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Old Dec 10, 12, 6:52 am   #31
 
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Also just heard that Beijing now offers 3 day visa-free stays for 45 countries including the UK! But when does this take effect? I will be there end of February, so I am hoping to save myself 100 by not getting the VISA.

Now Beijing joins Delhi in me not needing a VISA to visit, it leaves just Vietnam and Myanmar (think Cambodia is ok) which are the problem ones.
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Old Dec 10, 12, 3:53 pm   #32
 
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Also just heard that Beijing now offers 3 day visa-free stays for 45 countries including the UK! But when does this take effect? I will be there end of February, so I am hoping to save myself 100 by not getting the VISA.
Those are transit visas, no? Onward travel to Guangzhou then Hanoi per your earlier post might not cut it, given that you will be making an internal Chinese flight where you can theoretically not exit the country as required. You would probably need to leave China on your next flight after arriving in PEK.
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Old Dec 10, 12, 4:15 pm   #33
 
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Those are transit visas, no? Onward travel to Guangzhou then Hanoi per your earlier post might not cut it, given that you will be making an internal Chinese flight where you can theoretically not exit the country as required. You would probably need to leave China on your next flight after arriving in PEK.
Well, those visas are being marketed as tourist visas to encourage tourism. However, as usual with China, there is bound to be red tape somewhere.

Anyone have any confirmation?

P.S. regarding Myanmar, would anyone advise the dodgy planes from Yangon to Bagan? I don't fancy the train as a solo traveller (16hrs?), and I have heard the aircraft of Air Bagan and the like are old and relatively unsafe.
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Old Dec 10, 12, 6:57 pm   #34
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Well, those visas are being marketed as tourist visas to encourage tourism. However, as usual with China, there is bound to be red tape somewhere.

Anyone have any confirmation?
Your understanding is wrong. There is no visa involved, as no visa is given out. It is strictly a lengthened transit period given along with a special stamp in one's passport, with specific restrictions on time, nationality eligibility, onward itinerary, and geographic range. The extended Transit-Without-Visa allowance is to encourage tourism (and hopefully Air China's revenues) but that's about all in your post that's correct. Somebody in China under TWOV status and somebody in China on an actual visa are in two different legal statuses with different privileges and restrictions. Not a matter of red tape at all, just a matter of understanding the regulations and being in compliance.

Nobody will have confirmation that the 72-hour allowance is being handed out at PEK until January, when this is supposed to come into effect. Finally, if transiting China with two in-country stops one of which is PEK, it is likely that current regulations will still apply: 24 hours total (the effect of the other domestic transit stop is to cancel out the 72 hours, not augment it). This is not yet confirmed though, but it is what currently happens with people on PVG/SHA transits: 48 hours TWOV (eligible nationalities) but if combined with another domestic segment to make a double-stop international connection, the 48 gets kicked back down to 24 hours TOTAL inside China from arrival at airport 1 to departure from airport 2. So if you have an Intl -PEK-CAN-Intl transit planned, this new regulation probably won't help you get extra time in Beijing without a visa.

For more specifics on China and transit without visa, you should follow in the China destination forum where there is a dedicated thread and ongoing discussion. But at this point, I don't think I'd recommend completely scrambling an already-set Asian flight itinerary if one would incur significant costs and other hassles to make changes around this new regulation. There is also the possibility that a last-minute change of heart or overriding concern of security officials could kick in and this plan could be 11th-hour scuttled.

Last edited by jiejie; Dec 10, 12 at 7:11 pm.
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Old Dec 11, 12, 1:45 am   #35
 
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P.S. regarding Myanmar, would anyone advise the dodgy planes from Yangon to Bagan? I don't fancy the train as a solo traveller (16hrs?), and I have heard the aircraft of Air Bagan and the like are old and relatively unsafe.
Afraid I don't really know what you mean by "dodgy planes" in Burma or where you heard they were old and not safe. I flew Air Bagan several times last year. All aircraft were modern ATR-72's and 42s. One flight I was on a Fokker 100. Most of the other airlines fly ATR-72s. Some of the aircraft are quite new others less so...just like the 20 year old 747s/737s/MD-80s some airlines fly quite safely. But ATR's are in service all over this region (and others) and are perfectly safe.

Also not sure I understand why you think getting a visa for Myanmar is difficult. I got mine in 10 business days from the Embassy in Washington. I would imagine their embassy in the UK works about the same. Or you can always go stand in line in Bangkok like lots of other people seem to do. Or arrange a visa on arrival. Likewise I got my Vietnam visa within a couple of weeks from their embassy. No trouble at all. Just fill out the form, pay the fee, attach the photos...
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Old Dec 11, 12, 6:08 am   #36
 
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My flights with Korean Air from NRT-ICN-PEK come to almost 400.

Is there any way of doing this route on the budget airlines?

AirAsia Japan fly to Seoul don't they? And Spring must fly from PEK to Seoul?

