Monthly Archives: December 2019
Monthly Archives: December 2019
In this post, I am going to help you all with queries related to US tourist visa and DS 160 form process. I know the US tourist visa process can look cumbersome with so many steps to complete and without any guidance from anyone, it becomes a daunting task. There is always something to fill in the DS 160 application form that makes you feel nervous as you do not want the embassy to reject your application. In most scenarios, you do not know whether you are filling correct information in your US visa form or not?
The same thing happened to me while filling out my lengthy DS-160 form which involved mentioning your social media IDs and at one point of my application process, I thought I would not be able to finish it. Once I started seeing heaven after completing my DS-160 form, I had to struggle with the US visa appointment process.
So yes, it is a lengthy process for everyone but at the same time smooth and organised if you know the steps well. Just keep a record of all documents and places related to your trip and be sincere while applying for the Visa process. So, In this post, I will help you in filling your DS-160 form and getting you ready for the Visa interview process with a complete step by step guide. This post is going to be lengthy, so I have provided a navigation table above for your convenience. I have also divided this post into sub posts, so this will be an easy read for you all.
A non-immigrant is a person who does not have any intention of staying permanently in a country. So, If you are going to the US for tourism or business purpose, your stay in the US will be considered as temporary, not permanent. You should not overstay your visa validity period. So before filling out your application form, you as a tourist need to remember that you are applying for the visa as a non-immigrant only. And no matter the condition, you will come back to your country after your temporary visit to the USA is over.
As there can be various type of reasons for which somebody would go to the US, there will be different categories of visa. So if somebody is going or planning to visit the US for tourism purpose, he or she would fall under B2 category visa, and if somebody is visiting the US for business purpose, then that candidate would fall under B1 category visa.
Mostly, both types of visa are combined and issued as one visa called B1/B2 Visa. It is better to select the B1/B2 category in the application form. It is generally approved for 10 years.
Although work visa, student visa, religious worker visa, journalist and media visa are common non-immigrant visas, but they do not fall under B1/B2 category visas. So check their visa category carefully before filling the online application form.
Important points to consider:
If you are applying for a B1/B2 visa, then you must convince the consular officer during your interview that you are a temporary visitor and will not overstay your visa validity period. As per instructions and training given to visa officers, it presumes that every B1/B2 applicant is an intending immigrant and can allegedly overstay his or her visa period in the near future.
When you start your US visa application process, you need to fill out a visa application form called DS-160. It is the first step in the visa application process. It is an online non-immigrant visa application form to be filled under non-immigrant visa categories. So a person applying for B1/B2 Visa need to fill this form sincerely.
Every individual has to fill his or her DS 160 form even if you are travelling with your family. There is no provision to submit a combined DS 160 form for the entire family. However, there is a provision to be interviewed together.
Answer all questions present in DS 160 form honestly and sincerely. Do not try to make a false case of anything. It is the only piece of document a visa officer reads religiously with reverence. So kindly do not fill any inaccurate information which you cannot justify at the time of your interview.
Below is a link to official "US department of state- consular electronic application center" web-page. Do not fill DS-160 form on any other unofficial websites.
Access the DS-160 form here, by clicking: Consular Electronic Application Center website.
Click the above link and enter the location where you will be applying for the visa. If you are applying for the US visa in country India, kindly select the same in the drop-down box. Selecting the country here means that the person applying for the US visa can go for his or her bio-metric and interview for the applying country only. Once you select your country, enter the dummy code and click on the "start an application" button.
Once you login you will be allotted an application ID number. Kindly keep it safe somewhere as this will be required to access the application later.
Below your application ID, there will be a list of security questions. Select the one that you can answer and remember to retrieve your application later.
Keep your passport ready for this.
Surnames: Enter all surnames exactly as they are written in your passport. If only one name is written in your passport, enter that as your “Surname.”
Given names: Enter your first name mentioned in the passport. If your passport does not have a first name, enter FNU (first name unknown).
Full name in Native Alphabet: check the box " do not apply". No need to enter anything here.
Other name and surnames: If you have any maiden name and used it before, select yes and enter your names in the box below. Otherwise, select No.
Telecode of your name: Just select No here and proceed further.
Enter your sex and marital status as per your status at the time of filling the form.
Date and place of birth: Enter as per given in your passport. Click save and proceed to personal 2
Keep your passport ready for this.
