I don't know what the best option is regarding visa in Thailand.
My travel plan options are:
1) fly in to Bangkok, get a free 30 day visa, traveling by train to Chaing Mai, then all overland, 1 week Laos, 1 week Vietnam, 1 week Cambodia, flying from Phnom Penh to Bangkok (Â£45 flight) to get another 30 free day visa, then spending 3 weeks Island hopping.
2)Fly to Bangkok, spending 2 - 3 days here, traveling over land, 1 week Cambodia, 1 week Vietnam, 1 week Laos, over land to Chaing Mai, receiving a free 15 day visa, spending 2 - 3 days here, then traveling down to the Islands, renewing our 15 day visa somwhere along the line.
We don't know which is the best/ cheapest option? Also, if anyone thinks option 2 is better, do you know where and what Island we can get a visa extension?
Thank you for any help!
#1 HollyN has been a member since 13/7/2012. Posts: 18
What you're referring to is visa exemption, not tourist visa which is obtained at a Thai embassy/consulate outside Thailand and allows for a longer stay (60 days). If initially flying into Thailand visa-exempt it's 30 days so try to make the most use of that before you side-trip to other countries and return by land (15 days) or air (30 days).
A visa-exempt entry can only be extended 7 days, but a tourist visa can be extended 30 days. Both are done at any immigration office in Thailand for 1900 baht. If at any time you just want to grab 15 more days visa-exempt, do a border run to one of the valid border crossings. http://www.travelfish.org/border_crossings/thailand
It's not the question you were asking but have you worked out exactly how you're going to see Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam and travel between these three countries overland without doing any flying in just three weeks?
With so little time you either need to cut out at least one country or cut down on your Thai island hopping time.
eg. Forget Laos. Go overland to Siem Reap from Bangkok, bus to Phnom Penh and go overland to Ho Chi Minh from there. Vietnam would still feel quite rushed because it's a very long thin country but it might be just about doable to work your way up to Hanoi in two weeks. From there you could fly back to Bangkok on Air Asia and get your 30 day stamp.
SBE has a good point. Regardless of which direction you do the classic SE Asian loop plus beach time in three weeks is barely doable and probably requires some internal flights. Cambodia (Siem Reap and Phnom Penh) can be done in 5 days, and northern Laos can be done in a week, but getting between countries needs to be factored in, and Vietnam in a week is borderline ridiculous. Might want to reconsider your timetable and route.