VISA SCREW UP
Trip Start Dec 12, 2010
156Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
River Guest House
OK, so let me explain the visa issue we had. When applying for an Indian visa in the UK you are only allowed a 6 months visa from the date of issue, which meant it would've expired by the time we got to India – so we couldn't do it before we left. No problem, we'll get it on the road.
And one of the easiest countries to get it done in was Thailand. We arrived in Bangkok in February, if you remember, and when we went to get it done then, they would only issue us with a 3 month Visa – again, it wouldn't have been in date by the time we actually got to India. So now what. Don't worry, everyone said get it in Kuala Lumpar. Its like Bangkok – they'll do it there no problems. As seeing as Malaysia was the last place we would be going before India, it seemed like a good idea
Then when we were in the Philippines, someone mentioned how they could not get their Indian visa whilst in Malaysia, but I didn't really listen to them. It started to play on my mind a little and the next chance I got to with decent Internet I hit the search engines.
OH NO!!! Yes, no problem to get your Indian Visa in Kuala Lumpar up until November 2010, then they changed the rules! Unless you are a resident of Malaysia.. forget it!
Great!!! Now what. All our flights were booked, including India!
We weighed up all the options, cancelling India, not going to Malaysia, changing our route... We didn't have the answers. I spent our last day in Manilla on the phone to so many different Embassies – Indian Embassy in Kuala Lumpar, I even rang them in Brunei, seeing as we were on our way to Borneo, thought we could pop in there... But they wanted nearly 3 weeks for it!
So the best option, after serious consideration, would be to fly to Bangkok to get it done
Now you can understand the reason why we headed back to Bangkok.
We flew from Kota Kinabalu to Kuala Lumpar and then onto Bangkok. Here we are again! And already things had changed. Last time we got the Airport Express coach to the centre, but it no longer runs... There is a new metro line though that would get us so far and then we'd have to get a taxi. But actually this worked out in our favour as it was cheaper than the coach we took last time and without the Bangkok traffic to deal with, much quicker too.
We thought we'd try our luck and see if the same place where we stayed last time (which was also really cheap) had a room for us. Luckily it did.
Dumped the bags and then off to find a travel agent to sort out these stupid Visas. Panic again, we'd booked our flights back to Kuala Lumpar on Saturday morning (got a cheap deal but risky I know), so only had 5 days for them to sort the Visas
But we did find a friendly lady, who when we offered her a little more money, said she'd have it back for us on Friday night. Armed with proof our address, contact and all other details but all she wanted was a couple of references?!? We had to fill out some stupid forms, give her 2 passport photos each and then said goodbye to our passports. Fingers crossed they'd be back in time, so we could catch our next flight.
The one really great thing about being back in Bangkok – fantastic food that's really cheap!
For the whole week we decided not to do any touristy things. A: we'd been here already and B: it would keep costs down, which we now needed as this little side trip ended up costing us way too much.
So the week kinda went by with us updating blog, sorting our emails, phoning, relaxing, eating some awesome meals, reading, relaxing. It was actually quite nice.
As mentioned we we staying in the same area as we did before which was about a kilometer away from the busy Khao San road, so we couldn't always be bothered to walk all that way for food - meaning we got to explore our local area more. So glad we did because it turned out to be quite nice actually, cheaper, more local and chilled. It reminded us of Chiang Mai. We discovered a restaurant that did cooking classes, so you'd hope the food was good and it seriously was so tasty. In fact, it served up some of the best food we've tasted in Thailand. Si would also pop off every morning for a huge portion of mixed fruit, muesli and fresh yoghurt – It sometimes keep him going till late afternoon all for less than a pound..
One day we ventured out to the new shopping district, a vast modern area we didn't see the last time we were here, and ended up going to the cinema. Watched the Hangover 2... Which was so strange, as its filmed in Bangkok - seeing the madness of the city on screen and knowing it was only just outside. We found a Tescos on the way back, so popped in for a look around – Looked very much the same, they even had value products, very strange.
And that was pretty much it. Of course in the back of our minds we were constantly worrying if the visa was going through, we popped in a few times to see if they'd heard about any problems, but our lady just smiled and sent us on our way.
Eventually, Friday 7pm arrived and we took the long walk to the travel agency. We stood outside thinking, what if it hasn't gone through?!? So when we walked in there, I was confused when she didn't smile at us. Oh no! More flight cancellations to come. But then her colleague handed her our passports and she gave them to us. We had them back, so I opened them up... And there it was. The Indian Visa. YAY!!! What a relief! We practically kissed her on the way out. Such a mission, but glad we'd made the effort as we were really looking forward to India.
Phew! ..We decided to treat ourselves to a drink on Khao San Road, and ended up bumping into Chad – who we met in Ha Long Bay... Small world!
So, not a very eventful week, but we had accomplished our mission. Indian Visas... DONE!