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Travel Visas for a Southeast Asian Backpacking Trip

by David Pacella | January 4th, 2010

The countries of Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, are popular destinations for American backpackers in search of an adventure.

Many backpackers plan routes that carry them across the region, often hitting more than one country.  Your route will depend on how much time and money you have, of course.

To help you get started, here is a guide to travel visa requirements for each of the countries in Southeast Asia:

  • Indonesia: US citizens need a passport with at least 6 months validity left and a visa. Visas are available on arrival at the following airports:  Jakarta, Bali, Surabaya, Medan, Padang, Pekanbaru, Manado, Biak, Ambon, Balikpapan, Pontianak, Kupang, Batam, and South Sumatra. Some seaports can also issue visas, but if you entering from anywhere else, you need to get an Indonesian visa ahead of time.
  • Malaysia: Backpackers who are entering the country as tourists don’t need visas for visits of less than 90 days.
  • Myanmar (Burma): You need a visa, and you need to apply in advance. The Burmese government often turns away visitors who try to enter the country by land and who are not part of an approved package tour.
  • The Philippines: American tourists do not need a visa to enter, and are usually allowed to stay 21 days, with additional extensions possible if you apply before your visa expires.
  • Singapore: US citizen tourists do not need visas for stays of 90 days or less.
  • Thailand– US citizen tourists arriving by air can stay for 30 days or less without a visa. However, if you entering by land, you may only stay 15 days without a visa.  You can apply for a longer visa ahead of time or  get extensions inside Thailand, but must leave the country and apply for a new visa after you’ve spent 90 days in Thailand during a 6 month period. can review your itinerary and help you understand the visa requirements for your trip. We can also help you with the application paperwork and will deliver your visa application to the appropriate embassy or consulate for the fastest possible processing.  Contact us today!

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5 Responses to “Travel Visas for a Southeast Asian Backpacking Trip”

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    In Bali, Tax and service charges amount to 21% on top of most theater accommodation and food and beverage bills, which consist of 10% service charge and 11% Government Tax.

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    When in Bali don’t pat people on the back or head, go for the elbow instead.

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    Money changers can be found throughout the island, in the hotels and along the streets. The best rates are on the street though there are some disreputable businesses. Some money changers charge a comission though you can easily avoid these if you hunt around while shopping. The best bet is exchanging currency at a bank.

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    Bali wet season: November to March; dry season : April to October.

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RushMyTravelVisa is a private service not affiliated with the government. We charge an additional fee to expedite your travel visa application. You may obtain a visa directly from the embassy at a lower cost.