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Bicycle Rickshaw.

Bicycle Rickshaw.

I thought I would put up a post, ‘ just for information ‘ for anyone wishing to pick up a China Visa in Thailand. You could drive yourself completely mad as you try to get things in order for a visa application. I had read somewhere that there was a possibility of getting a two month visa if we came to the China Consulate in Chiang Mai. Which is why we have cycled very nearly two sides of a triangle to end up here.

Printing off three copies of the application form from the WWW. means that you have a ‘ stunt application form’, on which you can make all your mistakes and learn how to spell the Chinese town names and get them to fit in the rather small boxes on the form. Nowhere on the WWW. does anyone make any suggestion to say anything about cycling. There is a get-out that will allow you to tell just a very small white lie.

Recycling.

Recycling.

Use the words ‘ over land ‘, when asked how you are going to travel. This gets less of a surprised look than you may imagine. We calculated that our proposed route is more than 5,000Km in length. Pull off he internet a hotel within a day of the point where you will cross into China. You will have to actually book this, so make sure the hotel has a free refunds policy. Print out the booking and put it with the rest of what will shortly become a bulging plastic folder.

Staues on the old library.

Statues on the old library.

Divide your route into five other stages, in as close to equal measure along your planned passage through China. Look up hotels in each place and print them off without booking. We asked if we could assume that we had 60 days and were told that we could.

Terracotta storage.

Terracotta storage.

Add those printed bits of paper with exotic sounding hotel names in far away places to your bundle. This is what is called an ‘ itinerary ‘ and is a work of the most exquisite fiction. The FAC on the consulate’s web site says very little or nothing about needing this, but it is the price you pay for going ‘ overland ‘ and not having a return air ticket. We had to go away and do this.

Roschi_Dan, Zen Buddhist.

Roschi_Dan, Zen Buddhist.

Nowhere on the WWW. does it say anything about not being able to apply for an express or single day application if you hold a German passport. I am fairly sure that they made this rule up on the spot to get a longer look at our passports once we asked for 60 days. You have just saved yourself a wedge of cash, but are going to be spending four days in Chiang Mai.

Hairdresser with unhappy lapdog.

Hairdresser with unhappy lap-dog.

There are many worse places to be forced to spend time. You will probably need it if you are trying to organise even the simplest of other tasks. We needed a bike shop to do some stuff. we checked for the best places on the WWW. and mostly had to go to them as they do not pick up the phone. Checking that they are open is not enough, you have to ask if they have a mechanic who will be turning up for work on that day. Check again if they are sure about that.

You are now in the position of going to the consulate with your application. I had read that it is a good idea to wear your ‘ Sunday Best ‘ for this visit. Looking smart may actually help and can do no harm.

Modep companions.

Moped companions.

Put the receipt from the consulate in a very safe place but somewhere you will still remember in four days time. You have been asked why you need 60 days and have said ” it is a very long way “. They will be a bit concerned that you have never been to China before to which you have replied, ” It is a once in a lifetime trip to have this time to travel such a huge country “.

Old Merc.

Old Merc.

There is no booking of times to hand in or pick up the documents. You could be there for hours or a few minutes. Give yourself enough time to dash away to an internet cafe or copy shop to recover from any small errors. You are again smartly dressed. All the visas that sit in your passports tell a compelling tale of exotic travel undertaken at a snail’s pace. Your story looks good.

Golden Buddha on a shrine.

Golden Buddha on a shrine.

There in your hands is your passport. On a page near the back is a rather unremarkable visa from the Peoples Republic of China, with 60 days clearly marked. Now why did you not try for 90?

All of the companies that the WWW. says offer a China visa agent no longer do as they have got more than a little bit fed up with the hassle. We got them on a good day. To be honest everything they ask for is par for the course and actually a lot less than the USA asked for when we got our 6 month visa. What worked today has little hope of being true in a weeks time, so very best of luck.

Happy Esther.

Happy Esther.

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