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Vietnam forum

Visa Confusion

Posted by zenz on 10/12/2012 at 15:09

Apologies if this is a dumb question, but I read the FAQs and didn't find anything. This is my first time heading overseas and thus, my first time dealing with Visas.

I'm flying into Hanoi in early January with plans on exploring Vietnam for ~1 month, exiting into Cambodia in the south before continuing on to Thailand. However I'm also flying out of Hanoi to come back home mid-March and am unsure of what sort of Visa to get. I've read I can get a 90 day visa but will it work if I exit and re-enter? What's the best course of action for a Visa if I'll be hanging out in the country for a month before taking off and coming back ~6 weeks later? I don't know if I'll fly directly from Thailand to Hanoi the day before my flight or if I'll fly back earlier and explore around Vietnam a bit more before heading home. I'm trying to keep my plans as loose as possible. I'm Canadian if it makes a difference.

Also, how does this ROUGH plan sound?
-Fly into Hanoi, explore around and head into N. Vietnam before heading south.
-Spend 3 or so weeks heading south
-Finish up in Vietnam and pop into Cambodia
-Spend ~1 week in Cambodia before heading into Thailand.
-Follow Eastern border of Thailand heading North until I hit Chiang Mai (maybe venture a bit further North as I've heard great things)
-Drop south, head through Bangkok before entering the Southern tip of Thailand.
-Eventually head back to BKK and catch a flight back to Hanoi (any idea how much will this run me on those cheap airlines I keep hearing about)

I'm interested in exploring natural places, experiencing the culture, and having a night of good partying here and there. Cheers for any info or help you guys can provide!

#1 zenz has been a member since 10/12/2012. Posts: 4

Posted by captainbkk on 15/12/2012 at 01:52

with a visa you have to look at:
1. the number of entries allowed in-mostly 1. Out-even without using up the allotted time-and its finished. AFAIK VNam only does single entry (or multiple-but at a astronomous price for bisnismen)
2.then the maximum time in allowed. For normal tourist this is 30 days-can be extended at extra cost.
SMART people often first look at visa-rules then plan their trip to get the max out of it.
I do not quite see why you have to return to HAN if thats only for to catch a return flight- talk to an experienced tr-agent and see what wonderful offers airlines can have. But if thats a done fact, then its also daft easy; airasia is the word-and you can simply check their fares by some dumb booking trial.

#2 captainbkk has been a member since 16/2/2012. Posts: 472

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Posted by caseyprich on 15/12/2012 at 03:28

You could get a double entry Visa - but to be honest I'm not sure off the top of my head how long you have between exit and re-entry, so you'd need to check on that. Otherwise, in BKK you can arrange another Vietnam visa if you are there a few days in advance before you depart to Hanoi.

Will you pre-arrange a visa for Thailand? Visa on arrival from overland entry only gives you something like 2 weeks.

#3 caseyprich has been a member since 3/3/2010. Location: China. Posts: 1,281
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Posted by LolaNguyen on 16/12/2012 at 19:27 TF writer

Posted from within Vietnam.

The rules on Visas in Vietnam changes frequently. The best thing would be to apply for a visa upon entry. If you can try for a three month multiple entry, if this is not available then go for a one month single entry and reapply for another whilst you are on your travels - Cambodia is the cheapest (and easiest) place to do this and you can state your return date so that it does not start until you plan to return. Prices vary, but for a single month extension in Cambodia is about $30. Extending a one month Visa whilst you are in Vietnam costs somewhere between $20- $80(!!) depending on where you do it, its cheaper in the big cities.
Your plan sounds great and you are right to keep it flexible, you might want to checkout the weather in Northern Vietnam before you leave - it will be cold, so be prepared. Have a great time!

#4 LolaNguyen has been a member since 28/8/2012. Posts: 94
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Posted by travellingsarah on 16/12/2012 at 23:46 TF writer

Posted from within Vietnam.

As far as I know, there's no problem at the moment getting a 3 month multiple entry visa on arrival (arranged in advance) to Vietnam so that will be your best option. But as stated above, rules change frequently so getting a new visa in Cambodia or Bangkok is a good backup.

#5 travellingsarah has been a member since 23/3/2010. Location: Vietnam. Posts: 684
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Posted by zenz on 20/12/2012 at 16:21

Thanks for the info everyone! I feel like I goofed up flying into Hanoi at this point (yes, flights are already booked). Both the Vietnam visa and Thailand visa are now complicated. It was cheaper by about $150 to fly into Hanoi but now it seems like I'll be spending more money with visa renewals and such. This is what I get for avoiding researching too much I suppose. I may call Eva Air and see if I can move my departure city from Hanoi to Bangkok to simplify things. I spoke to them last week about potentially changing departure dates and they said there are no extra charges so hopefully the same is true for departure cities. ::fingers crossed::

Is there anything else I should really research and plan before heading out? I'm sort of banking on just meeting up with and joining other travelers on a whim.