Country/Region of origin (Nationality) : It is the country for which you hold their passport. So if you are born in X country and overtime you took citizenship of Y country, then enter Y country as your nationality. Your passport must validate it as country Y will be written over it.
Do you hold or have you held any other nationality other than one indicated above: Just write all the nationalities you currently hold other than the one mentioned above and all nationalities you previously held.
Are you a permanent resident of a country/region other than your country/region of origin (nationality) indicated above? : Select Yes only if you have acquired any Permanent Resident status in any other country. PR is different than having a citizenship of a country. You can have a PR of a country but you might not have certain rights like voting rights etc.
National Identification Number: Select yes, if your country has given you a National identification number. It would be better for Indian residents to keep it blank. Though, Aadhaar number can also work as National Identification Number for Indians but still Indian government has not yet approved it as personal identification number.
U.S. Social Security Number: Enter your US SSN if you have lived in the US before, otherwise leave it blank.
U.S.Taxpayer ID Number: Enter your US TIN Number if you had/have one, otherwise leave it as blank.
Purpose of Trip to the U.S. : Select “TEMP. BUSINESS PLEASURE VISITOR (B) if you are going for tourism or business purpose.”
Have you made specific travel plans: Select YES only, if you have booked your hotel and flights already in advance. I would suggest to mark it as NO only and just mention your tentative travel date and number of days of travelling to the US. There is no need to book your flights in advance unless you receive your US visa. As for tourism purpose, US embassy highly discourages to book flights in advance before the interview. In my case, I did not book any flights nor booked any hotels for my stay. Embassy officers very well know that papers can be forged easily, so showing booking papers of anything is not a criterion for assurance of US visa.
Address Where You Will Stay in the U.S.: If you are staying with your friend or relative, enter the complete address of that person's residence. If you are staying in a hotel and have not booked it yet, enter the hotel address where you are most likely to stay. You can select any other hotel at the time of your final trip and approved Visa. It is asked just to confirm where you intend to stay. So at the time of the interview, stick to what you have mentioned in your DS 160 application form only. Otherwise, your answers would not match, and the officer who is conducting the interview will reject your visa application.
Person/Entity Paying for Your Trip: Select 'Self", if you are paying your expenses for hotels, flights, travelling, food from your pocket. Self sponsoring your trip is great, and it is always the best to put that first. And if someone else is paying for your trip expenses, honestly you should write his or her name in DS-160 form with mentioning other details also. However, you should be able to justify it at the time of interview even. Not just by bank/property papers but also through your conversation and DS-160 form details.
Worst case scenario would be that you are self-sponsoring your trip to the US but mentioned something in your employment details that clearly shows that you would not be able to afford 2-3 weeks trip to the US. It would definitely get your visa rejected in the first 10 seconds of your interview. So make sure answer thoughtfully in DS-160 form as same to be substantiated at the interview window with ample evidence.
Are there other persons traveling with you? : Select yes if you are travelling with your family or in a group. It is generally assumed that a guy/girl in his/her 20's travelling alone would face visa rejection as there are ample opportunities present in front of them to settle in the US illegally. They would definitely overstay their visa validity period. However, if you are well settled in your country or have enough travel experience and can prove enough ties to your country then you can easily convince the visa officer for visa approval.
Keep your passport ready for this
This category is simple. Honestly enter all your previous US visits with US visa approval or rejections history. If this is the very first time, you are applying for the US visa then select "NO" and proceed further.
In this, all your information related to residence address, Phone numbers, email address, Passport details with issued city and expiry details will be asked.
There will be a row of social media identifier question. Just fill all your you tube, Facebook, Instagram etc. IDs honestly to show your social media presence. It is a good thing to mention as this shows you are clean and open to everyone and you would think twice before doing anything nasty inside someone else's country. This will definitely boost your visa approval chances.
Most Imp. for your visa interview.
Here you need to fill information related to any individual in the US who knows you and can verify your identity at any time. So it would be best to mention someone you know personally with complete address details to boost your chances of visa acceptance. Most people would say that mentioning you have a point of contact in the US would lead to visa rejection, but a visa officer knows that majority of people go to the US only if they have friends or relatives in the US. So better not to hide it. Work and study is a different scenario but for tourism purpose, I would always recommend mentioning the details of your relative or friends. Though, no one would verify your data from them unless you do something terrible or fall into trouble in the US.
Whether you are going to visit your friends/relatives or not, but if you have mentioned them in DS 160 form then they can ask you various questions related to them. So be ready to answer all those questions. It would be better to tell your 'point of contact' in the US that you are applying for a US tourist visa and ask them to provide as much information as they can to you.
