We're heading off to China this week and are happy to have the visa process behind us. Now we know how to get a Chinese visa while in Southeast Asia and we're getting excited about our trip! Our dear friend Winser Zhao from China Travel 2.0 has been a huge help with our trip planning. We met many years ago online via Twitter, so it's exciting to finally meet in person. If you are planning a trip to China, I can't recommend him highly enough.
After 7 years of non-stop world travel , we have quite the collection of passport stamps and visas and regularly have to learn what hoops need to be jumped through for each country. Getting a tourist visa can sometimes be an adventure.
Because our child is in a Mandarin school in Penang, we all have long stay visas for Malaysia, thus that probably makes things a bit easier. It's probably easiest to get one's visa from your home country, but since we are rarely there and we are very spontaneous about travel decisions, we almost always get our visas while traveling.
Often they are quite easy, but China had more rules ( but not as many as India). The China visa is also quite expensive for Americans ( 1500 rmb or 165 dollars each), but I hear that is because of reciprocity. We could have paid an agency to do this for us, but the price was
outrageous, almost as much as the visa, so we just did it on our own since we are budget travelers.
GETTING CHINA VISA IN MALAYSIA
Getting our China visas was actually VERY easy. We filled out some forms and brought them with our passports to the KL China Visa Center. We had talked to them quite a bit by phone before going to make sure we had everything correct. It took about 15 minutes total to drop them off and apply and less than 15 minutes to pick them up.
Sometimes they like to do interviews, but that was not requested for us. We had applied for a multi-entrance visa and at least 60 days. Alas, we only got a one time visa and only for a month, so we had to rebook our flights ( not fun).
BUS TO KL FROM PENANG ADVENTURE
The real hassle and adventure came with the buses in Penang. Thankfully, DaVinci had to do this on his own and managed to do it in two VERY long days, dodging large rats, swarms of bugs and barking-at-him wild dogs at dawn.
He got up at 4:30 to leave at 5:00 AM both times and got home at 11 PM the first time and 2:30 AM the second time. The good news is he made it safely and entertained us with the stories of his adventure.
Have you ever gotten a visa for China? Do you enjoy the adventure of getting visas while traveling?