Travel Advice for Volunteers in Southeast Asia
Travel Guide for Volunteers. About visas, transport, corona news, insurance, health
Visa requirements are subject to change. The following information is accurate at the time we put this together but you should check to ensure there have been no changes. Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Nepal have “visa-on-arrival” option. You can also apply for a visa before you travel.
Most nationalities don’t require any visa for stays of up to 30 days.
If staying for over 30 days we recommend applying for a visa. Openmind Projects can help you with a special invitation letter.
For more information, contact the Thai embassy or consulate in your country. Check the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for official information.
Updates are posted on our online community (Thai Visa Information updates).
International travelers can apply for a tourist visa (about $50 depending on your nationality; good for 30 days) at Lao embassies and consulates. [Note: Laos has only 25 embassies worldwide. There is none in the UK; the nearest one is in Paris. Click here for a list with addresses.] A cheaper option ($35 or 1500 baht, again depending on your nationality) is to get a “visa on arrival” at the border crossings (including Nong Khai) or airports. Visas can be extended twice in Vientiane for 30 days. The placement in Laos can help volunteers to prolong their visa. The official Laos’ Tourism website has more information at Sabaidee Laos: Visas.
Visas are available on arrival for almost all nationalities. A tourist visa ($30) is valid for 30 days and can be extended only once ($20). You can also apply for an E-Visa online from the Cambodian Immigration Department (www.evisa.gov.kh/) that allows you to skip the visa-on-arrival lines and go directly to immigration. It costs $37 and takes 3 days to process. Apply for extensions at the Department of Immigration opposite the Phnom Penh Airport; processing usually takes 2 business days.
International volunteers normally travel with a tourist visa which you can get at the Kathmandu airport and most border crossings. The visa costs $40 for 30 days, $100 for 90 days. You can also apply online (http://online.nepalimmigration.gov.np/tourist-visa) through the Department of Immigration web site. For full details, contact your nearest Nepal embassy or Department of Immigration (www.nepalimmigration.gov.np). The placement in Nepal can help you to prolong your visa.
- Leave a set with your family at home and bring one with you
Travel, Transport and Traffic Information for Volunteers in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Nepal
Several airlines have flights linking major towns with Bangkok. Some also have flights linking major towns in Cambodia and Laos with Thailand. A one-way flight from Bangkok to Udon Thani, close to Nong Khai, is 1000 – 2500 Baht, Euro 25 – 40, the same as to Phuket.
Inexpensive ground transportation is comprehensive in Thailand, less so in Cambodia, Laos and Nepal but still widespread. Bangkok to Nong Khai one way, bus or train, A/C, costs about 10 Euros.
Do not expect buses or trains in SE Asia to be punctual!
Take the train to Nong Khai from Bangkok, night or daytime (about 11 -13 hours; 2nd class express a/c sleeper,
778 Baht) from Hua Lampong train station in central Bangkok.
The train to Nong Khai is the Northeastern line and you need to go to the very last station, Nong Khai.
Buy a ticket at the train station a day in advance if you want a/c, seat/bed reservation.
or you can book online at https://traveltickets.12go.asia
Direct Bus NO.825: From Suvarnabhumi Airport 21.00 pm.
Price: 439 baht
ROUTE: Suvarnabhumi Airport – Nakhonratchasima – Khonkhaen – Udonthani – Nongkhai (http://suvarnabhumiairport.com/en/118-bus-bor-khor-sor)
You can also take a day or night a/c bus from the Northern Bus terminal better known as Mo Chit. It is the biggest bus station in Bangkok or pick it up from the Khaosan Rd.
There are several bus companies driving daily from Bangkok to Nong Khai. Many buses leave in the evening and arrive in Nong Khai early in the morning.
You can fly to Udon Thani from Bangkok, a one-hour flight. There are several low cost daily flights from Bangkok to Udon Thani and you can book a flight online.
– https://traveltickets.12go.asia/en (Travel planning in South East Asia — buses, ferries, flights, railways)
– www.thaismileair.com/ (Direct from Suvarnabhumi airport)
– Lion Air www.lionairthai.com/ (From Don muang airport)
– www.nokair.com/ (From Don muang airport)
– www.airasia.com/th/en/home.page/ (From Don muang airport)
Then take a van from the airport to Nong Khai (45 minutes, 200 Baht).
Watch this video showing how to get to our Training Center in NongKhai by van from Udon Thain airport.
Or let us know and we can arrange for a taxi to meet you at the airport.
Watch How to get to our Training Center in Nong Khai from the Udon Thani Airport. We can also arrange for a taxi pick up at the airport.
Transportation to placements varies according to location.
Northeast Thailand/Isan: teachers often pick up volunteers from the our Training Center in Nong Khai. Placements in Nong Khai town are easy to get to by tuk tuk and bus. A staff member usually goes along with the volunteer to the placement for several days.
South Thailand: Mui, our South Thailand manager, meets volunteers in Krabi and usually takes them to their placement.
Laos: a Lao staff member normally goes along to the placement.
Mae Sot: volunteers are met by our local representative in Mae Sot who takes them to the placement.
Cambodia: Hak, our Cambodian manager, meets the volunteers in Siem Reap and takes them to the placement.
Nepal: our Nepalese representative meets volunteers at the airport in Kathmandu and introduces them or helps them arrange travel to the placement.
Daily travel to a placement
Our local host or placement representative arranges with the volunteer the method of daily transportation from their local accommodation to the placement. Sometimes teachers agree to pick up volunteers daily to take them to the placement. It is the responsibility of the volunteer to get to the placement daily on their own unless otherwise agreed.