Be sure that you have the following information handy and memorised at the time of interview. I will cover more about this in the next post.
Generally, an invitation letter from your friend/ family/ relative is required to justify your visit to the US. But I don't think any written letter would boost your chances of visa approval as visa officers hardly see them, and if they do, it would be just to satisfy you. What matters is your DS 160 application form and your confidence level at the time of your interview. In my case, I mentioned only my friend's details in DS-160 form and at the time of the interview, they never asked for any invitation letter, nor I brought anything there.
If you fall under none of the categories above and you have no point of contact in the US, then just enter one of the hotel details with complete address.
Do you have any other relatives in the United States? Select “No” | Select “Yes” if you have any relatives such as grandparents, in-laws, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc. in the US and enter their details below.
For “Other Relatives”, select “Yes” only if you have relatives that you keep in touch regularly and knows that you will be visiting the US soon.
Primary Occupation and employer: In DS 160 form, your primary occupation is your current occupation on which you are currently working on. Suppose you are a software engineer and working in a mechanical field then your primary occupation will be either mechanical (specific) or engineering (general). The second example would be, suppose you have been passed/graduated from engineering discipline and you are currently working in a government sector then your primary occupation will be Government sector. With that, enter your current employer/ address/ salary details also.
Briefly describe your duties: This will be asked at the time of the interview, and you should mention all details honestly in your DS 160 form. The answer should not be long enough; keep it to 5-6 sentences. Mention about:
While describing about your duties, try to avoid certain words such as marketing, gasoline, petrol stations etc. I am saying this because by mentioning or writing these words you can put yourself at the risk of rejection as these words can create ample opportunities for you to work in the US and this would not help you to get your visa approved. So carefully write about all your duties and select 2-3 responsibilities which can be described at the time of interview very easily.
Have you traveled to any countries within the last five years? Open your passport and answer all the countries you have visited so far in the last 5 years. This is a booster question, and mentioning about your travel history will increase your chances of visa approval.
This will be a set of 25 questions or more depending on your profile and country of passport. All answers to be given in either YES or NO manner. Honestly answer all questions, and in my case, all were 'NO". Any 'YES" may create difficulty for you or further evaluation could be required.
This section may pop up depending on your country where you are applying for the visa. In countries like India, Mexico etc. there is no option to upload your photo as the same will be taken on the day of your biometric appointment. You can verify this at the confirmation page of DS-160 form. "Photo will be taken at the ASC" will be written at the place of photo section.
Still, there is no harm to carry one passport size photo as per specification mentioned at the US embassy site. In case you do not carry any photo with you at the time of the interview and they ask for it, there will be a booth available for the same. Visa officer will issue you a ticket for that.
For those, required to upload their photos may check the digital upload photo specifications here at the US embassy site.
In this section, you can review all the information you have entered previously. You can click on each of the subsections you have filled so far to review for accuracy and mistakes.
Requesting to read all the answers entered by you thoroughly and in case you find any slight mistake in your application, click on edit and re-enter the information and submit it.
After correcting all information on the review page, electronically sign and submit the DS 160 form.
Once you click on the sign and submit option, you cannot edit DS 160 form data. So for any further corrections, you need to re-generate a new DS -160 form with unique application barcode number. So make sure you peruse your application before submitting and make sure that your application is error-free.
On the confirmation page, three options will be displayed.
Print Confirmation: This is to print your confirmation on the spot. Same to be carried at the time of your bio-metric evaluation along with your passport.
Print Application: This is to take a print out of your DS-160 form. Please note that this will generate a copy of DS 160 form you have just submitted. It is for your reference purpose only. You do not need to bring this on your appointment day. But keep a printed copy with you as this will help you to re-read the answers submitted by you and will help you to prepare for the interview.
Email confirmation: Through this, you can email yourself the confirmation page.
That's it, guys! If you have made it so far, congratulations to you as I know you have conquered the most challenging step of your application. It will be the make or break point at the time of your interview. By entering, reviewing and submitting your DS 160 form, you have made sure to yourself that getting an approved visa is just 1 step away from you now. If you have any questions or stuck at any point of your DS 160 application form, feel free to comment here or email me.
Now the next step would be to pay your MRV fee and schedule your US visa biometric and interview. I have also enclosed some FAQ in next post to help you further in submitting your DS 160 form. Please click here to schedule your appointment for US Visa.
