Some things about Asia make me miss Europe. For backpackers, Europe is simple, easy and accessible. For myself as a Canadian, I had no visa requirements and for the most part, I only had to deal with one currency. It made moving around and seeing multiple countries easy.

I have been spoiled so far, not only have I never needed to apply for a visa, but I’ve rarely been scrutinized at border crossings, and all entries were free of charge. This is far from the case in SouthEast Asia, though I enjoy more lax requirements than other nationalities, I still have to pay fees for visas in multiple countries, apply in advance for my Burmese and Vietnamese visas, and there is no such thing as an unguarded border in SouthEast Asia.

The most important thing is to be knowledgeable about the requirements before you go, and to know which crossing you will likely be using. Which crossing is especially important, as different border crossings have different options available; some may offer visas on arrival, while others may not. Select crossings may only be open in one direction, and nothing is worse than making your way to the border only to find out your trip was in vain.

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  • David Lee

    In late 2007, I quit my job and left the comfortable life in the USA for the open road with nothing but a 20-pound backpack, a …

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