Asia Travel Advice

A Guide to Tourist Visas in Southeast Asia

Figuring out visa requirements for the country you’re visiting can be an exhaustive process, especially since there’s often no consistency between different countries. When I visited Southeast Asia in 2014, each of the four countries I went to required a visa, some of which were easy to obtain on arrival, and others that required work before we actually left on our trip.

So in order to make your search for visa information for Southeast Asia, I thought I’d compile it all in one place as a simple one-stop-shop for you!

Note: that this information is for a regular tourist visa and doesn’t include visas needed for other purposes like business or study.


If you are traveling for up to 60 days you can apply for a tourist visa. Here is some info on how to apply in Canada. If you are visiting for less than 30 days you may be eligible for a Free Visit Entry Stamp. The full list of countries eligible for this are listed here.


Nationals from 151 countries can actually visit the Philippines without a visa if they are staying for under 30 days, with a passport that is valid for six months upon arrival. Chinese nationals, including citizens of Hong Kong and Taiwan will need a special permit to visit.

For more information, click here.

Koh Phi Phi Viewpoint


Unless you are visiting Thailand for business, investment, study, medical treatment or employment, visas are available upon arrival, but if you’re a citizen from one of the 52 countries that Thailand has an agreement with, you can enter Thailand for up to 30 days via an international airport without a visa (if you are entering by land you will only be granted 15 days). In order to be considered for this visa exemption rule, you’ll need to be able to show proof of leaving the country.

For countries that aren’t on Thailand’s exemption list, you will need a valid passport that doesn’t expire for six months upon entry, two passport sized photos and the cost will vary depending on your country of citizenship. You’re best to check with the embassy in your country for the most up to date information and costs.


There are only seven countries that don’t need a visa to enter Myanmar, all of which are in Asia, for everyone else, you’ll need to get your visa prior to entering the country. Some nationalities can apply for an eVisa online here, and once approved you will receive a letter which you will need to present with your passport upon arrival. The cost of the visa processing fee is $50USD for a tourist visa and grants you access for 28 days.

Angkor Wat


Visas are available upon arrival for most visitors to Cambodia at Phnom Penh and Siem Reap International Airports, as well as major land crossings. Some nationalities are required to obtain a visa in advance, but for the most part you can purchase a visa when you arrive in Cambodia. Visas are valid for one month and require a passport valid for six month, a passport-sized photo and around $30USD. Make sure you have cash on you because often times there are nowhere to get it out when you arrive.

For more information, click here.


For most nationalities, a visa is not required. You’ll need a passport valid for six months, and proof that you will be leaving Singapore within 30 days (unless you are from Europe, South Korea or the USA where you’re granted 90 days) in order to enter the country.

For more information, click here.



All visitors to Vietnam, no matter what the reason, need to obtain a visa prior to arrival. You will need to apply through the Embassy of Vietnam in your country. Although I can’t comment on the process in other countries, for me in Canada, I had to fill out an application online, which was then sent in via email. We then received an approved letter which had to be printed in colour and presented before we boarded our flight to Vietnam and once we arrived in the country to obtain our visa. We also needed a passport valid for six months, and a passport photo. As Canadians we could apply in person in Ottawa, or by mail and receive our actual visa before we left, but we found the letter to be easy and quick.

Here is where you can find more information for Canada, and here is where you can apply for your visa.


Most countries are granted some sort of entry without the need of a visa (ranging from 14 to 90 days) with the exception of a few countries that will need to obtain a visa. You will need a passport valid for at least six months, and that’s it, welcome to Malaysia!

For more information, click here.

Luang Prabang Laos


The easiest way to obtain a visa for Laos is by arrival, unless you are from one of the countries listed here. You will be required to have a valid passport, two passport sized photos, and money to pay your visa fee. Fees vary for each country but make sure you have cash on you (USD currency is best). Prices range from $20USD to $50USD, and you can find some prices listed here.

Share your Southeast Asian visa stories below in the comments. 

More tips for SEA:

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