Any trip to Vietnam always should start from Hanoi or if not possible, then end with it. There are so many things to do in Hanoi that without visiting this 1000 years old city, a trip to Vietnam is incomplete. Hanoi is also the capital of Vietnam and situated in the northernmost part of the country.
When I was planning my trip to Vietnam with my friend I had little expectations from Hanoi and one question popped into my mind "What to do in Hanoi?" but my perception entirely changed when I once visited this city. Once you enter the city, you would see centuries-old architectures and buildings having Chinese and French influences.
I would recommend at least 3 days in Hanoi to absorb the positive vibes of the city. Everyone here is so welcoming and smiling all times that I fell in love with this city.
Why not start with a free tour around the city with locals. It is never to miss opportunity to roam around the city with a free tour guide. The tour guides are local students, promoting the culture of Hanoi and this would also bring students closer to foreign travelers. It is definitely one of the best things to do in Hanoi.
Walking tours are a wonderful way to visit a new place, especially Hanoi city. Remember that the tour is free but if you avail any services during the tour like transportation, meals, entrance tickets then you would have to pay for that. My opinion says go directly for the Old Quarter walking tour.
All attractions in this tour are free of charge and you would explore the Hanoi's Old Quarters beauty with complete insight into Hanoians' culture and lifestyle.
The great thing about this tour is you can customize it with the help of your tour guide and you can add extra shows by paying some money. There will also be a free pick-up and drop-off. Other free tours of Hanoi worth mentioning here are:
And if you are a Klook fan like me, then you can enjoy Old Quarter Tour through Klook app/website with great pricing.
Not into guided tours? no issues just book your accommodation in Old Quarter area of Hanoi and all places will be accessible on foot. Old Quarter is one of the best area to stay in Hanoi. All Hanoi attractions are nearby to this area and that's why it offers best things to see in Hanoi.
Remember, while exploring old quarters you have no choice but to confront the traffic as a local would do. There is so much to explore with something new to offer for everyone. I really liked walking down the narrow lanes of the old quarter area and seeing hundreds of people eating and watching games on the roadside.
In the night, take a walk along the Hoan Kiem lake as it is one of the unmissable things to do in Hanoi. Try to visit either on Saturday or Sunday as this place would be decorated with lights and there will be hundreds of stalls with vendors selling a variety of things. There were performers also, who were dancing and singing for everyone. It was a completely different experience.
If you have never been to any night market before then go visit this one. Though this would not be like Thailand's never-ending night market but still a must-visit if you are in Hanoi's old quarter area. There will be stalls everywhere with vendors selling lots of things. If you want to buy anything for cheap here do visit this place. You will find so many souvenirs to buy and if you know how to bargain, you can get it for a very cheap price.
You wanna have a drink? Come here to this lively street of Old Quarter. If you wanna get up close to the culture of local people of Hanoi, come here, sit on a stool and have a nice cold beer. If you aren't into drinking, still it is a must-go street where you can have something to eat also.
Beer street starts just after completing the Night Market lane. All roads will be a little quiet in the night time, locals would be packing their things and closing their shops, but once you enter here, the complete atmosphere would be different. There will be 1000s of people on street eating, drinking and dancing. I was there thrice during my time in Hanoi and everyone was having a great time here. Also, once at the time of Vietnam vs Thailand soccer match, the streets were completely blocked with people. Everyone was yelling, shouting and clapping for Vietnam.
Search for either "Ta Hien Street" or " Bia HoI corner". This place is known for serving the world's cheapest beer - Bia Hoi (fresh beer). It is a light Vietnamese, low alcohol content (less than 3 %) draft beer. It costs 25 cents or 16 Rs only. A visit to this place isn't about enjoying a few beers but its also a window into the culture of the city.
You can’t be searching things to do in Hanoi without having thoughts of what kind of food you’re going to eat. Well, it’s easy – you can try anything here! But first and foremost when walking around lanes of Hanoi, you can try Vietnamese famous sandwich called "Banh Mi".
Though I found it similar to subway brand sandwiches, but the spices and ingredients used to make this sandwich makes my mouth water. I just cannot forget the taste of the bread which was so moist and fluffy. If you are in Vietnam, having Banh Mi, is a good idea any time of the day and night. I don't remember particularly the names of the restaurant in Hanoi, where I had eaten this but every time I had it anywhere in Vietnam it came out to be always fresh and delicious. So, Banh Mi should definitely be in your 'top things to do in Hanoi" bucket list.
