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January 27, 2020

Thailand Visa On Arrival Process for Indians- Documents, fees

VISA ON ARRIVAL

About Thailand Visa

Thailand has always been in everyone’s bucket list because of its infamous nightlife, pristine beaches, tourist friendly open culture, street food, and Chiang Mai’s endless night market. It is a complete travel destination which offers something for all tastes. In terms of Visa procedures, Thailand has soft corner for its tourists. It always offers something which no one can resist.

Getting an Indian tourist visa for Thailand is so easy these days that without much hassle, anyone can plan a visit Thailand. Now Indian passport holders can visit Thailand for tourism purpose on visa on arrival. So if you are a citizen of India and planning for a short vacation in Thailand then you are eligible for free visa on arrival at one of the 24 designated Airports of Thailand. This kind of visa is valid for 15 days only. And one can enter Thailand 6 times in a year through visa on arrival process.

Thailand Visa on Arrival for Indians

India is listed as one of the countries to enter Thailand without requiring their citizens to obtain any visa at the Embassy. They can get the visa at any of the 24 designated international airports of Thailand. But provided they furnish the following documents for Visa on arrival in Thailand, if asked.

  • Visa is strictly for tourism purpose only. No misuse of tourist Visa for any work, job or business related activity.
  • A confirmed return ticket is required to show that they you are flying out of Thailand within 15 days of entry. Open tickets doesn’t qualify for VOA.
  • Proof of necessary funds are required at the time of entry. 10,000 THB per person or 20,000 THB per family is required.
  • Passport with a validity not less than 6 months
  • A completed visa on arrival application form. It will be available at Immigration checkpoints in Thailand.
  • A completed Visa arrival and departure card. It will be handed over to you in your flight.
  • Airline Boarding Pass.
  • One recent passport size photograph of 4 x 6 cms, not older than 6 months
  • A hotel address in Thailand.


Thailand Visa Fee for Indians

    Good News!! Thailand Visa on Arrival fee waiver was extended until 31 October,2019. Now it has been extended for another 6 months. It is free now and has been  extended till April, 2020. It means that citizens of India do no need to pay any fee for Thailand Tourist Visa.

TIP #1

   My suggestion would be to download the visa on arrival form from the official website of Immigration bureau Thailand - (Thailand visa on arrival form download) and fill everything before you land at the airport. It will save your immense amount of time at the airport.

TIP #2

   Once you receive your departure card after immigration check, make sure you keep it save somewhere as it will be required when you are getting out of Thailand. There is no PDF for Arrival and departure care available online and if you find it somewhere, do not download/fill up as every arrival and departure card are barcoded.

Travel Smart TIP #3 

 

  TRAVEL SMART!  Why waste time at the airport when you can get the Thailand Sim at your door step. Get Thailand SIM Card with unlimited Internet much cheaper here: 4G SIM CARD FOR THAILAND

I bought the same during my Thailand visit. Just insert it at the time of your landing and enjoy data and 100TBH talktime.

THAILAND SIM

THAILAND SIM

Or you can join
KLOOK for 4G sim card

This is a go-to website if you like traveling. Once you signup you will get 3.5 USD or 250 INR in your account and using that money you can book your 4G Sim card and get it at one of the Klook counters at the Thailand Airport. I generally book my sim card through Klook app if I do not get it elsewhere.

     TIP TO SAVE YOUR TIME FOR VISA ON ARRIVAL     

VISA ON ARRIVAL

Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) is Thailand's main travel hub, so it is likely that your flight will land here. And from my previous experience and that of other travelers, visa on arrival process before the immigration clearance will take more than 2 hours of your time. In addition, there is always a huge rush of Indian and Chinese travellers to the airport, with flights arriving every 30 minutes. So, a fast track counter or an express visa counter gives you the option of jumping the queue for an additional fee of 200 THB. It only took me 10 minutes to get a visa before I got to the immigration counter. Please note that the express line at Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) will be on the left side of the entrance, and there will be a long queue of tourists on the right side, which will be a regular visa line. You need to pay cash in TBH along with other documentation on your visa at the arrival counter to get your express entry.

That's it, guys! If you did like the post about "Thailand Visa on Arrival for Indians" then please give a thumbs up below and share it with your friends and family. If you have any questions, feel free to comment here or email me.

