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Laos into Vietnam (Hanoi): best option?

  • smillertime-
    78

    Joined Travelfish
    18th September, 2010
    Posts: 21

    Hello! I plan to be in Luang Prabang somewhere between 2/8 and 2/15 before heading into Hanoi to work my way down the Vietnam coast. Couple of questions for the many experts out there :)

    1) I understand Tet is 2/3 this year, but do you think I will still have a very difficult time (also more expensive) if arriving around 2/15?

    2) What is the best way to get from Luang Prabang to Hanoi? I originally preferred not to hit up Vientiane (I have a pretty tight schedule, and want to avoid if possible--but will I need to make this stop (either via bus/flight) either way?

    And regarding Vietnam visas...I understand it's best to have one before arriving, but is it a pretty painless process to take care of in other cities (i.e. Bangkok)? What will I need in order to obtain the visa (other than photo/money)? I heard something about a letter, but not sure if this is needed/how to get one :)

    Thanks for your help!

    #1 Posted: 9/1/2011 - 20:53

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  • francesstel-
    la

    Click here to learn more about francesstella
    Joined Travelfish
    16th February, 2009
    Location Italy
    Posts: 95

    Hey Smiller,

    Sorry, I can't help you with your first question but I do have some tips on the other two.

    2. There is overland transport that runs between LP and Hanoi although I've heard the trip is "adventurous" - a kind euphemism? There's a lot of info on this thread http://www.travelfish.org/board/post/tripreports/4421_luang-prabang-to-hanoi-by-bus---tough-route-but-full-of-adventure. Flight from Vientiane to Hanoi was relatively pricey when I took one 2yrs ago but it was a welcome respite from 2 months of uncomfy bus rides.

    3. To get a visa head to a consulate/embassy with a couple of ID photos and about $50 (visa costs vary depending on your country of origin). I got mine in Vientiane, it took 48hrs. I'm sure you'd have no trouble in BKK - I'm just wondering if you'll have to indicate your approximate entry date since you're not going there straight from Thailand. When I was there you couldn't get a visa from Luang Prabang.

    Have fun!

    FSH

    #2 Posted: 10/1/2011 - 08:43

  • haphuongn

    Joined Travelfish
    11th October, 2010
    Posts: 3

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    hi,
    1. Tet holiday in Vietnam is the best chance to visit Hanoi, or Vietnam in general, people go around to visit their relatives and friends, the new year come and they dont have time to charge u more I guess :D
    So come & enjoy your trip!
    to Hanoi, u can go by bus or train to Dong Hoi, Quag Binh & visit the famous cave in Phong nha, check out here
    http://finbuk.com/en/blog/
    the trip may cost you not more than 100$ for 3 days

    #3 Posted: 10/1/2011 - 09:00

  • daawgon

    Joined Travelfish
    17th April, 2007
    Posts: 939
    Total reviews: 2

    I recently flew between Luang Prabang and Hanoi on Vietnam Air (Lao Air also flies the route and codeshares with VN). The easiest way to get a Viet visa is online, and it's also the cheapest. You do need a printer to print out the Approval Letter that will be sent to you. You show the letter to the airline, and pick up your actual visa at Hanoi Airport. You'll need 1 passport pic (it says you need 2, but that's not the case). I use visa4vietnam.com for the Approval Letter.

    You'll love Hanoi, but could not be more different from Luang Prabang! I also STRONGLY suggest you make a hotel res in Hanoi, and have that hotel meet your flight (cabs at Hanoi Airpot will scam you to death!) This hotel in Hanoi is super!

    #4 Posted: 10/1/2011 - 12:47

  • francesstel-
    la

    Click here to learn more about francesstella
    Joined Travelfish
    16th February, 2009
    Location Italy
    Posts: 95

    Interesting... Daawagon, do you happen to know if the online route is valid only via airport or can it be used crossing into Vietnam overland too?

    Cheers,

    FSH

    #5 Posted: 10/1/2011 - 16:47

  • smillertime-
    78

    Joined Travelfish
    18th September, 2010
    Posts: 21

    Thanks for all of the help, guys! To save pain/time, I went ahead and booked the flight from Luang Prabang to Hanoi (Lao Air was the cheapest!) so I can just apply for the visa online (the express visa in BKK would have been a lot--and necessary based on the amount of time I want to spend in BKK), so it seemed like the best idea :)

    Yay!! One thing done :)

    #6 Posted: 28/1/2011 - 13:08

  • travellings-
    arah

    TF writer
    Joined Travelfish
    23rd March, 2010
    Location Vietnam
    Posts: 669
    Total reviews: 11
    Places visited:
    At least 87

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    Francesstella - The online visa can only be used if entering Vietnam by air. Otherwise you have to get it in advance.

    smillertime78 - By the 15th February everyone will be back at work so life should be back to normal here. I hope!

    #7 Posted: 29/1/2011 - 10:29

  • smillertime-
    78

    Joined Travelfish
    18th September, 2010
    Posts: 21

    Thank everyone so much for the help and advice! Based on how long i wanted to stay in BKK--as well as Luang Prabang--I ended up booking on Lao Air from LP to Hanoi direct. That way I can save time and do the online application!

    Good to know VN will be back to normal by the 15th, although I am a bit sad to miss it :( Oh, well...I hear Hanoi is an amaaaazing city at any time of the year!

    #8 Posted: 29/1/2011 - 12:15

  • jackdsilva12

    Joined Travelfish
    18th January, 2011
    Posts: 31

    I think you should not go at tet.

    #9 Posted: 11/2/2011 - 22:25

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