This winter, I'm planning to travel from Kunming to the southern countries - Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia.
I'm wondering if I HAVE TO have a pre-bought ticket out of the country I want to visit in order to even receive a Visa on Arrival.
When I was to the Vietnamese consulate, they told me that I don't need a visa at all in order to enter Vietnam up to 15 days, but, I have to already have a ticket out of the country when entering Vietnam. Then, I browsed thought the Malaysian information on the Internet and they say that I have to have an outgoing flight ticket in order to enter the country (again, no visa...or a Visa on Arrival for free, not sure on this one. And they said nothing about the overland crossing to Thailand etc. via trains or buses).
But, when I asked at the Thai consulate, they said I don't need anything, just to pay 1000 at the border and I'll get my VOA for 15 days.
Laos, info too confusing to even make anything out of it.
Does anyone have any experience with all this stuff? Is it OK to enter without outgoing tickets, or I really have to purchase all the tickets and 100% plan my trip beforehand, which is a pain in the butt for a 2-month trip? I don't even know HOW to buy all the train/bus tickets in Laos, Vietnam or Malaysia etc. (I want to travel overland) when I'm currently in China.
Don't know about anyone else, but the number of times I have been asked to show an onward ticket for visas on arrival = 0. If you are crossing land borders I think its less of an issue than arriving at airports. But again, even flying to airports I have never been asked to show onward travel documents.
Incidentally my travel agent friend in the west said what she did was book an onward travel ticket, print it out then cancel the ticket straight away to get around this problem (though she also tells me she only once got asked for onward travel documents when going into France). I think she used one of those travel agent booking systems though, gullivers or something to do it. If you are really concerned and know someone thats a travel agent, they can probably send you a fake ticket.
Thank you very much!
Yes, I am a bit worried since I'll be just backpacking with my girlfriend and the trip is pretty long (across 5 countries + China), so getting stuck somewhere on a border crossing, and even so on a low-cost budget, might be pretty problematic.
Something to remember though is that although this is the way it was for me (having a New Zealand passport), it is most likely different for other nationalities and depends on your demeanour and the stamps in your passport. The border crossing staff the world over treat you completely differently based on what you look like, your nationality and the visa stamps in your passport. While travelling with friends from other countries I have walked through immigration 99% of the time while sometimes friends are given the third degree because they have been to Indonesia or even Italy (as in the case with my travel agent friend in France) or present themselves aggressively or as complete messes.
If your trip is limited to SE Asia though and you are a westerner, its likely you will be waved through, stamped and smiled at a lot so I wouldn't worry. China and HK are a bit more hardcore, but not by much.
I back in KM last may after 9 months backpacking, this is my feedback:
-Vietnam: got 30 days Visa in KM, did not need to show any flight ticket, don't remember how much paid;
-Laos: got 30 days visa at border for 30 $;
-Thailand: got a free 15 days visa got at border;
-Cambodia：got 30 days Visa in KM for 200 kuai;
-Malaysia: got free 90 day at border；
-Philippines: got free 28 days visa at the airport but had to show proof of onward ticket.
My passport is Italian.
Enjoy your trip
Thanks a lot for your responses!
I'm happy to see that most of the time nothing is needed... But just in case, if they wanted to see an onward ticket but I already was at the border (without it), what should I do? Return to the nearest city again and try to buy one? Or is it somehow manageable at the border itself?
I guess you won't know anything anyway, since you are not the border police, but my passport is Russian with 10(?)-year (Permanent Resident) visa from the Czech Republic, includes Japanese and Chinese visas and stamps from Italy, Germany, Slovakia, Ukraine and Russia. :) Well, just in case. :)
I hope they wouldn't want anything in those 5 countries I've listed above.