My Thailand 10 days family trip


January 26, 2020

Thailand Tourist Visa: FREE Visa on Arrival and Visa Exempted Countries- Documents, fees

VISA ON ARRIVAL

About Thailand Visa

How to get Thailand visa? Or

How to apply for Thailand visa? Or

Is Bangkok visa same as Thailand visa?

If you are having these questions in your mind, then you are definitely at the right place as this guide is all about Thailand tourist visa and its visa process. Thailand has always been a hotspot for tourist from all over the world and when it comes to international travel, Thailand always make a count in the list. For this reason, Thailand still has a rush of tourist from all over the globe, and we cannot deny the fact that it caters to the need of every budget traveller. Getting a tourist visa for Thailand is so easy these days that without much hassle, anyone can plan a visit here. And when Thailand is offering a free visa on arrival for a particular duration, nobody should let go of this opportunity.

Thailand offers 3 mainly types of tourist Visa:

  • One you get directly from consular or embassy.
  • E-Visa
  • Thailand Visa on Arrival

As getting a visa on arrival in Thailand is much easy and hassle-free than other options, we will talk about Thailand’s on arrival visa process and Thailand’s visa exempted countries only.

Visa Free Countries for Thailand 

The visa exemption rule allows tourists from below listed countries to enter Thailand without requiring any visa. This is valid for a stay of maximum of 30 days. Countries listed below are eligible for this offer provided that they meet the following criterion.

  • A confirmed return ticket to back to your country or to any other destination.
  • Return ticket must clearly shows exit out of Thailand within 30 days of arrival.
  • You need to have funds of at least 10,000 THB per person during your stay in Thailand.
  • Passport with a validity not less than 6 months.
  • A completed arrival and departure card. It will be handed over to you in your flight.

         INFO!!

  • Citizens of Korea, Brazil, Peru, Argentina and Chile will get 90 days in both airport and land border.
  • Malaysians, entering via land/borders can enjoy the 30-days Unlimited Visa Exemption stamps.
  • Whereas for other countries listed above when entering overland or via a sea border, visa will now be granted as a 30-day visa exemption stamp TWO times per calendar year, from January 1 to December 31.
  • Those who arrive Thailand by air will continue to receive a 30-day stamp up to 6 times per calendar year.

A. Thailand Visa Fee

As countries under this rule are exempted from any visa requirements hence there is no fee associated with it.

B. Countries Under Visa Exemption Rule

  • AMERICAN
  • ASIAN
  • EUROPEAN
  • AFRICAN
  • OCEANIA
  • Bahrain – 30 days
  • Brunei – 30 days
  • Cambodia - 14 days
  • Hong Kong - 30 days
  • Indonesia – 30 days
  • Israel – 30 days
  • Japan - 30 days
  • Kuwait – 30 days
  • Laos - 30 days
  • Macao - 30 days
  • Malaysia - 30 days
  • Maldives- 30 days (from 14 April 2019)
  • Mongolia - 30 days
  • Myanmar - 14 days (by air only)
  • Oman – 30 days
  • Philippines – 30 days
  • Qatar – 30 days
  • Singapore– 30 days
  • South Korea - 90 days
  • Turkey – 30 days
  • United Arab Emirates – 30 days
  • Vietnam - 30 days
  • Thailand Visa on Arrival

    Thailand Visa on arrival (VOA) offers citizens of 19 countries to enter Thailand without requiring them to obtain any visa at the Embassy. They can get the visa at any of the 24 designated international airports of Thailand. But provided they furnish the following documents for Visa on arrival in Thailand, if asked.

    A. Thailand Visa On Arrival Documents

    • Visa is strictly for tourism purpose only. No misuse of tourist Visa for any work, job or business related activity.
    • A confirmed return ticket is required to show that they you are flying out of Thailand within 30 or 15 days of entry, as per applicable visa rules  applicable to your country. Open tickets doesn’t qualify for VOA.
    • Proof of necessary funds are required at the time of entry. 10,000 THB per person or 20,000 THB per family is required.
    • Passport with a validity not less than 6 months
    • A completed visa on arrival application form. It will be available at Immigration checkpoints in Thailand.
    • A completed Visa arrival and departure card. It will be handed over to you in your flight.
    • Airline Boarding Pass.
    • One recent passport size photograph of 4 x 6 cms, not older than 6 months
    • A hotel address in Thailand.

