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Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia forum

is 6 months in south east asia too long??

Posted by g_singh on 3/7/2007 at 20:15

hi, my first post here, after having a great package holiday in thailand last year me and the wife are planning to do a longer stint and see more of the south east asia but on a budget.

the wife feels to have a good experience of this area we need at least 6 months, from the iteneries i have looked at it seems that 3 months is all you need to cover the main spots in a nice easy pace.

We want to cover north/central thailand down to about krabi, a few islands, cambodia, laos, vietnam and bali.

advise would be appreciated...


#1 g_singh has been a member since 3/7/2007. Posts: 24

Posted by LuckyJo on 4/7/2007 at 15:00


My first post too!

I thought i would drop a line as i have been in asia for the past six months and love it. I keep putting off the rest of flights.

I spent the majority of my time in Thailand, and depending on when you travel i would suggest heading to Chang Mai around April for Songkran. Its a new year festival celebrated with a huge water fight and lots of floats which represent all the temples in the area.
I only spent a week and a half in Vietnam and wished i had spent longer but i was on a trip, i think that Vietnam is one of the best places i visited. In particular Hanoi, Halong Bay and Hoi An and of course HCMC.
I also did Cambodia and Laos and have just returned to Malyasia from a 3 week trip to Bali. I enjoyed Bali but it took me a while to get used to the hassle that you got from people asking if you want transport or to look in there shop etc. etc. I stayed in Sanur which is in the south and a lot quieter than Kuta. I also stayed in Ubud, Lovina and Amed and then ended up in Kuta. If you go to Bali i would strongly suggest you visit Lombok and in particular the Gili Islands. They are lovely and there is no transport, only horse and cart and push bike and its so peaceful. From Lombok you can visit the Komodo islands to see the dragons. Im hoping to go back to do this.

Good luck with planning your trip. Jo

#2 LuckyJo has been a member since 4/7/2007. Posts: 5

Posted by g_singh on 4/7/2007 at 15:14

Hi Jo,

we are planning to fly out mid october, (friends wedding stopped us getting out earlier!) this means we can time it for the vegetarian festival in phuket as we are both vegi's.

your itennery sounds like something we are hoping to do, ie. spend most of out time in thailand and use that at as a central hub to other countries.

because we are planning to stay a long while in thailand, im a little concerned about the visa situation, we are both from the uk and want to book return flights, but the max visa is only 90 days, if we decide to get the 30 day visitor visa, is it just a case of hopping to another country and getting another 30 days in thailand on the way in again, which we can do until we fly back. Can any issues be foreseen doing this?

#3 g_singh has been a member since 3/7/2007. Posts: 24

Posted by LuckyJo on 5/7/2007 at 18:33


Before i left the UK i got a double entry visa to Thailand from the Consulate in Hull not London. (Consulate turn it around quickly) I only got the double entry visa as i was staying over 30 days before travelling to Vietnam and then coming back into Thailand.

I cant see any problems with you hopping to other coutries, i did it once and had no issues. Some people say you need to have onward travel out of Thailand for a 30 day visa but i never had any flights booked as i have been doing it as i go along and nobody questioned it. It is so common for people to do visa runs into other countries and a lot of travel agencys offer 'visa run' trips! You will both be fine.

If your travelling to the same places i have been, you can get Laos and Camobodian visas on arrival to the country. My Vietnam one i had to get in Bangkok which took a couple of days to process.
I would suggest that you and your wife take a number of spare passport photos with you for visas.

I hope this has helped.


#4 LuckyJo has been a member since 4/7/2007. Posts: 5

Posted by g_singh on 5/7/2007 at 19:21

hello, thats very useful. as you are there at the moment and doing/done pretty much what we will be, how much should i budget for all inc. i have estimated £4k pp plus flights.

point taken for the passport pics.


