Pullman Lijiang Resort & Spa

User profile: Tom69

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  • RegisteredNovember 17, 2010
  • RegionChina
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  • RegisteredNovember 17, 2010

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Forums > Living in Kunming > Chinese driver's licence renewal


My Chinese driver's licence (the 6 year version) is getting close to expiry, it will expire towards the end of this year. I believe I can extend it for 10 years after this. Does anyone know the procedure to do this?

Is it possible to extend the licence on a business visa or another type of visa that is not a residence permit? When I first got my licence I was still on a tourist visa and hadn't yet converted it to a student visa. This process was only completed after I got my licence and then later on I got an employment visa. However, this time I would be in China on a business visa.

Also, are any tests required or is renewal automatic? How far in advance can I renew the licence and how long after it's expiration do I have, without having to start the process again? Do I have to go to the licencing center in Kunming again or could I perhaps renew somewhere like Jinghong? Are Chinese licences now issued in plastic credit card sized format or are they still laminated like the one I was issued nearly 6 years ago?

Thanks for all your help.

Forums > Travel Yunnan > malipao/vietnam border crossing open but..........

There is a lot of back and forth irrelevant stuff on this thread. What I'd like to know is whether the Malipao crossing is an international crossing where foreigners who are NOT Chinese and NOT Vietnamese can cross here. Whether they need a visa or not depends on their nationality (most ASEAN nationals get a 30-day exemption while some select European and a handful of other nations such as Russia, South Korea, Japan and the USA get 15 days) and is such a minor issue that it's not worth discussing here because the same rules would apply here as at any other international border crossing of which there have so far only been 3 between China and Vietnam. I have not seen any official documents that prove that this crossing is international so perhaps the OP is Chinese?

Forums > Travel Yunnan > Self driving to Luang Prabang

@bucko, well, you may find that it's not a good idea to drive to Lao in a Chinese car for the time being anyway because Chinese interests are being targeted by shadowy Hmong/Lao insurgents in Luang Prabang, Vientiane and Saisomboon provinces. Earlier this year, a Chinese SUV was shot at and two Chinese tourists inside killed. Just now a Chinese registered bus travelling from Kunming to Vientiane was shot at, injuring 6 and killing 1.

Chinese plates could make you a target anywhere south of Luang Prabang and north of Vang Vieng even if you're not Chinese yourself, but those blue plates with the one Chinese character stand out.

However, even if they are able to stop the shootings and bombings (yes there was also at least one bombing in Saisomboon) questions are being raised about all the Chinese cars entering Laos, particularly during peak periods like CNY.

Neighboring Thailand is putting a stop to them starting in the next few weeks by requiring advance permission through a Thai based travel agency or tour operator 10 business days before arrival, submission of travel itineraries, 3rd party insurance, a special plate that must be inside the vehicle at all times, traffic orientation for one hour and possibly a Thai temporary driver's licences for citizens of countries who don't possess a licence usable in Thailand(especially for Chinese who don't possess international drivers permits since China is not a signatory to the UN convention on international motor traffic). Apart from this, travel will be permitted only in the border province entered (for example Chiang Rai) with further travel permitted only with a Thai guide.

Convoys will require a guide and police escort, though it is unclear how many vehicles constitutes a convoy.

Motorhomes and motorcycles will be banned from Thai roads altogether, only cars and pickup trucks with no more than 9 seats and a GVM of max. 3500kg will be permitted to enter.

Although these rules will not apply in Laos, if Chinese vehicles keep entering Laos in ever increasing numbers the Lao may also impose some restrictions of their own, particularly since it's rather unfair that the Chinese don't allow Lao vehicles beyond Jinghong (except buses, which are permitted to travel up to Kunming), while the Chinese are allowed free reign to roam around Laos.


Another issue although I think you have given up on the driving to Thailand in one car part is that very soon, Thailand will tighten up the entry of foreign registered vehicles.

Chinese vehicles flooded into Thailand during the recent CNY and they caused lots of accidents, near accidents and plenty of congestion, meanwhile the paranoid and xenophobic Chinese government doesn't allow Thai vehicles to enter except on an expensive tour with guide, deposit of 50,000 Yuan etc.

The Thai government is rightfully putting a stop to freeloading Chinese tourists driving cars without paying anything, while their Thai counterparts, get faced with a host of barriers to drive up to China.

So, given the lack of an agreement between the two countries, the Thai Land Transport Department and related authorities will soon require all foreign vehicles (except from countries with which Thailand shares an existing agreement) to provide advance notice 10 business days before arrival, through a Thai travel agency to seek permission for the car to enter the country. An entry fee of 500 Baht, plus another 500 Baht for a special plate that needs to be visible in the car, itineraries and driver's licences need to be submitted. A one hour orientation on traffic rules will be required, and travel outside the border province will not be permitted unless accompanied by a Thai tour guide. Motorhomes and motorcycles will be banned altogether.

