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This article covers everything a backpacker needs to know about tourist visas for Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Cambodia, the Philippines, South Korea and India.

You will also learn about the border crossings in these countries, like where and what these land crossings are all about.

First, some general tips!

  • If you're applying before departure, you should allow some time to get it. How long you have to wait depends on the embassy. Like, when I applied for my Indian tourist permit in Oslo, I had to wait for a week.

  • The validity starts running from the day it was issued, not the day from you arrive the country!

  • To save money, do not overstay!

  • Check whether it's valid for single or multiple entries. Let`s say your plan is to travel in and out of India. You will then need a tourist permit with multiple entries.

In some cases, it isn't practical to get a visa before your departure because it may expire before your even reach the particular country.

  • So, if you're planning to pick it up along the road, bring a bunch of passport-sized photos!

  • Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and India charge a fee for issuing it. So take this into account when you're sorting out your backpacking budget. Like, if time is short, you might have to pay extra for a permit to be issued faster than normal.

  • Carry enough US dollars because this is the currency when paying at the border crossings to Laos and Cambodia.

Note: When you arrive at the airport, you have to fill out an arrival card.

You'll be asked to fill out where in Thailand you're going to stay. If you haven`t made arrangements with any guesthouses, I've experienced that it's good enough to write that you will stay in "Banglamphu area" (the backpacker area in Bangkok). If you have pre-booked a room at a specific guesthouse, you can of course write it down.

Considering visa run?

Many backpackers prefer this because:

  1. It's difficult to know exactly when you arrive in that particular country. The point with backpacking is NOT knowing exactly when and where you`re going...

  2. Change of plans -

    Example: If you apply for an Indian permit before departure, but decide to skip the traveling in India you just lost money...

  3. Knowing that you don't need to arrive in that particular country within a certain time, gives you a sense of freedom.

... the positive side about obtaining it in advance is that you save time at the airport and border crossings. If you already have one, you don't need to fill out boring and countless application forms and you can just pass through.

Note: Since you're going backpacking, your focus is the Tourist Visa. This means that you're visiting a country for tourism purposes. It also means that you can't work on this kind of permit.

view of mekong river in huay xai laos

The Rules

I will guide you through the requirements for each country, costs and where you can renew it! Click on the links below.







South Korea

Hong Kong

river border crossing to huay xai in north laos

Border crossings in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and India

Want to cross the border, but don't know where?

You'll read about the most popular border crossings in these countries, prices, opening times, what to watch out for and more!

Pearl from the backpacking forum:

Vietnam tourist visa for Scandinavians

Visa Updates and Information

Updating information on visas, prices and border crossings can be tough, because they change at a regular basis.

Do you have a piece of valuable visa information that can be of help to this site?

Share what you know, and I'm sure that you will help a lot of travelers, including me! I appreciate all your help!

PS: I reserve the right to delete a submission if it's not original, duplicate content, or if it's too short.

By original I mean the content is NOT copied from another website. That also means your own website. I will check if the content you provide is duplicate or not. Sorry for sounding strict, but I aim to deliver excellent and original content to my readers - that's my priority no. 1.

Any submission below 300 words will be deleted.

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See Other Important Visa Messages

Click below to see Visa messages from other visitors to this page.

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Renewing Thai Tourist Visa in Myanmar (Burma): Border Trip to Ranong/Khaewthoung Not rated yet
My glimpse of Burma in 2008 lasted only for a couple of hours. My intention was to renew my Thai visa stamp. First I arranged a 'visa-tour' into Burma …

Crossing the Border from Thailand to Cambodia -- What to Watch Out for in Hat Lek and Koh Kong Border Crossing Not rated yet
In early April 2010, we decided to cross the border to Cambodia through the border crossing of Hat Lek and Koh Kong. What a big mistake! I've been slightly …

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