    B. Thailand Visa on Arrival Fee

        Good News!! Thailand Visa on Arrival fee waiver was extended until 31 October,2019. Now it has been extended for another 6 months. It is free now and has been  extended till April, 2020. It means that citizens of below country do no need to pay any fee for Thailand Tourist Visa.

    C. Thailand Visa on arrival countries

    • AMERICAN
    • ASIAN
    • EUROPEAN
    • AFRICAN
    • OCEANIA
    • FIJI
    • PAPUA NEW GUINEA
    • VANUATU
    • NAURU

    D. Designated Airports for VOA Services

    Suvarnabhumi Airport

    Don Muang International Airport, Bangkok

    Chiangmai International Airport, Chiangmai

    Phuket International Airport, Phuket

    Hatyai International Airport, Songkhla

    U Tapao Airport, Rayong

    Mae Sai Immigration Checkpoint, Chiengrai

    Chieng Saen Immigration Checkpoint, Chiengrai

    Chieng Khong Immigration Checkpoint, Chiengrai

    Betong Immigration Checkpoint, Yala

    Sadoa Immigration Checkpoint, Songkhla

    Samui Airport, Surat Thani

    Sukhothai International Airport, Tak Immigration Checkpoint

    Bangkok Harbour Immigration Checkpoint, Bangkok

    Sri Racha Immigration Checkpoint, Chonburi

    Mabtaput Immigration Checkpoint, Rayong

    Nong Khai Immigration Checkpoint, Nong Khai

    Samui Immigration Checkpoint, Surat Thani

    Phuket Immigration Checkpoint, Phuket

    Satun Immigration Checkpoint, Satun

    Krabi Immigration Checkpoint, Krabi

    Songkhla Harbour Immigraion Checkpoint, Songkhla

    Chiangrai Airport Immigration Checkpoint, Chiangrai

    Surat Thani Airport Immigration Checkpoint, Surat Thani

    E. Thailand Visa On Arrival Form

    Once you land at the airport, you need to fill a visa on arrival form or Thailand visa form and same to be submitted along with other documents mentioned above at the visa on arrival counter. Before filling the form, make sure you have the following things available with you:

    1. Passport
    2. Hotel details where you will be staying
    3. Pen
    4. Passport size photo
    5. Glue stick (for photo)

        TIP!! My suggestion would be to download the visa on arrival form from the official website of Immigration bureau Thailand - (Thailand visa on arrival form download) and fill everything before you land at the airport. It will save your immense amount of time at the airport.

    Once I lost my pen at the airport, and it took me an hour to borrow it from someone else. And recently I had my glue stick with me for pasting my photo on the Thailand visa form, but once I opened it, everyone started hovering around me for the stick. I never meant to sound rude, so I gave it to others but later realized that it was gone forever. So it would be a wise decision to fill the Thailand visa application form before landing at the airport only.

    VISA ON ARRIVAL FORM

    VISA ON ARRIVAL FORM

    F. Arrival and Departure card

    Along with Thailand Visa on arrival form, everyone needs to fill up Arrival and Departure cards also. It will be handed over to you in the destination flight itself.

      TIP!!  Once you receive your departure card after immigration check, make sure you keep it save somewhere as it will be required when you are getting out of Thailand. There is no PDF for Arrival and departure care available online and if you find it somewhere, do not download/fill up as every arrival and departure card are barcoded.

    Thailand Sim Card

      TRAVEL SMART! 

    Why waste time at the airport when you can get the Thailand Sim at your door step. Get Thailand SIM Card with unlimited Internet much cheaper here: 4G SIM CARD FOR THAILAND

    I bought the same during my Thailand visit. Just insert it at the time of your landing and enjoy data and 100TBH talktime.

    THAILAND SIM

    Or you can join
    KLOOK for 4G sim card

    This is a go-to website if you like traveling. Once you signup you will get 3.5 USD or 250 INR in your account and using that money you can book your 4G Sim card and get it at one of the Klook counters at the Thailand Airport. I generally book my sim card through Klook app if I do not get it elsewhere.