This I always wanted to try in Thailand ( Meklong Railway Market) but couldn't do it as the place was very far away from Bangkok. Here, I came to know about the same place with cafes along the rail tracks. At Hanoi's famous Train street, speeding blue train passes through a narrow lane where local residents and tourists are having a cup of tea or snacks on rail tracks. One minute they are sitting at stool on tracks eating something, and the next they've scooped up their belongings and moved to the very edge to let the train pass by them.
Come here in the evening and have a cup of famous Vietnamese coconut coffee with a bowl of noodles. I also tried the famous egg coffee here but didn't like it. Train passes 3 times between 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM in the evening. It is located between Le Duan and Kham Thin Street, Hanoi's Old Quarter.
Hanoi's famous Train street is a special experience but safety comes first. Try to listen to locals and do not try to do anything stupid here. Do not risk your life for taking a selfie or touching the train while it passes by you.
Portraying ancient and cultural Vietnam's stories through puppets on the water is not to be missed in Hanoi. The show is performed in a large contemporary theatre within a pool of water with puppets attached to a long bamboo stick and performers hiding behind a curtain.
There are several theatre showcasing this art but go visit popular Thang Long Puppet theatre to truly enjoy the show. There is no need to buy tickets online as you can get the same price tickets an hour before the show at the counter window.
Price Range: VND 100,000 or 4.3 USD
If you are into temples and architectural structures, visiting the temple of literature is one of the unmissable things to do in Hanoi. This is an interesting place to explore even if you are not into monuments and architectural complexes.
It was built in 1070 and was dedicated to Confucius, scholars and sages. Later, it became a university for Mandarin students. It is an excellent example of traditional Vietnamese architecture. This place has seen thousands and thousands of Vietnam's finest scholars.
Today, when students receive a degree they come here to celebrate it by having photographs here. Successful graduates had their names engraved on a stone stele which can be found on top of the stone turtles. You can sign up on klook through my referral link to book various tours for Vietnam. I mostly use this app to book 80% of my activities whenever I travel. So what you are waiting for? Book you tickets and explore Vietnam.
The prison was built in Hanoi by French in Hanoi's French Quarter area. This Prison Museum displays and educates the sufferings of the Vietnamese revolutionaries who were confined during the French ruling period over Vietnam. By seeing the sorrows and horrors felt by the revolutionaries, it will really make you question about humanity that how can anyone let this horrible act to happen.
That’s my amazing list of the best things to do in Hanoi! Leave a comment down below and let us know about your experience or anything you would like us to add here!
Planning - Big country with many destinations
So Thailand has 3 regions:
North Thailand: Chiang Mai with a hilly region with mountains, waterfalls and greenery.
Central Thailand: Bangkok with city life, Pattaya has beaches like Pattaya and Jomtien beach.
South Thailand: Honeymoon destination like Krabi, Phuket, Ko Samui.
As I wanted to have a relaxing trip with my family rather than rushing here and there to cover the entire country, I chose Bangkok for 4 days, Chiang Mai for 4 days and last 2 days for Pattaya with a return flight back to India on 11th day.
I knew I was leaving Phuket and Krabi out of my itinerary, but I also knew that I was doing it to experience more of city life and culture of Thailand which I would not get it on beaches of Phuket.
I booked my cheap flights tickets
I booked my flights in advance 2 months before my boarding day. Firstly, I got a good deal from Indigo Airlines using Momondo app and secondly, I used my credit card points. Besides, I was also keeping my dates flexible to get cheap flights. I always follow my 5 thumb rules before booking any flight and hotels ( keeping this for another post) for cheap tickets. As a result, the final total price for the tickets was 15000 Rs or 215 dollars per person. Likewise, For 3 persons it came around 45000 Rs or 645 dollars. As I said, I was flexible with my dates, so for 10 days, I was getting cheaper flights tickets as compared to my initial 8 days plan.
Above price covered my flight route for:
NEW DELHI -> BANGKOK -> CHIANG MAI -> PATTAYA -> NEW DELHI (4 flights worth of 15000 Rs)
TIP #1 Domestic flights within the country are always cheaper than the flights you book to arrive from one country to another. Domestic flights never burn a hole in your pocket and you can use them to travel within a country to save enormous amount of time. Though you can also check bus or train schedules and fare estimates but in 80% of my case flights are always money and time saver. In Thailand, I found trains are taking 14-16 hours of my time from A to B cities with similar cost tag as that of a 2-hour plane journey. So here goes the :
TIP #2 Never ignore flights thinking that they would be costlier than bus/train tickets. Clearly, It isn't the case always.
