How Do I Get a Visa to…. Vietnam?

I’ve been getting a LOT of questions about visas lately!

Especially – how do I get a Vietnam visa?

While many countries offer visa on arrival or visa exempt visits for tourists, a few nations have more complicated regulations including for Brazil visas and Vietnam visas.

When I decided to visit Vietnam for my first time, it was a VERY last minute, spur of the moment decision (yay for living in Bangkok for all sorts of international weekend trips are cheap and accessible). I decided on a Monday to fly to Hanoi on a Thursday, and promptly booked my tickets at less than $120USD roundtrip!

While I could simply show up to countries like Laos and Cambodia, pay a fee, and get on with my visit, I’d heard otherwise about Vietnam. Friends told of hours-long waits at the embassy and then picking the visa up days later (not even possible with my work schedule and short time frame), and I even read horror stories about unprepared passengers being sent back from the airport.

GULP – what did I get myself into?

In my frantic search, I stumbled across Vietnam visa websites. I worried whether they were legit. I decided to go with Vietnam-Visa, based on 3rd party reviews and excellent testimonials.

VietnamVisa

 

They’ve also got an instant message option on the website, so you can have any lingering questions or confusion cleared up immediately. It all seemed pretty straightforward, so I carefully filled out the fairly simple form, paid the $21 fee, and waited.

 

Vietnam Visa Prices

(Side note: If I needed the visa faster, I could get in as little as a few hours!)

Less than 2 days later (and a day before I had to leave), my letter arrived in my email, which I printed off and brought with me on the plane to Vietnam.

Will this work? I worried the entire plane ride.

After disembarking, I arrived to immigration clutching my letter and my passport, and was ushered into a line for those with visa approval letters. The line went quick, and I handed over the documents to the officer when it was my turn. I waited, feeling nervous, but just a few minutes and a quick stamp later, I was handed back my passport and on my way to explore Hanoi!

Easy peasy and I had zero reasons to worry! 

After I had the visa issue settled by getting the approval letter online, I realized that visiting Vietnam was way easier than I’d thought!

Hanoi was awesome and a perfect extended weekend trip from Bangkok – 3 nights was the perfect amount of time to take it all in.

My top 5 Hanoi picks:

1. Hanoi Women’s Museum

An awesome, modern, and English-subtitled museum, this is a must-see especially for you ladies. With interesting exhibits on clothing, lifestyle, religion, and family life, I spent hours wandering the floors and reading each description. 

I left with a better understanding of Vietnam as a whole, not just about the women.

Hanoi Women’s Museum

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Vietnamese Fashion, modern thoughts on traditional styles

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2. Temple of Literature

A gorgeous space filled with trees, many Vietnamese students were crowded around getting graduation pictures taken 🙂 

The place was a welcome refuge from the hustle and bustle, beeps and honks of the rest of Hanoi.

The Temple of Literature

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Gardens of Temple of Literature

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And really, what is the purpose of life, other than to see and make beauty, and to give and take love?

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Don’t know what this means

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3. Ho Chi Minh Museum

No visit to Vietnam is complete without learning about the formidable Uncle Ho. Somehow, I missed the mausoleum and couldn’t find it in the expansive grounds, but I wandered the main museum for hours, looking at all of the interesting displays. 

Relics

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4. Strolling around Hoan Kiem Lake

A seriously tranquil place where many locals run, walk, and chill out with a book. I recommend you do some of the same!

Around Hoan Kiem lake

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5. Wandering the streets of Hanoi

Some of the most beautiful sites in Hanoi weren’t found in the museums, but rather hiding on the streets. Sometimes it is difficult to walk, due to the lack of sidewalk and overpopulation of crazy noisy motorbikes, but do yourself a favor and don’t give up! Treasures await!

Happy Halloween from Hanoi

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Hanoi temple

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Hanoi Memorial

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2 Comments

  1. Daisy
    June 28, 2016 / 10:17 am

    Thanks for writing but I would like to add a note to travelers who intend to enter Vietnam via land crossings. You cannot obtain a visa on arrival or through any online visa preparation company at any land crossings. I tirelessly searched for an online company that would be able to issue me an e-visa however you’re only eligible to receive this service if you have proof of your flight information.

    You must obtain your visa in advance if you plan to travel from Cambodia into Vietnam as I did. I ended up making a pit stop in Bangkok prior to my arrival in Cambodia in order to visit the Vietnamese embassy in Bangkok. The entire process took three days. On day one you submit your request, pay the visa fee and surrender your passport. You can then pick up your passport within 48 hours. The only reason why I didn’t obtain my Vietnamese visa in Cambodia is because I didn’t have any plans to go to the embassy located in Phnom Penh. I hope others find this helpful!

    Safe and happy travels!!

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