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I am planning a trip abroad for next year- leaving the UK (I am a British Citizen), and flying to India in around March/ April. My plan is to fly to Delhi/ Mumbai (or wherever I can find the cheapest flights to), and then travel around India for a couple of months or so. After that, I plan to head East, probably through a few of Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, Laos & Vietnam, though I haven't decided an actual route or planned how long to spend in each country.

Having had a look on the UK Government's website about travel to a few of these countries, it looks like I will need to obtain a visa (e-TV), valid for two months, prior to travelling to India, apparently visas are available on arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport and at some land borders in Nepal, while it is advised that you arrange your travel to Bhutan well in advance and that you must arrange your visit through an authorised travel agent.

So, my question for any seasoned travellers out there is: is it best to plan your whole trip well in advance (dates you'll be leaving one country for the next, points of exit/ entry, etc), or is it straightforward enough to obtain the required visas from embassies in whichever country you are currently travelling through?

If it is straightforward enough to obtain visas while travelling, how long prior to travelling should I visit the embassy for the destination country to leave enough time to obtain the visa?

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    I think asking for visa rules for Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, Laos and Vietnam in one question is too broad. In general, many countries require you to apply for a visa at the consulate in charge at the place of your permanent residence. Many countries also only allows you to apply for a visa within a relatively short period before your intended visit (e.g. for the Schengen area only three months in advance). If you plan a longer trip, these two requirements may conflict with eachother and actually require you to go back to your place of residence to solve visa issues. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Dec 7 '15 at 18:15
  • This question could be helpful, but yes as @Tor-EinarJarnbjo mentioned your question is a bit broad – blackbird Dec 7 '15 at 20:18
  • It's good idea to get visa for India (also you have plenty of time.. why not?). For few of my friends who are Canadian and American citizens, they had to rush/ delay their flights because they didn't get the visa beforehand. I don't know if they have any special rule for British citizens (because of past relationship). – tanjir Dec 7 '15 at 21:30
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    There is generally no independent travel for tourists in Bhutan; you must be on a tour organized by a tour company there. So, you will have to plan that part in advance. – Michael Hampton Dec 7 '15 at 23:04
  • I'm voting to close this as too broad (sorry). If you're specifically asking about the visas for your planned route then they can go in separate questions (although the information is readily available). If you wanted to edit the question down to the last too paragraphs it would be specific enough but would might get closed as opinion based. Personally I prefer to at have things planned (roughly) and visas ready, normally have an 'entry window' so you still have flexibility. I know others on this site quite happily go around just picking up visas for the next place they're going ... – SpaceDog Dec 8 '15 at 2:20
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Each country has different rules regarding visas. Some require you to obtain them in your home country or a country in which you hold resident status. Others you can apply for at any Embassy of that country. Some you can get upon arrival.

You really need to do some research for each country, through their respective consular websites (not the British government travel site). Find out their current rules for UK citizens, places you can apply along your route and the documents needed. Then you can start plotting your adventure to work within the rules.

Personally I would get the India visa in advance, as you have no definitive exit plan and the airline taking you to India needs to ascertain that your trip meets India's entry and length of stay rules.

Bhutan visas are obtained through an authorized travel company and are stamped in your passport when you arrive, so can be applied for from anywhere in the world. But Bhutan has limited flights into the country, on smaller jets so less available space to get there. Planning that leg well in advance is always good. And it will be a full package (lodging, meals, guide, transport), as independent travel is currently not allowed.

Pre-authorized visas for Vietnam & Myanmar can be obtained through tour companies, but of course the company will want you to book all your in-country arrangements (hotels, tours, transport, etc) through them as well.

  • Thanks for your answer. I am doing that research at the moment, and was just wondering whether it was possible/ how easy it was to apply for visas while 'on the road'. As I understand, Vietnam & Myanmar don't require you to travel using a tour company in the same way Bhutan does- you could just fly there yourself, book your own accommodation, etc? Is that correct? – Noble-Surfer Dec 8 '15 at 13:02
  • Yes independent travel is allowed in both those countries – user13044 Dec 8 '15 at 14:25

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