I've got a 12 month tourist visa with 90 day maximum stays. I live in Kunming.
The closest international border to Kunming is the one with Vietnam in Hekou. The next closest is the one with Laos in Xishuangbanna.
The last several times I needed to make a visa run, I went to the Lao border. It always worked well, because the Chinese and Lao border control stations are on opposite sides of a small, jungle-covered hill. Also, the Lao border offers visa-on-arrival. I would always follow the same routine: leave China, then re-enter China minutes later. I never even entered Laos or had to buy the Lao visa.
But the Lao border is considerably further away from Kunming than the Vietnamese one. And the bus ticket considerably more expensive. That's why I'm inquiring now to find out if its possible for me to repeat the same routine at the Vietnamese border or not.
The problem is that Vietnam doesn't offer visa-on-arrival. You have to get a visa ahead of time at the consulate in Kunming. Which would obviously make that a more expensive proposition. Furthermore, the border is on a bridge over the Red River, so I'm not sure if it would be feasible to pull what I did in Laos, leaving China only to re-enter again minutes later.
Anyone with any experience in this matter, your feedback would be very much appreciated! Thanks
I have the exact same question. I'll be doing the trip by motorcycle. Ride to Hekou is ~450km. Ride to Xishuangbanna is 550km.
I know there's a Vietnamese consulate in Kunming, visa costs about 350rmb, takes three days. Possible I have to leave the bike on the Chinese side, some police station..
Did you try the turnaround without entering Vietnam? I've heard of people doing it, but can't vouch for its legality or whether it will work in every case.
I'll be trying just that later this week.
My goal is to leave China, then re-enter China without ever officially entering Vietnam (something I have done successfully several times at the Lao border in Mohan).
But I went ahead and got the Vietnamese visa, in the case that it doesn't work.
I once got grilled hard at the Vietnamese border, so I want to make sure I've got the documents to do a real official crossing if need be.
I'll report back on the details after I get back.
@Geogramatt, How did that visa run work out?
I too am eager to hear if your visa run was successful.
Maybe he has been in a Vietnamese jail for the last month, something to do with visa issues.
Quote: "Maybe he has been in a Vietnamese jail for the last month, something to do with visa issues."
I hope not, but that is a thought.
I went down to Hanoi to get my tourist visa. I've been told it's not possible to use the embassy in Hanoi. Took me four days in total but the trip was a true adventure. Four days spent traveling. Visa application took half a day only.