         TIP TO SAVE YOUR TIME FOR VISA ON ARRIVAL!    

    VISA ON ARRIVAL

    Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) is the central travel hub of Thailand, so the chances are that your flight may land here. And from my and other travellers’ previous experiences, filling up visa on arrival form, waiting in a long queue to submit it at the visa on arrival counters and getting your visa stamped before immigration clearance will take more than 2 hours of your time. In addition to this, there is always a huge rush of Indian and Chinese tourists at the airport with flights landing in every 30 minutes. So, a fast track counter or an express visa counter gives you an option to jump the queue for an additional fee of 200 THB. It took me merely 10 minutes to get the visa before reaching the immigration counter. Please note the at the Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), the express line will be on the left side from the entrance, and there will be a long queue of tourist on the right side – that will be a regular visa line. You need to pay cash in TBH along with other documents at the visa on arrival counter to get the  express entry.

    That's it, guys! If you did like the post about "Thailand Tourist Visa" then please give a thumbs up below and share it with your friends and family. If you have any questions, feel free to comment here or email me.

    My Thailand 10 days family trip

    January 13, 2020

    US VISA APPOINTMENT – A COMPLETE STEP BY STEP GUIDE

    US VISA APPOINTMENT


    US VISA APPOINTMENT


    Hi,

    Coming to this section of the post means you have completed your DS-160 application form and submitted it successfully. If you have not completed your DS-160 visa application form yet, then please refer to Part 1 of the series- How to apply of US tourist visa-DS160 form.

    This post today will be all about:

    • US visa fee.
    • Scheduling an appointment
    • FAQ section related to DS 160 form and US Visa appointment.

    1. Overview

    Now you are one step away from scheduling your US visa appointment. But before that, you need to pay your US Visa fee. Some countries like India need an additional appointment for biometrics at a visa application centre (VAC). The procedure to schedule a US visa appointment in Asia is slightly different than the rest of the world. Here, I will provide a complete guide for those who want to schedule their US visa appointment in Asia. For other countries, I have also provided an excellent source to refer at the end of the blog post.

    2. User Registration 

    NEW REGISTRATION SCREEN

    NEW REGISTRATION SCREEN

    1. Head over to US Travel docs website.
    2. Select your continent from the map shown.
    3. Select your country.
    4. Is this your first time applying for a visa and/or visiting our site?[ If you want to read all the information related to Non-immigration visa, click ‘YES’ otherwise ‘NO’]
    5. If you have selected ‘yes’, go for Non-Immigrant visa type in the options.
    6. If you have selected NO, you will be redirected to the login page.
    7. After selecting ‘NO’, click on the login page and select new user.
    8. You will be taken to the “new registration page”. Fill all the information there as per mentioned in your passport without any mistake.
    9. Click submit and note down your username (email) and password to successfully open your application later.

    3. New application

    NEW APPLICATION SCREEN

    NEW APPLICATION SCREEN

    1. After logging in with the credentials, click on “new application/schedule appointment” on the left side of the page.
    2. You will be asked to select your visa type. Click on the “Non-immigration” for B1/B2 visa type.
    3. On the next page, you need to select your country of residence.
    4. On the next page, you need to select the preferred language in which you are comfortable to give your visa interview.
    5. Please select your visa category on the next page. For people applying for B1/B2 visa; select Business/Tourism category.
    6. On the next page, kindly select your visa class. Select B1/B2 – VISITOR FOR BUSINESS AND PLEASURE.
    7. After submitting all the information, you will be taken to review all the information you have filled so far. Also on the bottom left of the page, the first available appointment will be shown to you. But you cannot select the available slot as you have not paid the visa fee yet. It is just for your reference only. Click on confirm button and proceed further.
    REVIEW PAGE

    REVIEW PAGE

    4. Personal Information

    • On next page, you need to fill all your personal information. This includes:
    • Passport Number
    • Passport Issuance date and place
    • Passport Expiration Date
    • Date of Birth
    • Nationality
    • First Name
    • Last Name
    • Country of Birth
    • Gender
    • DS-160 Confirmation Number
    • Contact Information
    • Mailing Information

    5. Dependents Information

    dependents info Screen

    dependents info Screen

    • Click on ‘Add by Name”, If you are traveling with in a group or with dependents (spouse, child, parents), who needs to apply for a US visa.
    • Pl note that every member of the group or family needs to fill a separate DS-160 application form.
    • All group applicants can mention their DS 160 number in the “Add by Name” option.
    Dependents info screen

    Dependents info screen

    6. Interview Waiver program

    All applicants are required to answer below questions. Based on the answers provided by the candidates, eligibility for the interview waiver program will be calculated. Select "No" below to all questions if you are first time applying for the US visa. 

