Thailand is one of the most visited tourist destination in south east Asia. Here I want to share my experience on getting a visa for Thailand.
Generally Indian citizens need a visa to enter Thailand. You can get it in two ways:
- Get a visa before leaving India. I haven’t done this. You can visit VFS website to know about this more.
- Apply for a Visa-On-Arrival(VOA) when you enter Thailand.
I entered Thailand from Laos(via Nakhon Phanom border point) two times – on Dec 2016 and then again on Feb 2017. Both times I applied for a 15 days(this is the maximum you can get) VOA, and I got it without a problem.
Note that, as of September 2016, the Thailand VOA fee for Indians is 2000 Bhat. Make sure you check the Thai embassy website before planning your trip. Thailand is notorious for their frequent changing in immigration rules.
For getting a VOA you need the following documents:
- Photocopy of your passport(sometimes they don’t ask for this).
- One passport size photo.
- A confirmed flight ticket showing that you leave the country within 15 days of your arrival. Yes, you have to show that you leave by air. This is a must. Even if you plan on to visit another neighboring country by road, you still have to show the flight ticket.
- Hotel booking reservations showing that your accommodation in Thailand for the entire duration has been taken care off. Out of the two times I entered Thailand, one time they didn’t ask me about this at all, and another time, I had to simply tell the name of a hotel in Thailand I would be staying. In any case, I suggest you do a dummy booking using www.booking.com without paying any advance and carry a printout with you.
Now documents No 1,2 and 4 are pretty straight forward. But what can you do about the flight ticket, if you don’t want to fly out of Thailand? What I personally did was, to book a flight ticket which had the option to cancel the ticket in 24 hours with full refund.
Orbitz is such a cool website which allows confirmed flight ticket booking with a 24 hour cancellation policy. Here is a sample list of flights from Bangkok to Bangalore on 28th April 2017. Note that, not all the flights can be cancelled. So book any flight with a Free cancel within 24 hours tag, on the day you want to enter Thailand and once you cross the border and get your VOA, just cancel it the same day.
The immigration department doesn’t check (at least not in my case) if you have cancelled your tickets or not. By the end of my 15 day visa, I went back to Laos by road. The Thai immigration didn’t ask me, why I haven’t flown out of the country as I had planned. So all went well. And I would do the same thing again if I have to.
I did my first backpacking trip last month. I started the trip on May third week and ended it on July first week. It was amazing, with positive and negative experiences. I have read many posts about the positive sides, so I am not going to write about them. This one is about the negative side – about domestic racism in our own country.
It seems to me that backpacking ( I mean travelling , please don’t confuse it with tourism) is a concept which Indians find still hard to digest. Only hotels and restaurant people know about it, but mostly through interaction with foreign travelers. They have hardly seen Indian travelers.
People know about Indian tourists. Mostly they are the ones who want to take a break from the normal life, comes with a bag full of cash and finds joy in spending it and clicking Facebook profile pictures in front of tourist attractions. Unfortunately these tourists have a bad name to be noisy and making a mess out of the place. One of my friends who is in the restaurant business, said that he doesn’t like Indian tourists because they are very impatient and keep demanding for fast serving of the food. In general they lack respect for the waiter.
Sadly these feelings have affected their attitude towards Indian travelers too. In many situations I have felt the you are not welcome vibe from many restaurants. This goes the same with guest houses too. When you ask for a room the owners either say that there is no room vacant (when the people who stay there say that a lot of rooms are unoccupied) or say double the usual price. To avoid this, after a while I used to bring a western friend for room hunt.
I think the situation will change once lot more Indian people start traveling. I have hope.