#5 g_singh has been a member since 3/7/2007. Posts: 24

Posted by LuckyJo on 6/7/2007 at 12:54

I think that will be more than enough, i have spent nearly that is six months and i have not really done the hostel thing either. ha ha. Bit of a posh packer! I have bought gifts and shipped them home and paid for my internal flights ( a lot of them) accommodation and food and the odd haircut for all that.
I book most of my flights with Air asia as they are so cheap although you could use public transport.
www.seat61.com is a good site to look up train times and prices etc for SE Asia.

#6 LuckyJo has been a member since 4/7/2007. Posts: 5

Posted by g_singh on 6/7/2007 at 15:15

thanks for the info jo, funny how you are the only person being helpful?? it really is appreciated!

ahh, another thing, my missus is already planning her shopping, and this time she says there's going to be no stopping her. Im not wanting to lug her stuff around, so would like to know what is the best/cheapest way to send stuff back to the uk.

#7 g_singh has been a member since 3/7/2007. Posts: 24

Posted by LuckyJo on 6/7/2007 at 21:15

ha ha, i have sent things from Thailand, Vietnam and Bali and all have got home safely. There are loads of places around that offer services to send things home but i found actually going to a post office is a little cheaper. But so far the cheapest place i have found to send things back is Malaysia.

Most post offices sell you boxes in various different sizes and all you have to do is fill in the various forms. I send most of my things by surface as im not going to be home for a while. This service takes 2-3 months but i found if i send it from a post office its so much quicker? Bizarre.

If your wife is putting out all the stops then perhaps you should double your budget or tripple it!! ha ha.

#8 LuckyJo has been a member since 4/7/2007. Posts: 5

Posted by g_singh on 13/7/2007 at 20:42

hello again,

i've been doing some reading into the 30 day visa and havng an onward flight thing, im hearing that they are tightening up on this, have you experienced this recently? as this could really mess up our plans.


#9 g_singh has been a member since 3/7/2007. Posts: 24

Posted by LuckyJo on 14/7/2007 at 17:54


I never had a problem, they were tightening up on the amount or renewal visas being issued. For instance i think if you renew your visa for more than 3 times you have to leave Thailand for 3 or 6 months before going back. People who are staying out there long term would just fly out of Thailand or to the nearest border and then come back but they are cracking down on this. I re entered Thailand several times and i was never once asked about my onward travel.

I think you will be fine. Although you could apply for a visa through the consulate in Hull or speak to them. I found them to be really useful before coming out. But of course you will have to pay for visas then, I paid about 75 pounds for a double entry one and the only reason i got a visa was because i was staying in Thailand over 30 days before travelling to Cambodia.

Hope this makes sense.


#10 LuckyJo has been a member since 4/7/2007. Posts: 5

Posted by Guernseystu on 24/7/2007 at 01:18

Don't worry about the return flight requirement. There is always talk of certain procedures being tightened up but so far this is not one of them. The only change that will affect you is the new ruling on 30 day stamps - you are only allowed three in any six month period. For this reason I suggest that you get a double entry tourist visa which will keep you in the country for six months in total.

#11 Guernseystu has been a member since 10/7/2007. Posts: 108

Posted by g_singh on 24/7/2007 at 17:27

thanks bud!

thats useful to know, i would hate to cut short the travelling.

hoping to book tickets soon now! cant wait!

#12 g_singh has been a member since 3/7/2007. Posts: 24

Posted by sonicbum on 2/8/2007 at 15:32

I can confirm that. I just flew into BKK on July 8 on Thai Air from London, and I also asked about the 'onward ticket' requirement, and they all said I didnt need one at all. And when I went through immigration/customs they didnt bring it up either, and I didnt have a visa or anything, they just gave me the 30 day freebie. I plan on running to Burma (from Phuket) to do a visa run next week, and everyone has told me, WORST CASE SCENARIO i could just book a one way ticket out to laos or somewhere close and cheap, and that would work, but EVERYONE ive talked to concerning that has said that has NEVER been brought up... I would assume that since they just made it hard to stay over 90 days without a proper visa, this is accomplishing their goal without making people have to pre-book all thier airfare...