TIP #3 Start using credit cards with bonus deals as this will save a generous amount of money for hotels or flight tickets. Not only this but also will help you to generate a good credit history in the long run.
If you ever calculate your total trip expenses, you will notice that flights always occupy the significant pie portion of the circle. So, if you are planning to take multiple flights in a country, always try to keep your days flexible for a particular destination as per cheap flights days.
TIP #4 Flights usually capture 40-50% of the cost of total budget. So always focus on cheap flight days.
Following above, I planned 4 nights for Bangkok, 4 Nights for Chiang Mai and 2 Nights for Pattaya.
What About Accommodation?
I needed 3 places to stay in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Pattaya. Also, this was with my family. So, I kept it a little over my budget. Places I booked were somewhere between budget hotels (2 stars) and 4-star hotels. Plus, I wanted to keep my luggage as light as possible. So I kept very fewer clothes with mix and match style clothing. So keeping this in mind, I booked an Air BnB in Chiang Mai having a washing machine to wash my clothes, complete kitchenette to cook something light for my family, big private pool for myself and would also give me a chance to interact with the locals there.
In Bangkok, I booked a hotel with a good breakfast for 4 days as rates for hotel and Air Bnbs were almost similar. After all, who wouldn't mind having complimentary breakfast in a hotel as 90% of Air BnBs doesn't provide it. Likewise, I did the same for Pattaya as they were offering me good Indian breakfast.
TIP #5 Never book an Air BnB just for the sake of booking it. If the area you are going to stay is providing good budget hotels with complimentary breakfast in the same rate category, then go for hotels first. Air BnBs are useful when you want to interact with the locals, wanna try their food (wasn't the case with me), or you are staying in an area that offers expensive hotels ( like Paris, San Francisco etc.). There are many downsides of booking an Airbnb too.
Bangkok 4 Nights, 3 persons occupancy room cost with breakfast : 2700 x 4 = 10,800 Rs
Chiang Mai 4 Nights, Air BnB house w/o breakfast cost : 3000 x 4 = 12000 Rs
Pattaya 2 Nights, 3 persons occupancy room cost with breakfast : 2700 x 2 = 5400 Rs
Total cost : 28,200 Rs for 3 persons or 9400 Rs per person
Visa was free
Thailand was offering VOA ( Visa on arrival) for Indians at that time and that too for free. With these visas, you're no longer required to visit an embassy anymore. India is one of the 21 countries whose citizens qualify for this sweet gesture.
Currently, Thailand Visa for Indians will be issued for free until the end of April 2020. You do not need to pay a penny to get the Visa at the Airport.
However, I paid 400 Rs per person to get in the VIP queue and this took me just 5 minutes to get the Visa; otherwise, people were standing there for 2-3 hours in the visa line.
Total expenses for Visa: 400 Rs per person
TIP #6 If you need to shell out some extra pennies to save your precious time, DO IT! You are here for only a week, not for years.
Sim Cards and Foreign Currency
Always buy a sim card/ connection in a country where you will be travelling. Do not rely on hotel WiFi or Airport networks. Further, make a habit of buying a sim connection either before landing to any airport (you can check Amazon.com for this) or buy it at the landing destination Airport. I always buy a sim card with good data and free calls.
In Thailand, I got this for 400 Rs/ Person.
TIP #7 If you are travelling in a group, try to purchase sim cards for every person. There are high chances that someone in your group will be lost and if that person is without any communication, it would be a great trouble for her or him. The same thing had happened twice with my family and friends. So I have stopped taking chances.
While entering Thailand, the Thai immigration authority prefers that you carry at-least 10,000 Baht worth currency with you or If you are a family, then 20,000 Baht per family. You can show USDs instead of Baht if you don't have any.
Anything delicious? yeah, I forgot FOOD!!
Since we prefer vegetarian food, we saved so much money on food and ate packed food for nearly 6 days (Lunch and Dinner) — packed food priced around 1000 Rs. Our Air BnB served this purpose well for cooking.
1. Tea Bags
2. Milk Powder
6. Indian curries (instant food )
Our Breakfast was complimentary for 6 days in both Bangkok and Pattaya and 4 days in Chiang Mai. We had milk, fruits, jam and bread in the morning.
