Please note that this information was posted in 2016.
The only planning in terms of route we have done before setting off is to look into the visa and border situation for these countries:
Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Turkey
We obtained visas for all these countries.
Yes! That’s right, me a British citizen cycling got a visa for Iran!! If you want more info on this please read this here and then leave a comment and your email and we’ll contact you.
It’s a good idea to ensure that you have at least 6 months validity on your passport when applying for all visas.
Take a stack of passport photos with you for your visa applications and always keep your departure forms safe. Women need some passport photos with their head (no hair showing) covered for Iran.
If you are quitting your job before leaving its also a really good idea to steal some company headed paper (preferably stamped at the bottom if your company has an official stamp). Visa applications may need proof of employment so having some company paper to print onto is a good idea.
If you’re not taking a laptop we would advise mocking up some simple documents such as a basic letter and cv formats which you can edit easily.
Flying into Vietnam
Visa required before travel.
On 22 June 2015, the Embassy received the formal notification that the Government of Viet Nam decided to exempt visa for British, German, French, Spanish and Italian citizens travelling to Viet Nam (for all purposes) for a period of up to 15 days, and on the basis of meeting all conditions prescribed by Vietnamese laws.
Applying for a loose leaf visa which doesn’t require sending your passports in is possible.
Length of Visa: 30-90 days, single and multi-entry both possible
Extension Possible: 30 days or 90 days depending on the type of visa
Vietnam to Cambodia
Suggested Route Based on Macmillan Cycle Tour
Visa on arrival at border. No prior registration required. Payment must be made in USD (we paid $35). e-visa also possible: www.evisa.gov.kh / firstname.lastname@example.org
Length of Visa: 30 days
Extension Possible: 30 days extra
Bavet, Kaam Samnor and Phnom Den crossings are open to foreign travellers and issue Cambodian visas.
The other border crossings at Trapeang Phlong, Prek Chak, O Yadaw and Trapeang Srer are reported to be open to foreign travellers and in some cases issue Cambodian visas.
We have also read about a $25 departure tax from Cambodia…
Cambodia to Thailand
You would think that Thailand would be the simplest visa situation but the rules regarding border crossings and visa exemptions make it more complicated for cycle tourers and we have the added complications of needing a multi-entry visa for Thailand.
Thai Tourist Visa Exemption
Passport holders from 41 countries and 1 special administrative region – Hong Kong SAR – are not required to obtain a visa when entering Thailand for tourism purposes and will be permitted to stay in Thailand for a period not exceeding 30 days on each visit.
If such foreigners enter Thailand at immigration checkpoints which border neighbouring countries (overland crossing), they will be allowed to stay for 15 days each time.
Since 20 December 2013, Nationals of (G7) the following countries who enter via a land crossing or enter via an airport will be entitled to a 30 day visa exemption, UK, U.S.A, Canada, Italy, Germany, Japan, France.
Foreigners who enter Thailand under the Tourist Visa Exemption category and would like to leave and re-enter may only stay for a cumulative duration which does not exceed 90 days and is within a 6-month period from the date of first entry.
Foreigners entering Thailand by any means under the Tourist Visa Exemption category are required at the port of entry to have proof of onward travel (confirmed air, train, bus or boat tickets) to leave Thailand within 30 days of the arrival date (otherwise a tourist visa must be obtained).
If we need to stay longer than 15 days we need to apply and pay for a Tourist Visa for Paddy – we won’t have proof of onward travel either – which probably means applying for a Tourist Visa before we reach the border.
Extension Possible: yes for both types but need to be applied for at the Immigration Bureau located in Bangkok.
Applying for a Thai Tourist Visa
It is possible to apply for tourist visas for Thailand (circa $40 for a 60 day double-entry) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. This takes 3 days.
Siem Reap looks like it is possible via an agent who has connections with the embassy in PP but would require us to send our passports to PP. Might be safer to do it when cycling through PP.
- Single entry tourist visa will be valid for 3 months (you must enter Thailand within the validity of visa from the date of issue)
- Double/triple entry will be valid for 6 months (you must enter Thailand on your final visit before expiry date)
Thailand to Myanmar
Arriving and departing across land is definitely possible.
When travelling over land to Myanmar, you must always obtain your visa beforehand; it is not currently possible to get Myanmar visas at the border and e-visas are not valid for border crossings.
Bangkok visa address:
132, Sathorn Nua Road, BANGKOK 10500
(662) 234-4698, 233-7250, 234-0320, 637-9406
Nearest Train Station – Surasak
- The Visa Section is now open for applications only from 9:00 AM to 12:00 Noon.
- Afternoons 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM are only for pickup.
- Bring your passport, a photocopy of your passport, 2 passport photos and an address of where you will be staying in Myanmar.
Apparently 4 official crossings are now open:
Myanmar to China
Blog on getting to china on bicycles.
Reply on forum re Chinese Visa
Our experience of applying for a Chinese visa in Bangkok.
Our experience of crossing the border between Myanmar and China (Muse) – check out the comments from other cyclists at the bottom too.
Will require bank statement and other proof documents. You apply in in Bangkok via the Embassy and the Bank of China. Takes at least 4 days. Need proof of $100 for each day of your visa.
Central Asia (check out Carvanistan forum pages for latest info)
Kyrgyzstan – free 60 day visa on arrival!
Tajikistan including GBAO permit – one day $55 in Bishkek – easy!
Uzbekistan – see our blog here re applying in Bishkek
Turkmenistan – see our blog here re applying in Bishkek and experience with the e-code.