Act in haste, repent at leisure


Our trip starts in less than two weeks. Even though we haven’t yet left British soil, we’ve managed to make mistakes and lose money. Here’s the sequence of events.

  1. Decide that we don’t need a Chinese tourist visa because we’ll be in the country for less than 72 hours either side of our North Korea tour, and therefore classed as ‘in transit’.
  2. Book a flight from Beijing to Hanoi via Guangzhou, as there’s no direct flight the day we want to leave.
  3. Realise that the above itinerary contravenes the terms of the transit visa.
  4. Grit teeth at loss of money for non-refundable flight. Book a direct flight from Beijing to Hanoi 1 day earlier.
  5. Realise that our Vietnam Visa isn’t yet valid on that day.
  6. Have a minor mental breakdown.
  7. Take a deep breath, slow down and assess the options: a) £400+ for 2 multiple entry Chinese tourist visas or b) Try to change dates of Vietnam visas.
  8. Call the Vietnamese embassy in London to enquire about the date change. Listen to a very long recorded message and completely fail to get through to an actual person. Repeat 4 times.
  9. Email the embassy. Receive a reply that visa date changes are possible for a fee.
  10. Visit the embassy and have new visas issued.

Crisis over. I won’t divulge how much money was lost in the above debacle but it was not inconsiderable, for 2 people aiming to stick to a pretty tight budget on this very long trip.

We were both pretty angry at ourselves. We don’t often make mistakes. Then again, we haven’t ever planned a trip to several countries with various (stupid) entry and exit regulations.

Lesson learned. Think very hard about ALL of the implications, THEN make irreversible bookings.

2 thoughts on “Act in haste, repent at leisure

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