    • Are you (the visa applicant) under 14 years of age? Click “No” to continue
    • Are you (the visa applicant) 80 years of age or older? Click “No” to continue
    • Do you have a previous B1/B2 visa? Click “NO” to continue.
    VISA WAIVER UNDER 14 WITH BOTH PARENTS HAVING VALID US VISA

    VISA WAIVER UNDER 14 WITH BOTH PARENTS HAVING VALID US VISA

    ABOVE 80 AND NEVER APPLIED FOR US VISA BEFORE SAMPLE SCREEN

    ABOVE 80 AND NEVER APPLIED FOR US VISA BEFORE SAMPLE SCREEN


    NOTE: A child below 14 years of age and person above 80 years of age is eligible for the interview waiver program based on further evaluation criterion.  Under certain conditions you are eligible for the interview waiver program.

    1. Under 14 years of age and applying for the US visa first time with a condition that both parents have a valid US visa 

    2. Above 80 years of age and first time applying candidate for the US visa.

    3. Above 80 years of age and have a previous valid US visa.

    4. You have a previous US visa, and it was issued after your 14th birthday, and it was not lost, stolen or cancelled, and your most recent visa was never refused before, then you are eligible for visa waiver program.

    7. Document Delivery

    Once your visa has been approved, you have two options to collect your passport.

    Document Delivery Page

    Document Delivery Page

    1. Pickup: To pick up your passport from the visa application centre or courier head office.
    2. Delivery: To receive your passport by mail to your home. For the delivery option, you need to pay some nominal amount to the courier service at the time of delivery. You can check this amount at the document delivery page.

    8. Visa Fee

    Current visa fee for Tourist/Business B visa type is 160 USD which is equivalent to 11520 INR. Below is a screenshot taken from US travel docs site for various visa fees for different category of Visas.

    US VISA FEE TYPE

    US VISA FEE TYPE

    Important note for visa fees: US Visa Fees are not refundable. If you have encountered an error while making your payment or you believe your payment was not successful, do not try to pay the fee a second time as it will not be refunded. In doubt, kindly email their support staff at support-india@ustraveldocs.com with your concern.

    For current visa rates. Please refer US travel docs Visa fee section.

    9. Payment options

    On the next page, you will see a payment options screen. You need to select a payment mode, and once the payment has been verified within 2 business days, you can easily schedule an appointment for the visa interview process. Various payment modes are:

    US VISA APPOINTMENT PAYMENT OPTION

    US VISA APPOINTMENT PAYMENT OPTION

    1. NEFT (National Electronic Funds Transfer) with Bank of America
    2. Mobile Payments (IMPS)
    3. Cash- Over the counter (Axis Bank, PNB and CitiBank)

    Before proceeding further Kindly note that:

    1. Each visa applicant, including children, is required to pay the Visa fees if applicable.
    2. Check for the visa waiver program for the participating country. 
    3. Every applicant needs to check his or her eligibility for the Visa waiver program. You may not need to apply for a new visa based on your age and previous valid US visa. Kindly check your eligibility here. 
    4. Visa fee is non-refundable and non-transferable.
    5. Visa application fee is determined by the type of Visa. Kindly check the visa fees here 
    6. Please pay payment only as per unique account number as the payment is non-refundable.
    7. Transfer the correct amount as per your visa category. Incorrect fund transfers will make unnecessary delays for your visa appointment.

    A. NEFT

    1. Once you select this option, you will be presented with a unique account number.
    2. Several other beneficiary details will also be provided to make the payment from your bank account.
    3. Kindly note the unique account number and save it somewhere for future reference. You need to use this number while scheduling your US visa interview.
    4. Make an electronic fund transfer to this unique account number.


