My wife and I just picked up our Vietnam visas in Vientiane. I wanted to relay our experience since we couldn't find much info about it before we did it.
We turned up at about 3:45pm, took a tuk tuk from That Dam, took about 5 minutes and the tuk tuk driver waited for us for the return journey. 60,000kip total.
The sign states they are open until 4:30pm. We were directed to the consular section, where we were asked to fill in a form and provide a single passport sized photo. The official then asked if we wanted the visa now or in 3 days. $50 for regular processing (3 days) or $10 more for immediate processing. We chose immediate processing, and paid $120 in US dollars cash. He pasted the visas into our passports right there, and took the two forms with the pictures pasted on them and filed them.
On the form there was a place to say what date you would arrive in Vietnam and what date you would leave. We put Aug 1st - Aug 31st and the visa he gave us is valid from Aug 1st to Sep 1st. No mention of the 'valid for 30 days from arrival within 90 days of issue' that I've read elsewhere. Still, it works for us since we are flying to Hanoi on the 1st. (We did this yesterday, the 30th July.)
The whole process took about 10 minutes. Our passports were within view the entire time, and the officials were very nice and helpful.
She also had to get more pages in her US passport, which she was able to do at the US embassy after 1pm. That took about an hour.
#1 notacrime has been a member since 24/7/2007. Posts: 10
Agreed notacrime. the Viet embassy in Vientiane is pretty good.
I used to renew my 6 month multi entry visas there when I was working in Vietnam. Hand my passport and paperwork and $70 across the counter and come back 2-3 hours later and all done. Never a problem and always very friendly. Also never crowded. I think I only ever saw 1 or 2 other people in there at a time.
In contrast my Indonesian colleagues who did their visas in Jakarta used to face 2-3 days waiting and a cost of $120 for the same visa.
The same visa in Singapore was again a different price. I think $100 there and rude staff to boot. Not sure why the prices varied so much but Vientiane was definitely the quickest and best price.
#2 Discombobulated has been a member since 16/6/2007. Posts: 9
You folks are a godsend ! I'm leaving on personal trip to Laos next week and was hoping to go to Vietnam. There is no Vietnam Embassy here in Anartica, but now I know I can go to Laos, get my Vietnam visa then proceed on to Saigon (ooops, I mean Ho Chi Min City).
Your good news adds value to the travelfish organization.
Much appreciated !!
#3 justdanilo has been a member since 16/9/2007. Posts: 1
hi can anyone tell me what airline to book with from u.k flights from bangkok to siagon or is it better to do it from bangkok date is dec.20th please advise thankyou
#4 sarahplank has been a member since 2/5/2007. Posts: 2
oh thank you so much for posting this, i have been worrying about our vietnamese visa as we were not going to be in bangkok long enough :) perfect!!
#5 nackia has been a member since 15/2/2008. Posts: 8
I too am very pleased for this post as don't have enough time left to get a visa in BKK. Thanks for taking the time to do this!
#6 rjohnson63 has been a member since 2/3/2008. Posts: 1
1. Can someone give me the goods on how long it takes to travel by ferry (not fast longtal) from Vientiane down the Mekong to Pnom Penh. I'll arrange my stops after I know the aggregate travelling time.
I understand the whole river is not navigable, so I guess there will have to be some land travel.
2. Same thing, but from Pnom Penh to Saigon.
(About 18 mths ago I travelled from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang on the Mekong, and would like to finish the journey)
#7 rayc101 has been a member since 19/2/2006. Posts: 50
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but commercial ferries are no longer running that route. There's always the possibilities of hustling up a ride on a freighter, but there are no regular passenger boats anymore.
if you are able to "improvise", trip times are roughly:
LP to Vientiane: two days, with an overnight stop at Pak Lai or thereabouts
Vientiane to Savannakhet and onwards to Pakse: I've only ever talked to people who have done this (as far as Savannakhet only) by speedboat and they did it in a day -- freighter travel along this leg is very unlikely because the road is so good
Stung Treng to Phnom Penh: 1-2 days, but again there are no regular boats anymore.
PP to SGN you can get a boat to Chau Doc just over the border, and from there either bus to SGN or again, see what you can rustle up. I did a freighter trip yonks ago ('94) from My Tho to Chau Doc and it took two days -- but it was a Great two days!