I've got some overland/visa questions for you,I have checked out a load of threads and websites but most of them aren't up to date or that specific to my requirements
1: Im starting from Japan and going by boat to China,do I have to arrange a visa for China from UK or get it upon arrival at China port (Shanghai)?
2: I will then be travelling via train into Vietnam. I believe you can obtain a 15 day visa at the land border,but can I extend this visa from inside Vietnam?
3: With standard 15 or 30 day visas that you get at border crossings, can you go to and from countries several times, i,e Vietnam to Laos then back to Vietnam?
I would greatfully appreciate any input on these topics as they've been driving me mad for weeks! Thanks in advance guys!
1. I don't really have much experience with China, but from what I've heard I don't think they have a visa on arrival system so you'll need to get this in advance. This link will take you to the page to apply for a tourist visa from the Chinese Embassy in the United Kingdom.
2. You can only get a visa on arrival for Vietnam if you fly in, so you'll need to organise it either from the UK or probably easier in Shanghai (I did some googling and it seems there is now a Vietnam Consulate in Shanghai, so it should be relatively easy). Visa will be for 30 days, or I think you can also apply for a 3 month visa. I'm not sure if you can extend it while inside Vietnam, so hopefully someone else can help with this!
3. There are different visas for single and multiple entries into Vietnam; if you want to leave the country and then come back make sure you buy the multiple entry visa.
I travelled overland from Vietnam to China in 2008. What soliqa posted is on the money from my experience. Definitely get your Chinese visa before leaving home, we met a lot of travellers trapped in Hanoi as they were unable to get Chinese visas. Things may have changed by now and I don't know what its like trying to get a Chinese visa in Japan but its not worth the risk.
As for getting the train from China to Vietnam it’s a bit of a slow and uncomfortable journey from what we saw. We got a bus from Hanoi, to China which runs both ways. Very modern and comfortable. You can find some details on this and loads of other stuff on my website -snip-, just search Vietnam / Hanoi in the plan your journey search engine.
Have a great trip.
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]
Here is a decent guide for train travel. You must get your VN visa before arriving at their border. The 15-30 day visa on arrival you mention is for Thailand. Buy your VN visa while in China. Right now, the only visa on arrival is for those visitors flying into VN. If you think you will be leaving for Laos, buy a multiple entry visa. Good luck with your planning.
[ Edit: Edited on 10-Feb-2010, at 10:43 by vegasmike6 ]
Thanks for all your advice guys, muchly appreciated!
Got my visas for Australia (whv) ,China (3 mth) and Vietnam (mtpl ent) now so all set.