In Bangkok hotel also we had a functional kitchenette in the family room. So we had dinner outside for 2 days in Pattaya only.
During our stay in both Bangkok and Pattaya, we had lunch all days outside in restaurants. But in Chiang Mai, we had it at home only as we were mostly staying at home doing other stuff.
So, we had 8 meals per person and each meal was around 310 Rs. Total we spent 2500 + 350 =2850 Rs per person on food.
TIP #8 Whenever you visit any country, always find the cheapest and cleanest source of water. Otherwise, without knowing either, you would spend a hefty sum of money on buying water bottles from malls and restaurants.
Always inquire about supermarkets and grocery stores around the area where you would be staying. And the best source of information would come from locals only. In Thailand, there are "24/7" named food stores everywhere. You can easily buy 20 Rs/Litre water bottle there. Total expenses for water = 400 Rs
TIP #9 There are places too in every country where you can refill your water bottle. So always carry a one with you.
TIP #9.1 Always try to avail free lounge facilities at Airport. Lounges are great when there is any layover between interconnecting flights. They also offer complimentary food and shower rooms. These days most credit card offers complimentary Lounge access all over the world.
Sighseeings and Tours
It entirely depends on your taste. For tour tickets, you can spend a hell lot of money and your budget will see the skies. So, go for those attractions only what you really need to see as any city can offer hundreds of attractions. Go for something as per your budget. I decided to book only 3 shows which were famous in the city and later on some attractions where I had to shell out little money just for the entrance.
In Bangkok, I booked "SEA LIFE OCEAN WORLD" for free, as I had free credits on KLOOK.
Later, I went for Chao Phraya princess Cruise which everyone should go for. Spent 1700 RS / 25 USD
In Pattaya, I booked Colosseum show tickets (best show ever) and there, I especially booked the VIP tickets just to see the live performance in front. Spent 1600 Rs/ 22 USD.
Other than show tickets, I went to night markets of Bangkok and Chiang Mai, Museums, temples, Grand Palace and Shopping malls. I nearly spent 300 Rs/ 4 USD in total for entry tickets.
Total spent 3600 Rs/ 51 USD Per person
TIP #10 For booking tickets for any activity, always try to find out genuine rates for a particular activity. Some activities require you to haggle on the spot and sometimes, it is wise to book tickets online as these days there are many useful online travel websites which offer 30-40% discount online in comparison to tickets booked at the counter. So research thoroughly before buying any tickets.
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I did not use any metro as we were 3 persons. Price of the Grab taxi was almost similar to 3 tickets of metro ride. So we decided to either take Grab taxi or Tuk-Tuks in Thailand. Below is my cost estimate:
1. Bangkok Airport to Hotel (28 KMs) by Grab: 1000 Rs / 14 USD for 3 persons. I did not try to find out any other mode of transport as we were really exhausted and just wanted to check-in in our hotel.
2. We stayed in the Sukhumvit area which is good for bars and restaurants. The tourist sites like "The Grand Palace", Wat Pho, River pier area, Nana street, MBK Center and Silom complex were near to out Hotel in soi 2 road.
On an average, I was shelling out 210 Rs / 3 USD per person "to and fro" on transportation for every place I visited in Bangkok area. I took Grab and tuk-tuk for nearly 4 places as far as I can remember in Bangkok. Total 840 Rs/ 4 USD per person in Bangkok
3. Hotel to bangkok Airport (28 Kms) by Grab: 1100 Rs/ 15 USD for 3 persons.
4. Chiang Mai Airport to AIR BNB (18 KMs) by Grab : 1000 Rs/ 14 USD for 3 persons.
5. Chiang Mai Air BNB to Chiang Mai's night market (to and fro): 2000/ 28 USD for 3 persons.
6. Chiang Mai Air BNB to Chiang Mai Airport (early morning) : 1600 Rs/ 23 USD for 3 persons.
7. Some nearby attraction in Chiang Mai : 500 Rs/ 7 USD for 3 persons.
My major mistake was to book the Air BnB in Chinag Mai away from city. The city central was 10 Kms away from the Air BnB and it was tiring plus costly affair to get a cab to reach the city center. I approximately spent 6200 Rs/ 87 USD just on transportation in Chiang Mai alone ( BIG MISTAKE !)
TIP #11 If you are planning to roam around the city a lot and majority of places are in the city itself, then always inquire about the area where you are booking your hotel/Air Bnb as chances are they might be far away from city center and that would cost you a lot.
