I will work for the WFP in Laos but plan to travel there via Bangkok as flights to Thailand are so much cheaper. From Bangkok I would take the train to Nong Khai, then the bus accross the border. All direct travel. I am German so technically I don't need a visa for stays shorter than a month. I could also get a transit visa, but that would not change my problem: I only booked a one-way ticket, and so far I have not found a way to pre-purchase tickets to Laos (did so for the train but not the bus accross the border). Obviously I could fly to Vientiane, but that would put the price back up to what a direct flight would have cost. So does anyone know... A)if and how I can buy (bus/train)tickets from Bangkok to Vientiane in advance? B)whether Thai customs would accept my contract with WFP and visa for Laos (plus maybe a train ticket to Nong Khai) as valid documentation that I will leave the country within a couple of days?
I have been trying to reach the embassy here to address these questions, but so far no luck. Happy to hear any experiences, ideas, suggestions...
#1 Conni has been a member since 20/6/2008. Posts: 4
I'd be very surprised if you had any problems arriving planning to use the 30-day visa free entry -- especially as you'll have a contract to prove you're headed to Laos.
I wouldn't bother with onward tickets etc, the contract should suffice.
All sites I surfed to find information on Thai visa for Germans (including the embassy's official info) stated the necessity of a passport which is valid for another 6 months and a confirmed ticket to travel back or on.
Did you ever get in without an onward ticket?
#3 Conni has been a member since 20/6/2008. Posts: 4
I've flown and overlanded into Thailand numerous times -- at least a dozen times in the last two years -- with no onward ticket.My passport does have another 4-5 years on it yet, so I can't answer re the 6 month validity issue.
The "onward ticket" rule is generally used in a discretionary fashion by immigration to refuse entry to people who they consider to not be bone fide tourists -- ie people who have lived and worked in Thailand (illegally) for years while leaving every 30 days to get a new "visa free entry".
Given that you're on the way to a third country, and have working papers to prove it, I'd have to say it would be extremely extremely unusual for you to be pulled up. That said, if you want to be 100% safe, then I'd say pick up a cheap Bangkok Hanoi ticket with AirAsia (starts at around $40 before tax)... if nothing else you can go for a holiday there.
Hope that helps
Thanks a lot!!
If I do end up getting an official statement on the issue by a Thai embassy I'll post it for further reference...
#5 Conni has been a member since 20/6/2008. Posts: 4
You don't say where you are flying from, and if I understand you correctly you are planning to fly on a one way ticket. It is the airline which will have a problem with you flying on a one way ticket without a visa of any kind. The airline would want to see a 60 day vistors visa at least. I've never had to show my return ticket at Thai immgration (but the rules on 30 day visa free entries are changing all the time)but you have to get on the plane first so check with your airline!.
Yes it's the airlines that are the main problem. They might not let you board your flight from Germany to Thailand without an onward flight or tourist visa .
Some people get round this by buying a cheap flight anywhere outside the country without actually using it. Last year I had an onward Air Asia ticket to Penang as proof of onward travel. Ethiad accepted it but the girl initially misread the destination as Phnom Penh and I got the distinct impression they'd been told to refuse that. (Phnom Penh is usually the cheapest route).
Although Asian budget airlines flights are cheap, even occasionally free, they do add on a lot of taxes and charges including the 700B international departure tax ... so it can end up not that much cheaper than buying a tourist visa which is a lot safer.
However it's worth contacting the airline as mikethedriver says and explaining your situation.
Thanks a lot for your advise! I did end up calling a few Thai consulates here in Germany and the one answering the phone confirmed that without an onward flight I will need a 60 day tourist visa before entering Thailand. The Berlin embassy just got back to me with the same reply, so I guess that's what I'll do :)
#8 Conni has been a member since 20/6/2008. Posts: 4