    B. Mobile payment/ IMPS

    1. For this, beneficiary mobile number and beneficiary MMID will be provided to the user.
    2. User can pay the MRV fees through his or her local bank account. 
    3. Some bank has a limit of 5000 Rs per transaction. Kindly contact the bank or check their website before making any payment. You can also check the daily limits of some Indian banks here. 
    4. Once the payment has been verified, you will receive an SMS containing 12 digits IMPS reference number. Kindly note down the same for future reference.

    C. Cash over the counter

    1. Using this method, you can make payment directly at any of the designated bank branches. 
    2. Download the visa fee slip from your payment profile option.
    3. Fill all the details and carry the slip/collection form to the bank.
    4. Once you pay the fee at the bank, you will be given a reference number. Kindly note it somewhere for future reference.
    PAY DIRECTLY AT BANK OPTION US VISA

    PAY DIRECTLY AT BANK OPTION US VISA

    In my case, I paid the visa fee using IMPS payment option. I made the payment on Friday, so it could be verified on Tuesday only. It took 4 days (including holidays) to confirm the visa fee.

    10. US VISA Appointment

    once you have paid the visa fee, login again with your credentials at the profile section of the website and click on the continue button on the left side menu. You will be taken to the payment screen.
    At the payment screen, you will be asked to enter the receipt number to verify the payment. Once the receipt number has been verified, click continue to schedule your visa interview.

    Schedule an appointment page

    Schedule an appointment page

    Sometimes when you enter your receipt number, you will be shown an error saying that the receipt number is invalid. It happens when your payment has not been verified. You need to wait for a day or two before you can re-enter your receipt details. Once the receipt you have entered has been verified, you will be taken to the schedule appointment page.


    A. Biometrics 

    OFC Appointment Booking page

    OFC Appointment Booking page

    It is applicable to some countries only. It is also called OFC (Offsite Facilitation Center) appointment or VAC (Visa application centre appointment). It is set up by the US embassy to enable faster processing of your fingerprints and visa photographs before your US visa interview. You need to schedule an appointment to visit the OFC centre if this is a pre-requisite for your country.

    Just select your visa interview location on the screen and schedule a biometric appointment. You will be displayed all available days and slots to schedule a visa appointment.

    OFC confirmation page

    OFC confirmation page


    B. Interview appointment 

    It is also called consular appointment. On the screen, pick your available slot and confirm the interview appointment. Kindly take a print of your confirmed appointments. You will need it on the day of your scheduled appointments. 

    You also check for wait times for the interview appointments based on your country/region he​re. 

    There is no provision of scheduling both biometric and interview appointment on the same day. Biometrics can be scheduled only a day before the visa interview appointment based on the available slots.

    INTERVIEW APPOINTMENT CONFIRMATION PAGE

    INTERVIEW APPOINTMENT CONFIRMATION PAGE


    11. FAQ Section

    Can I schedule my biometrics and interview appointment on the same day?

    I have made an interview appointment and paid the visa fee, but now I want to change the appointment schedule?

    I want an early appointment, but at the confirmation page, the latest available appointment is days away from my desired dates.

    What if I want to change my appointment 24 hours before the interview?

    I have opted for X language at the time of DS -160 application form, and now I want to give my interview in Y language.

    I am a citizen of X country. Am I eligible for the visa waiver program?

    I paid my visa fee, but at the time of scheduling my interview, the page shows that the receipt entered is invalid.

    How do I edit information on a DS-160 form after having booked the appointment and paid the visa fee?

    Can I change my location of the US Visa Interview after submitting the DS-160 form?

    Do I need to submit DS-160 form for my child also?

    I have a valid US visa and I want to apply the same for my child also.

    My family is applying for DS-160 form. Do I need to fill a separate application for my child too?

    We are applying for DS-160 form. Does my child need to attend the interview?

    If you are applying from continents other than Asia, refer this post

    That's it, guys! Now the next step would be to get yourself gear up for the interview process. I have also enclosed some more FAQ in next post to help you further for the US visa process. If you have any questions or stuck at any point of your visa process, feel free to comment here or email me.

    December 31, 2019

    How to apply for US tourist Visa – A complete step by step guide.