good luck!!!! make sure you post here about your trip, either during or after, LoL.. I will also be in SE Asia for about a year or soo. Im far from backpacking, but im definetly traveling budget. Right now Im staying in Patong Beach, Phuket in a nice guesthouse with hot water, a/c, private bathroom, balcony, cable, fridge, safe deposit box, free wifi in room, for $400 baht a night, which is about $12USD, or 6 pounds.... Im not too sure about the cost of long transportation across the country, but local taxis (with meters) in Bangkok cost about 30-60 bahts for about 30-40 minutes it seemed.... Im renting a little motor bike here for 150 bahts (about $5USD) a day, which can get me all over the island!!!! The only BUDGET BREAKER ive found in this country thus far is ALCOHOL!!!! Stay away from that and your money will go far!!!!!

#13 sonicbum has been a member since 28/7/2007. Posts: 14

Posted by g_singh on 2/8/2007 at 18:37

sonicbum, you have made my day!

sounds like you are travelling pretty much like how we want to, ie not totally slumming it. the missus has already started to create her blog template to fill while travelling, will link to here once we got rolling.

As neither of drink, we shouldnt have issues with over priced booze.

we are now contemplating going to india for a month after we leave se asia, whats the best/cheapest way to do this, shall we book from here(uk)?


#14 g_singh has been a member since 3/7/2007. Posts: 24

Posted by Guernseystu on 3/8/2007 at 15:35

Bum,don't worry about your visa run. I guess you are referring to Victoria Point near Ranong which is a very pleasant and easy border point. The queues on the Thai side are often quite long but you won't have any problem re-entering after visiting Myanmar.

#15 Guernseystu has been a member since 10/7/2007. Posts: 108

Posted by sonicbum on 4/8/2007 at 15:29

"we are now contemplating going to india for a month after we leave se asia, whats the best/cheapest way to do this, shall we book from here(uk)?"

I looked up visa requirements for India, and it APPEARS you will need to get a visa before hand, as opposed to on arrival, but Im not really sure about all that, i will copy and past the info and link i read. If you know the date you want to leave, i personally would book early in advance to bring down the price. If you are not sure about your dates, I would at least do some 'flight searches' on all the major discount websites for different dates and see how much it should cost by booking different flights diffenet times in advance.... when we booked flights (for 6 different people) to rio de janero we all got about the same prices, and some booked 4 months in advance, and some booked about 3 weeks in advance. As far as booking accomidations, i USUALLY book a fairly decent place for the first night or 2, which gives me enough time to find a local, non-advertised place for cheap, or worst case scenario get on the internet and book something for the same day. I realise you might be in some hotspots during high season, so you might need to book your whole stay in some cases... Also, im not sure if you are a Costco/Sam's Club member, but if so, you can go there and get 'passport photos' done for real cheap, and i brought about 10 with me just to have handy for visas and such....

Hey Guenseystu, does Myanmar seems like a place worthy of staying for a day?? Some people told me 2 soldiers just got killed there so its not safe, but people get killed in EVERY country, so id hate to base a countries safety off one 'newspaper headline'....

Who requires a visa?
Required by all

What documents will be required?
Passport valid for at least 8 months required by all.
Application to: Embassy or High Commission (or Consular section at Embassy or High Commission); see Contact Addresses section.

Application requirements:
(a) Passport valid for up to 8 months.
(b) Completed application form. Nationals of Pakistan and Bangladesh must complete special application forms; nationals of Sri Lanka, UK nationals with dual nationality or of other origin, and other special cases, may be required to complete additional application forms. Personal interviews in some cases may also be necessary.
(c) Two passport-size photos. Nationals of Pakistan will require five.
(d) Fee (postal orders or bank drafts only).
(e) Stamped addressed special delivery envelope.
Business (a)-(e) and, (f) A letter from their employer stating the reason of the visit and an invitation from the company in India and a letter of introduction from UK company addressed to the Embassy. Transit (a)-(e) and, (f) Proof of onward travel. Student (a)-(e) and,
(f) Proof of admission to appropriate university/educational institution.