So it's going to be the end of the road for easy entry of Chinese vehicles into Thailand; not much different to Chinese regulations on the entry of foreign vehicles to China and I think the regulations couldn't come soon enough.

Forums > Travel Yunnan > travelling form Yunnan to Myanmar

@lemon lover, the border crossing at Mae Sot/Myawady has always been controlled by the Myanmar government and since Aug 28, 2013 is an official crossing that allows entry/exit with passports and visas to/from Thailand for Thais, Burmese and third country nationals. The previous rule that only day permits were issued and visas weren't recognized is no longer applied. In fact, even though day trips are still possible without a visa, Thai authorities no longer permit them to visa-free travelers in order to prevent visa runners from abusing the Thai visa system. So most foreigners will be entering Myanmar with a visa (and why would anyone bother going to a dusty border town for a day anyway).

Also, while parts of the road between Myawady (opposite Mae Sot) and Kawkareik/Hpa-an used to be Karen rebel territory and off-limits, the main road and townships are firmly in government hands and safe to travel through, hence why travel through the area has been allowed since 2013 with one exception for about 5 days last year.

The Mae Hong Son border at Khun Yuam may soon be upgraded to international status, according to an article from the MMtimes from last year.


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True, the Chinese do drive relatively slowly and I find it's only in the cities, mainly bigger cities where drivers can be quite aggressive. Out of the highways it's a doodle though, especially compared to Thailand where you generally have higher traffic volumes and drivers who drive at much higher speeds.

@bluppfisk, the only way you can reach Hanoi in like 5 hours from Hekou is if the new expressway is currently finished and a bus service that takes this expressway is already in operation. Alternatively, you could take a private car or taxi, but that might be a little expensive unless you share with other travellers.

Currently the train to Hanoi takes around 8 hours and the road journey by car also took 8 hours on the old road, so probably 9-10 by bus.

As I have not heard anything to suggest that the whole expressway has opened to traffic yet (if it has, please provide a source) and only some sections near Hanoi have opened, my best guess is 6-7 hours using a combination of the old and the new road.

"In the future, the modern railway is expected enhance tourism and commerce in southern Yunnan and one day extend all the way to Hanoi."

umm excuse me there is already a railway from Lao Cai to Hanoi that has been in operation for decades. Please get your facts straight. The only "missing link" per se would be like a 3 km stretch from Hekou to Lao Cai by train, but that's no big deal as you can just walk across the border and then catch a taxi to the Lao Cai train station as is currently the case.

The article mentions the planned "Kunming-Laos-Thailand" railway. My understanding is that line has been delayed numerous times and it is currently unclear if construction has already begun or when it will begin. Even if it has, as the author of this article eludes to, it does not necessarily mean that once it reaches the Lao border that it will be able to continue inside the country. I suspect that if things don't go according to plan, then at least there will be a line down to Jinghong as that won't be affected by any change of plans.

And as for an extension into Thailand, this would be even further off. The current government there has not made a commitment to using Chinese technology to build the Thai line - in fact, recent announcements suggest that initially, there won't even be a link to Nong Khai on the Thai-Lao border, connecting to the Kunming-Vientiane line, but rather, only a Bangkok-Phitsanulok line (which is part of the Bangkok-Chiang Mai line) and Bangkok-Nakorn Ratchaseema (less than half way to Nong Khai) and also a Bangkok-Pattaya-Rayong line. Only the second line would connect to the Kunming-Laos line, but according to the Thai government's plans, this would be many years off as the Bangkok-Pattaya line is the first one likely to be constructed.

Of course this article is about the newly opened Yuxi-Mengzi line, but I just wanted to point out that in the absence of any definitive news on the Kunming-Laos line, I wouldn't jump to conclusions about anything happening on that line so far. Even the Vientiane Times, which has talked about progress on this project in the past has had very little to say since last October, when it claimed a new agreement on this line was reached with China.

@bluppfisk, as clearly indicated in the article and the replies, you must be in transit to a third country not on a simple return ticket. For example, Hong Kong via Kunming to Kathmandu, Seoul via Kunming to Kolkata or Bangkok via Kunming to Mandalay. In the latter case, a stopover in Kunming would only make sense if you really had business to do in Kunming, but this new visa-free transit stay will allow you to enter China via Kunming for a short period without needing to apply for a visa. As more destinations are added to Kunming's airport, it will become more attractive as a stopover destination. Rumours suggest that next year, Sydney will be served by a direct flight from Kunming, which would mark the first non-stop, direct flight from Kunming to an intercontinental destination. If this happens, then flying via Kunming to say, Kolkata, Mandalay, Yangon or Kathmandu, all destinations not served from Australia and generally few other non-regional cities will open up another option to stopover in Kunming for some travellers.


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