    HOW TO APPLY FOR US VISA - DS 160
    HOW TO APPLY FOR US VISA - DS 160

    HOW TO APPLY FOR US VISA - DS 160

    Hi, everyone.

    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?

    1. Overview

    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.


    2. Non-immigrant Visa

    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.

    3. B1/B2 Visa Type

    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.



    4. What is DS 160 Form?

    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.

    A. Documents to keep while you complete your DS-160 form.

    • Passport: profile details, travel history and passport type.
    • Travel itinerary: if undecided, keep your intended date of travel 
    • Resume or CV: for highschool, graduation and employment history.
    • Friend/relative details in the USA, if visiting them.

    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

    5. Steps to fill DS 160 form online.


    A. Getting started


    LOGIN PAGE DS 160

    LOGIN PAGE DS 160

     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.

    APPLICATION ID DS 160

    APPLICATION ID DS 160


    B. Personal info. 1 

    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


    OTHER NAMES DS 160

    OTHER NAMES DS 160


    C. Personal info. 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.


    D. Travel Information 


    Purpose of your trip

    Purpose of your trip DS 160

    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 US

    ADDRESS WHERE YOU WILL STAY IN THE US DS 160

    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 DS 160

    Person/Entity Paying for Your Trip DS 160


    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.



    E. Travel companions information


    Travel companions information

    Travel companions information DS 160

    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.


    F. Previous U.S. Travel 

    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.


    PREVIOUS US TRAVEL

    PREVIOUS US TRAVEL DS 160

    G. Address, Phone and Passport Info.

    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.


    H. US point of contact: 

    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.


    US POINT OF CONTACT

    US POINT OF CONTACT DS 160

    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. 

    1. Name and address
    2. Phone details
    3. Occupation details in US
    4. Why they are in US?
    5. When they did move to US?
    6. How do you know them?
    7. Would you stay with them?
    8. Their house details- lease/rented/self own.
    9. Their Visa status in US.
    10. How often they visit your/their home country from US?

    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.

    I. Family ans Relatives Information


    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.


    J. Work/Edu./Training Info & Previous History 

    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:

    Briefly describe your duties

    Briefly describe your duties DS 160

    • Your designation.
    • Your department.
    • Your employer/company name.
    • Two or three lines related to your responsibilities at work.

    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.

    K. Security and Background


    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.


    L. Photo Requirements section


    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.


    Photo will be taken at the ASC

    Photo will be taken at the ASC DS 160

    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.


    M .Review section

    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.

     


    N.  Digital Sign and Submit


    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.


    O. Confirmation Page 

    Confirmation Page

    Confirmation Page DS 160

    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.

     


    December 13, 2019

    Things to do in Hanoi (Vietnam) with fun and exciting free tours-2020 guide

    Me..sipping my coconut coffee and waiting for train.

    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. 

    People eating near road side at Old Quarter's Hanoi

    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.

    Christmas Street in Old Quarter

          So, let's begin with our guide: What to do in Hanoi

    1. Go on a Free Tour around the 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.


    Akash and I with our guide

    Hanoi Old Quarter Walking Tour (Top things to do in Hanoi)

    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.

    2. Walk around Old Quarter


    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.

    Hanoi's Old Quarter road side area

     3. Hoan Kiem Lake


    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. 

    Beautiful Red Coloured Bridge Around Hoan Kiem Lake

    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. 

    4. Hanoi's Night Market


    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.

    Vendor Selling Fruits at Hanoi's Night Market
    People Buying Food at Hanoi's Night Market
    People Buying Various Things from Stalls at Hanoi's Night Market

    Beautiful Red Coloured Bridge Around Hoan Kiem Lake

    5. Bia Hoe Corner or Beer Street (Cheapest Beer)


    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. 

    (Ta Hien Street) Beer Street

    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.

     People eating at Beer Street.

    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. 


     6. Banh Mi (Sandwich)

             

    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.


    Eating Banh Mi - Vietnam's famous Sandwich
    People Eating and Having Fun in Old Quarter's Beer Street Area


    7. Rail track Cafes (Train Street)


    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. 

    Train Passing along cafes at Hanoi's Train street.

    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.

    Me..sipping my coconut coffee and waiting for train.

    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.

    8. Water Puppet Show


    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. 

