We have made it to Cambodia’s capital ‘Phnom Penh’ – so today we have to visit the Thai Embassy to apply for our Thai Visa’s… Tick Tock ⏰
One of the problems with travelling by bicycle, is we are always cycling to a timescale due to the Visas for each country (length of stay) some are 30 days, some 60 or 90 days, so this means we have to plan ahead, as not all countries offer e-visas (online visa) and because we are entering and exiting borders by land, there are specific border points that you are permitted to enter and exit through, again, due to us crossing by land it’s a completely different set of rules, and some borders simply don’t accept the e-visa as they don’t have the facilities to scan the barcode, as we experienced when entering Cambodia from Ha Tien in Vietnam, at the Ha Tien border you have to buy the visa there, but then the border further to the north of Vietnam you can apply for an online e-visa! 🤣 our Cambodia visa permits us to stay for 30 days, which is plenty of time for us to cycle north to Thailand.
We have to apply for some visas at an embassy in a different country, the problem there is that some visas start the day you apply, so it’s not always possible to get them too far in advance as we wouldn’t have enough time to cycle to said border, but then you are governed by which country has the nearest embassy, so it can be a case of racing to the border!
Here’s a couple examples..
China 2 year Multi Visa: This one was our most important visa, as cycling through China was the only way we could make it to Southeast Asia and the rest of the world, as Iran and Russia were not possible at the time.. more bureaucratic rubbish!
We applied for this visa in the UK before we set off on our tour, with it being a 2 year multi entry it gave us enough time to reach the country, it also meant we were permitted to stay in China for 90 days at a time, so we used Taiwan and Hongkong as our break points (leaving the country) as China stamps you out of their country when leaving to enter both Taiwan and Hongkong (so no China, you do not own these countries!)
90 day Vietnam Visa: We had to apply for this type of visa at the Vietnamese Consulate in Hongkong, but there was plenty of time on the expiry for us to cycle to the border of Vietnam, again it had to be a specific border due to land crossing.
Thailand’s Visa policy changes every other month, they are making it very difficult for people, basically due to the amount of ex-pats living there on tourist visas doing monthly visa runs, so it’s all changing, for instance if you fly in to Thailand you are given 30 days for free, but as we are entering by land they only give 15 days for free, or you can buy an e-visa, but that’s only 30 days, so if you want to stay longer you need to extend the visa at an immigration office in Thailand, but there’s no guarantee they will grant this.
For Thailand, we require at least 2 months, so that’s why we have to apply at the Embassy here in Phnom Penh Cambodia, again the validity is long enough for us to cycle from here to the border of Thailand, we will then extend our visa at an immigration office in Thailand should we need to, but that’s purely down to the officials at immigration! (ideally we want 3 months due to our planned route)
So it’s always best to have a plan B, and at times plan C and D… when cycling if there’s border issues, we may have to turn round and head to a different border, or worse case a different country, if there are any!
To all countries out there, if you want people to visit your country then please make the whole visa/border process much easier, otherwise don’t invite foreigners and close your borders, simple!
“just a load more bureaucratic rubbish”