Time required to issue visa:
Personal applications can normally be processed the same day. Postal applications may take up to 15 working days or longer.
For nationals of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, non-UK citizens and Restricted Area Permits: 7 days or sometimes much longer.
For British nationals with dual nationality and other special cases, authorisation from India is required and the time taken to process the visa will vary according to individual cases.
Care should be taken not to apply to late (to avoid unforeseen delays) or too early, since visas are issued on receipt of passport and are valid from date of issue and not date of travel.

What is the cost of a visa?
The following prices are for UK nationals only; prices for other nationals vary. Tourist: £30 (6 months). Business: £30 (6 months); £50 (1 year); £90 (2 years). Transit: £8 (up to 72 hours, single or double-entry). Long-term/Entry (these are only issued to nationals of Indian origins): £90 (5 years). Journalist, Student, Employment and Conference visas are also available (contact the Embassy or High Commission for details).
Note: Nationals of Afghanistan, Argentina, Bangladesh, Jamaica, Korea (Dem Rep), Maldives, Mongolia, Mauritius, Poland, Slovak Republic, South Africa and Uruguay are exempt from visa fees.

Note: (a) The High Commission in London reserves the right to decide on the duration of the visa notwithstanding the minimum fee. (b) Restricted Area Permits are needed to visit some areas (see below). (c) Non-UK nationals applying in the UK need to pay an additional £10 (£15 for US passport holders) unless holding proof of at least 1-year residence in the UK. (d) A £1 fee may be required for postal applications, depending on consulate.

How long is the visa valid for?
Tourist: up to 6 months from date of issue; Business: up to 2 years; Transit: normally 72 hours, valid for 15 days from date of issue; Long-term: up to 5 years, although individual visits are not expected to exceed 6 months.

Other information:
Temporary residence: Prior permission should be sought before entry into India.

Restricted and protected areas: Certain parts of the country have been designated protected or restricted areas that require special permits and in some cases prior government authorisation which is easily obtained. Intent to visit a specific restricted region should be indicated when applying for a visa and a permit will be granted to visit that region only. Passengers are advised to check with India Tourism for up-to-date information before departure.
The following states are subject to some restrictions: Assam, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Manipur, Meghalaya, Sikkim, West Bengal.

Embassy contact information:
Please contact the nearest Indian embassy for information on what documentation you may require to enter India.

#16 sonicbum has been a member since 28/7/2007. Posts: 14

Posted by Guernseystu on 5/8/2007 at 10:38

Excellent information Bum and, to be honest, I wouldn't want to stay in Victoria Point (aka Kaw Thaung or Koh Song) for a night as there is a 3km restriction 'zone' on land crossings into Myanmar. This may have changed now but it cuts down your options. See the place for a day, buy some Burmese sarongs (better than towels), drink some tasty Burmese beer, try the food and then stay in Ranong up at the Hot Springs. Very relaxing.

#17 Guernseystu has been a member since 10/7/2007. Posts: 108

Posted by alisonmilliken on 27/8/2007 at 19:06

I think your trip sounds really great and doable... And believe me 6 months is not too long. I spent 3 years (working) in BKK and it wasn't long enough!
Don't worry about the visa, it is really easy to go around Thailand and use it as a base. Travel around as much of Thailand as you can (it is really different in the differnt regions). But don't forget Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam. If you make side trips to those places as well it will be easy to stay within the 30 day tourist limit.
If you are serious about going to Myanmar (Burma) I have been there and love it. So I can give some advice... It is a totally differnt way to the rest of SE ASia. It is amazing and I think it is important for people to go and see for themselves... even though the government are terrible. You cannot see Myanmar in a daytrip.
Happy planning and if you want more info re Myanmar let me know.

#18 alisonmilliken has been a member since 10/12/2006. Posts: 71

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