    Performers On Stage After Finishing Water Puppet Show


    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

    9. Temple of Literature


    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.

     

    Entrance to Hanoi's Temple Of Literature

    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.

    Souvenir Shop Inside Hanoi's Temple of Literature
    Beautiful Bonsai Tree Inside Temple of Literature
    Inside View of Hanoi's Temple of Literature

    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.

  • Address: 58 Quốc Tử Giám, Văn Miếu, Đống Đa
  • Opening hours: In summer ( From April to October): 07:30 AM – 5:30 PM. In winter (From October to April): 8 AM- 5 PM.
  • Price: 30,000 VND or 1.3 USD
  • 10. Hoa Lo Prison Museum ( The Hanoi Hilton)

    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.  

  • Address: 1 Hoả Lò, Trần Hưng Đạo, Hoàn Kiếm
  • Opening hours: every day, from 8 AM – 5 PM
  • Price: 30,000 VND or 1.3 USD
  • Hoa Lo Prison

    Hoa Lo Prison

    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!

    December 7, 2019

    My 10 days family trip to Thailand : Budget Estimate [2019]


    Bangkok's City View from cruise

    Bangkok's City View from cruise

    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.

    Pier side of River Mall cruise in bangkok

     Pier side of River Mall cruise in Bangkok


    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)

    Thailand Map

    Thailand Map



    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?

    pool side view of Air BNB in Chiang Mai

    Pool side view of Air BNB in Chiang Mai


    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

    Tourist Sim for Thailand

    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!! 

    Breakfast at our Air BnB in Chiang Mai

    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.

    We had:

    1. Tea Bags

    2. Milk Powder

    3. Biscuits

    4. Jam

    5. Rice

    6. Indian curries (instant food )

    Haldiram's Instant Food

    Haldiram's parantha

    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.

    Complimentary Lounge facility at New Delhi Airport.

    Sighseeings and Tours

    SEA LIFE Aquarium in Bangkok

    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.

    Grand Palace entrance in Bangkok

    Are you 
    New to KLOOK?

    Once you signup using my below link you will get 250 Rs/ 3.5 USD in your account and I will get the same amount without costing you anything. That's a WIN-WIN situation ! So do not wait and click below.

    Beautiful boat view from River City Pier Mall


    Transportation

    Indian Version of "Auto" in Thailand called "TUK TUK"

    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. 


    Miscellaneous expenses

     Street View outside Grand palace



    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.

    Bangkok's fridge Magnet

    Total expenses


    Price

    All 4 Flight Tickets 

    15000 Rs / 215 USD

    Accomodation - 10 nights

    9400 Rs/ 135 USD

    Express Visa

    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

    Transportation taxi

    Foot massage (misc.)

    4900 Rs/ 70 USD

    1000 Rs/ 15 USD

    TOTAL

    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!!

    December 2, 2019

    Delhi to Copenhagen, Denmark under 25,000 Rs Roundtrip [2020]


    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

    • Below pricing is for the month of Jan, Feb and Mar only.
      You can select the dates of arrival and departure as per your convenience from the mapping table
    • Fare includes a return ticket to India also.
    • This is not a direct flight. There can be a halt of 3-6 hours in some other country as shown in the example above for the selected dates 22 Jan- 27 Jan . So please choose your dates as per your convenience.
    • 7 KG cabin bag is included
    • 2 bags of up to 23 KG included in the price fare
    • Meal and soft drinks are included. However, please confirm the same with the airlines before boarding.

    Pricing Table

    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.


    Date of departure from New Delhi

    Date of departure from Copenhagen


    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.

    November 12, 2019

    Jaipur to Malaysia under 10,000 Rs Return tickets

    About Malaysia


    Cheap Non-stop Return flights from Jaipur,India to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for only 10,000 RS for the below dates.

    DEPART: Jaipur, India

    ARRIVE: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    RETURN: Jaipur, India

    DATES: 25th Nov-02nd Dec

                   27th Nov-04th Dec

                   30th Dec-06th Jan (New Year Special)

                   08th Jan-11th Jan

                   08th Jan-13th Jan

                   11th Jan-18th Jan

                   11th Jan-20th Jan

                   15th Jan-18th Jan

                   15th Jan-20th Jan

                   20th Jan-27th Jan

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