#6 zenz has been a member since 10/12/2012. Posts: 4

Posted by frere on 23/12/2012 at 09:41

Posted from within Vietnam.

looks like you are in and out of hanoi so you may as well get a 3 month multiple entry. i got one last week for 150US

when you get to hanoi be aware that the airport is as far from the centre as winnipeg is from calgary. you do NOT want a private taxi. vietnam airlines newish clean minibus $3 leaves you at their offices but not far from backpackerland. two days ago i had to practically sit a north american lady on a motorbike and tell her how much to pay. it is difficult if you just arrived especially with VND a non-convertible currency. some hotels say they pick up from the airport - maybe an alternative.

of all the countries in this part of the world, my favourite is laos - which doesn't get a mention in your posting.

i appreciate your saying about a sketch-itinery and asking around. i managed [albeit with some hairy moments] for quarter of a century and highly recommend little or no plans, other than getting to work where applicable. one common error [my opinion, of course] is the urge to get stamps on a passport. I first came here in 1999 and have just had my first trip to laos and have yet to touch cambodia. You do not know a country in a week. And what happens when you meet some local people somewhere who make you welcome and you can get a sniff of the "real society" as opposed to another cafe with an english menu? Do you want to follow the usual procedure "I have to be in Bangkok on Thursday" or do you want to take advantage of the good things that fall in your path?

i don't know if this website allows email addresses - i have one which i never use with personal data so i do not mind it being public:
if i can help, let me know

frere - hanoi

#7 frere has been a member since 27/9/2012. Posts: 28
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Posted by zenz on 23/12/2012 at 13:02

Wow, I just typed up a lengthy reply only to lose it by being automatically logged out...lame!

Thanks for the info you two. I think I figured out a route that will work with my visa issues. I wound up getting a 1-month, single entry visa on arrival from as it seemed cheaper to get two of those rather than getting a 3-month, multiple entry visa.

frere, I noticed that about the Hanoi airport. Do you know if you have to be a Vietnam Airlines customer in order to utilize their bus service? I'm also definitely planning on keeping my itinerary as open and flexible as possible as I plan on meeting other travelers and doing things and going places on a whim as we decide what to do. My new basic plan is as follows:
-Fly into Hanoi, head into the north for a bit before dropping south
-3-4 weeks later wind up in Ho Chi Minh City, catch a flight from there to Chiang Mai (thus able to get the 30 day visa)
-explore the north for a bit before heading south into the peninsula
-3-4 weeks after arriving in Chiang Mai find myself in southeast thailand
-Cross into Cambodia where I'll get my next Vietnamese visa as I've heard they're cheap and easy to get there.
-Spend a week in Cambodia before crossing back into Vietnam

I'm going to call my airline and see if I could potentially move my departure city from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. If not I'll catch a flight from Ho Chi Minh back to Hanoi

I'm getting very nervous about this trip as I'm leaving 2 weeks from today so I may be sending you a frantic email in the next few days frere!

#8 zenz has been a member since 10/12/2012. Posts: 4

Posted by frere on 23/12/2012 at 20:02

Posted from within Vietnam.

mini bus is for anyone with $3 in hand
sounds to me like you are a plannoholic. go with the flow. you seem a candidate for insecure traveller of the year and you haven't left home yet.
uncertainty is all part of the adventure when your grandchildren are prepared to listen.

changing airports has never been easy unless you are on someone else's business account - don't expect to get the same prices that you spent hours searching for.


#9 frere has been a member since 27/9/2012. Posts: 28
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Posted by frere on 28/12/2012 at 21:45

Posted from within Vietnam.

Thank you Mr. Travelfish. You inform me that i have a reply but no idea how/where to find it.

#10 frere has been a member since 27/9/2012. Posts: 28
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Posted by somtam2000 on 28/12/2012 at 22:24 admin

@frere the email notification of replies to a thread (which is what I assume you're referring to) includes a link to the conversation. In some cases, if the reply is spam and has been deleted then there will be nothing to see when you return to check.

Hope that makes sense.

Visa threads like this tend to attract a lot of spam from Vietnam-based travel agents which are not welcome on the site.

#11 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,943
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