I'm ready to bounce in a matter of weeks. What I had previously planned to do was to fly in to Bangkok on a 90day roundtrip ticket, then explore the region (Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, maybe Indo if I have the cash for a ticket there and back), taking each new destination as I decide to go there, and then return to Bangkok to fly out at the end of my travels.
One of my goals right now is to teach in the region, preferably in Korea or Taiwan, or perhaps Japan. I just found out that my friend from high school is now teaching in Korea. I'd really like to modify my plan to explore (perhaps for a shorter time than previously anticipated), and then go to Korea to determine if I can also find work teaching there.
My question first and foremost is this: Assuming that I need a ticket out of the country in order to get into most of them (Thailand especially), how can I plan this? How can I buy plane tickets into the country with the plan of visiting another following, without a specific timeline?
Any suggestions would really be appreciated. You guys have been really helpful with other topics. I know this is kind of an obtuse question, but surely someone else has done something like this.
My initial floating itinerary looked like this:
Land in Bangkok, explore city for a few days
Travel to Northern Bangkok, (stop in Ayutthaya? Sukhothai?)explore Chiang Mai, Chiang RaiPai until my 30 days tourist visa runs out or I get excited to go to another place
Travel down Mekong river on a slow boat
Explore Laos (Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, Vientane)Travel to Cambodia and explore (Phnom Penh, Siem Reap)
Return to Thailand, this time going to the beaches and islands. Get SCUBA PADI certified. Full Moon Party. Koh Phangnan. James Bond Island. Koh Phi Phi. Koh Samui?
Now I want to do the above, and also travel to South Korea afterwards. If I don't know how long I'll be doing the above, how can I begin my travel with a plan of ending up in SK?
You don't need proof you are departing to enter Laos or Cambodia, the just expect you to be departing before your Visa runs out. Also, in Luang Prabang and Vientiane (probably Pakse and Savannakhet too, but I didn't check) you can always apply for a visa extension. Outside of Vientiane they'll charge extra to ship your passport up to Vientiane, get the extension for you, and then bring it back. You'll be a couple days without your passport - but its harmless to be without your passport in Laos (so far as I've encountered).
If you really want to explore Laos, I think you should go further down the Mekong to Savannakhet for a little while, Pakse, Champaskake, and Si Phon Don (4,000 Islands) on your way to Cambodia. That way you can overland into Cambodia and go directly to Siem Reap without re-entering Thailand. After SR explore the rest of Cambodia as you like and then get a flight from PP to Bangkok so that you get another 30 days instead of entering from overland and getting 15 days only. As well, flights are much cheaper from PP to BKK than from SR to BKK.
So - that is how you manage for travel to the other countries, but it's interesting this thing about having to prove you'll be leaving Thailand. I've heard about it, but every time I land I just give them my passport and they never ask to see any proof of departure ticket. I know China can be more strict on this - but never had the experience in BKK. As well, when I've entered overland from Laos nobody asked to see a proof that I'd depart, just my passport.
So - I'd first see what others say about it - but maybe you can wait to book your ticket to South Korea until you are ready to fly from PP to BKK - that way you know you'll have about 30 more day sand it'll be easier to pick a departure date.
The quick & dirty answer is to get a Thai tourist visa before your trip. When flying from your home country the airlines are required to have you show proof of either a paid flight ticket out of Thailand within 30 days or a Thai visa (obtained at your nearest Thai embassy or consulate). Once you're on the flight to Thailand there's no hassle and a tourist visa will get you a 60-day entry, and crossing to Laos and Cambodia none of the officials ever ask to see onward tickets or whatever.