8. Pattaya Airport ( U-Tapao) to Pattaya hotel (40 Kms). Realizing from my earlier mistake, I re-booked my Pattaya hotel near to city center. All places were accessible by foot except one - My Colosseum show. Also, this time instead of booking a Grab taxi which was costing around 2500-3000 Rs, I booked shuttle bus directly at the airport which costed only 550 Rs/ 8 USD per person. The shuttle bus dropped us at the hotel gate.
TIP #12 The best thing would be to tag your Hotel/Air BnB in your google maps and map all the attractions that you want to visit in that city or area. You would get a rough estimate of whether the hotel that you are booking would be a good deal or would turn into a costly affair.
9. Pattaya Hotel to Colosseum show (6 Kms ) (to and fro) : 500 Rs / 7 USD for 3 persons. 170 Rs/ 3 USD per person.
10. Pattaya Hotel to Bangkok Airport Transfer (100 Kms) (early morning) : As I got late to book the shuttle bus to Bangkok Airport, I had to book the private taxi to Bangkok airport for 2800 RS/40 USD. 930 Rs/13 USD per person.
So total I spent approximately 4900 Rs/ 70 USD per person on transportation in Thailand. I saved on transportation expenses as we are 3 persons. Otherwise, it is a huge expense. I did not manage much on transportation.
There were other expenses like:
Foot massage: 500 Rs / Person twice, so 1000 Rs person.
Grocery items like bread, butter, cornflakes, chips,biscuits, fruits, Ice tea, thai tea, ice creams etc from 24/7 store in Thailand: 1000 Rs
Chocolates: I bought chocolates from Thailand which no one should buy as they are very costly. Reason being they import chocolates. Spent nearly: 2500 Rs
Souvenir: I bought some fridge magnets for my friends and that costed me 500 Rs for 7-8 magnets. I also bought some elephant pants and hand bags from their stores also and that costed me 6500 Rs
So, combined spending in Miscellaneous category is : 11000 Rs
I am skipping Miscellaneous expenses as anyone can avoid them. Just adding 1000 Rs for foot massage as everyone visiting Thailand, especially Chiang Mai should try this. It was so relaxing.
All 4 Flight Tickets
15000 Rs / 215 USD
Accomodation - 10 nights
9400 Rs/ 135 USD
400 Rs / 6 USD
Tourist Sim Card
400 Rs / 6 USD
Food and Restaurant
3300 Rs / 46 USD
Tours and tickets
3600 Rs/ 51 USD
Foot massage (misc.)
4900 Rs/ 70 USD
1000 Rs/ 15 USD
38000 Rs/545 USD
When I plotted the same expenses under the PIE chart, I found Transportation, Accommodation and Flight were my major expenses. Though I neatly managed my flight expenses, still it is 40% of my total expenses (remember tip #4 ). Though 1/4th of my total expenses incurred in stay category, still a 10 days trip which is 940 Rs/ day for more than a budget accommodation was a significant highlight of my journey. That's an excellent achievement.
TIP #13 To minimize your stay/accommodation expenses, always travel with your partner or in a group. Going solo will definitely make you to stay in a very budget accommodation or will force you to go for couch surfing. Group travelling also helps to minimize transportation expenses.
I could have easily managed my transportation expenses if I had taken my stay in the city centre in Chiang Mai. That homework can be left to be done on my next tour of Vietnam. Haha!!
Okay, so I got to know about this amazing deal from Ukraine International Airlines that they are offering cheap flights from New Delhi,India to Copenhagen, Denmark under 27000 Rs. Our team from "clown on a holiday" decided to give further discounts on this amazing offer to make you a more happy customer. So if you book through us we decided to give the return flight tickets to Copenhagen, Denmark with additional 8% discount. So that means a saving of more than 2000 Rs per person.
DEPART: New Delhi, India
ARRIVE: Copenhagen, Denmark
RETURN: New Delhi, India
DATES: See below ( Jan, Feb, Mar)
AIRLINES: Ukraine International Airlines
Important points to consider before booking this flight
We have given certain dates in separate columns as "Date of departure from Delhi" and " Date of departure from Copenhagen". Person can Map their dates as per their convenience. Once selected, requesting you to kindly check the price randomly on any website for surety.
There could be chances that there will be price fluctuations also at a later date. So kindly open the browser in "incognito mode" for price check.
Please note, all the information displayed on this deals section is accurate at the time of posting. If you are viewing this deal at a later date, the price and availability may no longer be as advertised.