Would be nice to save a little on that leg.
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Old Dec 11, 12, 6:11 am   #37
 
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Afraid I don't really know what you mean by "dodgy planes" in Burma or where you heard they were old and not safe. I flew Air Bagan several times last year. All aircraft were modern ATR-72's and 42s. One flight I was on a Fokker 100. Most of the other airlines fly ATR-72s. Some of the aircraft are quite new others less so...just like the 20 year old 747s/737s/MD-80s some airlines fly quite safely. But ATR's are in service all over this region (and others) and are perfectly safe.

Also not sure I understand why you think getting a visa for Myanmar is difficult. I got mine in 10 business days from the Embassy in Washington. I would imagine their embassy in the UK works about the same. Or you can always go stand in line in Bangkok like lots of other people seem to do. Or arrange a visa on arrival. Likewise I got my Vietnam visa within a couple of weeks from their embassy. No trouble at all. Just fill out the form, pay the fee, attach the photos...
I have heard many stories of airlines in Myanmar not having the best safety records. It's a shame the airport at Bagan has not yet been upgraded to International standard (and probably never will), as it would be a nice destination for AirAsia, probably moreso than Mandalay.

And thanks for the advice on the Visas. I have got a Chinese one before, fairly straightforward, just annoying to drop off/pick up the passport.
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Old Dec 11, 12, 7:08 am   #38
 
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Frankly all of the domestic airports are in need of an upgrade including the terminal at RGN. Even Mandalay which seems all shiny and new with its actual airbridges that sit unused ushers everyone into the basement and buses you to the plane.

Thousands of people fly every day on Burma's airlines. I flew 6 times on Air Bagan and never felt unsafe. All of the flights are short.
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Old Dec 11, 12, 6:06 pm   #39
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I have heard many stories of airlines in Myanmar not having the best safety records. It's a shame the airport at Bagan has not yet been upgraded to International standard (and probably never will), as it would be a nice destination for AirAsia, probably moreso than Mandalay.

And thanks for the advice on the Visas. I have got a Chinese one before, fairly straightforward, just annoying to drop off/pick up the passport.
1. Air Asia doesn't need to fly everywhere.

2. Would you prefer the embassy delivered the visa to your door? Then send it with return postage.
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Old Dec 11, 12, 11:35 pm   #40
 
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My flights with Korean Air from NRT-ICN-PEK come to almost 400.

Is there any way of doing this route on the budget airlines?

AirAsia Japan fly to Seoul don't they? And Spring must fly from PEK to Seoul?


You could always check yourself:

http://www.china-sss.com

http://www.airasia.com
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Old Dec 12, 12, 7:32 am   #41
 
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You could always check yourself:

http://www.china-sss.com

http://www.airasia.com
I did check myself. No budget airlines flies from ICN-PEK, which is a shame, but not surprising knowing China's aviation stranglehold.
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Old Dec 12, 12, 7:55 am   #42
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I did check myself. No budget airlines flies from ICN-PEK, which is a shame, but not surprising knowing China's aviation stranglehold.
ICN-PEK is often dirt cheap (less than the train between BJ and SH), so it's not exactly a hotbed market for LCCs. The Japan-Korea portion is probably what's driving your high fare.
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Old Dec 26, 12, 4:12 pm   #43
 
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For the Indonesia section of my journey, I am now planning to fly into Jakarta and travel on train to Yogyakarta, Surabaya, and Banyuwangi, and then ferry it over to Bali, followed by a bus to Denpasar.

How easy is it to travel by train across Java? I know the journey has to be done in stages, but that's fine by me as I am planning to stop everywhere anyway (Yogya, Bromo etc).

Ideally I would love to fly to Medan and do Bukit Lawang, Lake Toba, and the Harau Valley at Bukittinggi, but getting from there over to Jakarta is too much hassle seeing as there is little train service in the whole island (just Palembang to Bandar Lampung in the whole of Sumatra?).
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Old Dec 26, 12, 10:26 pm   #44
 
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Ideally I would love to fly to Medan and do Bukit Lawang, Lake Toba, and the Harau Valley at Bukittinggi, but getting from there over to Jakarta is too much hassle seeing as there is little train service in the whole island (just Palembang to Bandar Lampung in the whole of Sumatra?).
Not quite sure what you mean by "too much hassle". There are probably tens of flights daily between Medan and Jakarta, so the actual flight will be no problem at all. However, Sumatra is large and undeveloped even by Indonesian standards, and the trains there are creaking relics that make the Javan train system look shiny and new. Your itinerary sounds pretty aggressive as it is, so I'd probably stick with Java and Bali if I were you, and leave plenty of time for Bali as it's the bit of the archipelago that most visitors (including yours truly) find the most pleasant.

But if you do decide to go for the train, Seat 61 may prove helpful: http://www.seat61.com/Indonesia.htm
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Old Dec 27, 12, 8:12 am   #45
 
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P.S. regarding Myanmar, would anyone advise the dodgy planes from Yangon to Bagan? I don't fancy the train as a solo traveller (16hrs?), and I have heard the aircraft of Air Bagan and the like are old and relatively unsafe.
The bus works perfectly fine, was comfortable and was cheap. Bring a sweater, it was cold on the bus.
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