I'm doing at 30 day tour commencing the 4th Oct when I arrive in Bangkok, taking in northern Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. I'm aware I get my 30day visa when I fly into Thailand at the very start but this will have expired by the time I finish the tour. 2 questions to ask though:
1. Some people have suggested to do a "visa run" and get an Air Asia return flight when I finish the tour and this will give me my second 30 day visa as I want to travel southern Thailand for a month after the tour. Has anyone done this "visa run" before or have any advice on the best way to go about it?
2. The tour company requires us to have our Vietnamese visa sorted before we commence the tour. I'm from Ireland but when googling this, they say I can obtain a Vietnamese visa from the Vietnam embassy in London. I've also heard you can get the visa in Bangkok when you arrive there?
Any advice on which is the best way to get both visas??
Getting a Thai visa is so much hassle and money for me that I usually do a visa run, as in having some days in Malaysia, Hong Kong or wherever. If you are flying somewhere you might as well spend some time there, though an immediate return flight back will still get you another 30 days.
As to a Vietnam visa:
I found that getting a VN visa in your home country or BKK is expensive. I assume you are flying into VN. If so, I suggest you use the visa on arrival system. Here is my experience flying into SGN. You do need to have a flight number and arrival date. If you are going into VN overland, then you can buy it fast and cheap in either Phnom Penh or Vientiane.
Does your tour end in Thailand? If so, do you fly in or cross overland? If you fly back into BKK, you will get another free 30 day entry permit. That should cover your beach time down south. If your tour stops outside of Tland, you have several options. Fly back on Air Asia and you have 30 another days. If you cross into Tland via land, then you will get a 15 day entry permit. You can buy a visa in Phnom Penh or Vientiane if you need more than 15 days. A visa will give you at least 30 days in Tland, 60 if you need more time.
Good luck with your planning.
[ Edit: Edited on 17-Jul-2012, at 17:30 by vegasmike6 ]
As I'm doing a tour I don't have access to the flight details-it just says we take a flight from Laos into Hanoi? I've read on a few sites that if you don't actually have the visa when boarding the flight that they can refuse you entry onto the flight as the letter doesn't suffice??
The tour ends back in Bangkok with entry over land over the land border from Cambodia. I wasn't aware you could get a 30 day visa by land? only heard of the flight option? Never considered staying a few days in the place I take the run to....any good suggestions? Had a look at the Air Asia flights there and visa run looks to cost on average €130...would that be about right?
Really appreciate all your help!
Easy one first. If you need more than 15 days after your tour, why don't you buy a visa while in PP? It usually takes 2 days, drop off your passport, form and money, pick it up the next day. Now you will have at least 30 days after your tour to hit the southern beaches. Second option would be to go accept the 15 day entry permit with your tour group. Visit the beaches and before your 15 days are up, hop across the border into Malaysia. You will get a free visa for Malaysia and then get another 15 days when you re-enter Thailand. Exit Thailand before those 15 days are up.
Now VN visa. I showed my approval letter to Jet Star Air and that was good enough for them. Many use the visa on arrival system system now in place for VN. I think that is enough for boarding the flight. But since you do not know the date and flight number, that option probably will not work. E-mail the link I provided or any other VN travel agent. Google 'visa on arrival vietnam' and contact the dozens of websites that offer this service. See if the details you do have are enough for a visa on arrival. If that option will not work, you can either buy your VN visa before leaving Ireland or buy one in Vientiane. Hope this helps with your planning.
I can't remember what I did for Thailand, but for Vietnam, we got our visas in 4 days the week before we left from the consulate in the city in which we live. It was around the same price as the on arrival visa, so we just thought easier to have in advance.