrival. Some inparticular like Russia are obsessed with this fact and make it a nightmare to apply for a visa and an expensive process. The only way with Russia to get around it is if you plan to arrive on 19 July but you are entering by train from Kiev, show proof of entry in to Kiev/Ukraine on say 10 July and then say to the Russians you plan on entering on 12 July. Then you would need proof of onward travel for the exit (in my case it was Helsinki) so you show proof of leaving Helsinki on 20 August but then say you plan on leaving Russia on 11 August even though you may be planning to exit on 2 August.
Doing that would allow you a little bit of time at the start should you wish to enter early and also a little bit of time at the end should you love it so much and want to stay a bit longer than initially planned. I think that is the best you are likely to do in many countries where you don't have exact dates in mind. Unfortunately when you have to apply for a visa prior to entry that will mean needing to have at least some idea of when you plan to enter and when you plan to exit or else you will not be allowed to apply for the visa. For visas like Russia, you need to apply as early as possible because they take quite a bit of time to get issued and normally when travelling you don't set aside 2-3 weeks in one city unless you are working. To get it processed quickly costs a lot of money and in some countries it is not possible for foreigners to apply for a Russian visa unless you hold the passport of the country you are applying in. I think Germany is one of those where only German passport holders can apply for a Russian Visa there.
North Korea is pretty much a no go zone with the government being terrible and getting a visa almost an impossibility. From what I have heard their is not really much worth seeing anyway so you'd be best to skip there. Vietnam is really easy to get around once you reach there and is a cheap place as is Cambodia. Again for Vietnam you would need to have some sort of idea as to when you are going to arrive otherwise you won't get in. On the visa if you say you are arriving on 23 June that is when it is issued for and if you tell them you are leaving on 30 June, they still issue the visa as if you were going to be there for 30 days so that'd give you a bit of flexibility. If you are a UK citizen you will be able to get a visa on arrival in Cambodia so that wouldn't be a problem.
I was wondering about visas too! I went to Trailfinders & they gave me a number to call that can tell you all about visas for wherever you want to go... 0845 050 5905.... or look on that countries individual embassy website... if that makes any sense!
what is this imaginative traveller? I am doing a trip from japan to perth in jan 09.... the only flights ive got are london to japan & then singapore to perth..... the rest i was just going to get boats/trains.... etc..... i want to see wicked stuff...not just the same old that everyone else travels....what do you reckon?
Same for me, want to see it rather than fly over it! Imaginative traveller is just a tour company that takes you to all the good spots, normally in small groups around 10 people and normally 20's in age, a good way of travelling and meeting people i suppose. I'm starting to think i will have to structure my time a bit more, at least then i can get the visas easily and relitively cheaply before i leave. Going to STAtomorrow for some inspiration!