THE days of ‘border runs’ in Thailand are coming to a swift end. Immigration is putting a stop to these brief overland trips in and out of neighboring countries, popular among long-stay travelers and tourists who want to extend their time in the country. Even those on valid tourist visas may be denied entry if immigration officials suspect feel they are spending too long in the country or working illegally.
THE Indian visa office in Kathmandu’s Thamel district has long held an allure for spur-of-the-moment travellers. Located on a cramped street flanked by open sewers and loitering rickshaw peddlers, it is one of Asia’s few Indian visa offices that issue all foreigners tourist visas on short notice.
PASSPORT: Check! Wallet: Check! It is a familiar routine when traveling and often has us patting our pockets every time we leave a hotel room or shuffle out of a cramped airplane. However, when you travel in Japan another vital item is added to the checklist; a Japan Rail Pass.
NOW that Thailand’s martial law has turned into a full-blown coup, there has been much discussion about what the political situation means for tourists, both those entering the country and those already here.
OFFICIALS say U.S. aviation authorities have cleared Philippine airlines to increase flights to the United States after safety standards improved.
Traveling in Southeast Asia has its challenges. Most backpackers have tales of hellish bus rides, train journeys that go nowhere fast and rules of the road that are more suggestion than law. Once you leave terra firma, though, that tends to change. Air travel in the so-called developing nations of Asia is more often than not a pleasure compared to the West, especially when it comes to budget airlines.
SOMETIMES viewing temples, haggling at markets, hiking in the hills and endless rice can get a bit much and the body craves a day of aircon, overpriced coffee, Western fast food and maybe even a movie.
Places to stay
Hintok River Camp @ Hellfire Pass
Kanchanaburi, River Kwai, Thailand
The Chedi, Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai, Chang Khlan, Thailand
Luang Poj Boutique Hostel
Ranong, City Centre, Thailand
Chaweng, Koh Samui, Thailand