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Visas and border crossings forum

Arriving in Thailand without a booking for onward travel

Posted by clairenz on 25/12/2011 at 11:54

Hi there,

My boyfriend and I are both New Zealanders, and will be flying from Kathmandu to Bangkok on the 31st of March 2012. We then plan on travelling north and crossing into Laos at the Chiang Khong/Huayxai border crossing.

We are worried that because we do not have an onward flight booked out of Thailand within 30 days, that we will be refused the visa/boarding of our plane to Bangkok. Has anybody had experience of this recently? i.e. flying into Thailand without onward travel booked? I have read that you can get away with it, but I don't want to find out in Kathmandu that we won't be allowed to board this fairly pricey flight!

I have thought about pre-booking some sort of transport into Laos to use as evidence we will leave in 30 days, but am unsure of exactly what to book and how, for this particular border crossing (we want to cross here so we can do the slow boat down the Mekong river).

Any similar experiences and/or tips would be greatly appreciated!


#1 clairenz has been a member since 25/12/2011. Posts: 2

Posted by clairenz on 25/12/2011 at 13:01

Oh, by the way the airline we are flying is Thai Airways. Anyone flown into Thailand with this airline and no onwards travel?

#2 clairenz has been a member since 25/12/2011. Posts: 2

Posted by altmtl on 25/12/2011 at 16:59


#3 altmtl has been a member since 18/5/2009. Location: Canada. Posts: 992
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Posted by MADMAC on 25/12/2011 at 22:10

I came here without an onward ticket and stayed four and a half years now. Course, that was a while ago.

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Posted by busylizzy on 25/12/2011 at 23:05

It's a risk that you have to weigh you up. Each time I've flown into Thailand (from NZ, and recently from Laos, and from other SEA countries) I have never been asked for proof of onward travel. But I have heard of others on this forum being asked for proof when they check in (particularly when flying in from the UK, I believe). If it happens, they are forced to buy a ticket at the airport which they may or may not use. I think some airlines are more concerned than others.

You could consider looking for a cheap 'throw away' Air Asia (or Jetstar) ticket next time they are having a promo if you are concerned. It would be cheaper than buying one at the airport as you are trying to depart. If you dont' use the ticket, you can still claim a portion of the ticket price back as a refund (the departure tax component less a a fee). You won't get the entire ticket price back but you'll get something.

If you decide to take the chance (which most of us do I think) it might be helpful to at least have a typed-up itinerary that shows your intentions to leave Thailand (even if overland) within the visa-free period. It's better than nothing...

#5 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,153
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Posted by DLuek on 26/12/2011 at 09:45 TF writer

When I took a New York to Bangkok one-way flight in October the Cathay Pacific staff did ask me to show proof of onward travel. Luckily I had prepared by booking the "throw away" ticket, in this case a Bangkok to Saigon one-way that cost me less than US $40. I found it surprising that they called my name on the loud speaker mere minutes before the flight departed to ask me for the proof... I wonder what would have happened if I didn't have the "throw away" ticket....

#6 DLuek has been a member since 19/6/2008. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,177
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Posted by MADMAC on 26/12/2011 at 23:17

My mother was staying 33 days and when she checked in, the airline furniched her a fake ticket indicating she was returning within 30 days. Of course, the Thai authorities did not check anyway. She did a border run to Laos and was good to go.

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Posted by adclesta on 27/12/2011 at 02:36

I flew into Thailand 3-4 times this year and the only time it happened to me was on a Thai airways flight from Tokyo to Bangkok. I didn't have an onward ticket, but I assured them at the check in desk I had sufficient funds for onward travel, she made a call to her manager and they were fine with it. No questions at the other end either, suppose I might have been lucky though

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Posted by JulietteR on 6/1/2012 at 21:08

I just flew into Bangkok from Seoul on Korean Air a few days ago - I wasn't asked for a return ticket by either the airline or immigration in Bangkok. But someone was saying that they flew into Bangkok on Emirates and they asked for a return ticket before boarding. So I would say it really depends on the airline. I haven't heard of anyone being asked for a return ticket by immigration in Bangkok. But I would really suggest having a throw away ticket, as other people have mentioned.

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Posted by valery_silver on 19/1/2012 at 11:14

I also didn't have a return ticket from Thailand. Then airways stuff asked me for it I showed them my e-ticket from Vietnam and said that I would travel by land. They thought a little and wrote on my ticket something like "frequent traveler".

#10 valery_silver has been a member since 11/12/2011. Posts: 13

Posted by sortapundit on 30/1/2012 at 00:00

My girlfriend and I have entered Thailand four or five times in the last 12 months, and we've never had onward tickets booked. We usually fly in from Hong Kong, and we've never been questioned either by the airline (Air Asia) or immigration at Suvarnabhumi. What's more, my better half is Mongolian, so she tends to get a little more attention than tourists from western nations ('western' meaning 'white', of course). No hassles at all.

China has a similar rule about onward travel, and whenever I apply for my Chinese visa at the Ulaanbaatar embassy I visit a local travel agent and ask them to give me a provisional e-ticket for a flight I'll never take. If I don't pay within a few days the ticket is cancelled, but I still have my printed 'proof' that I'll be leaving the country.

#11 sortapundit has been a member since 29/1/2012. Posts: 3

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