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1st time to Vietnam: Bunch of questions

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Appreciate if you could demystify some of the questions I have regarding travel to VN.

1) Visa. Many people here mentioned they got the "visa on arrival". Why can't you get it through the VN embassy in the US? More hassle, more expensive? The stamping fee has gone up in 2013 -- $45. I'd rather get it in advance so no waste of time standing in line at the airport. Will be flying into HCM, which sounds like the wait would be longer than Hanoi. Please clarify the visa issue for me.

2) Internal VN flights. Do you buy your internal flights in VN or in the US? Is it a lot cheaper in VN? You buy it from an agent? Anyone you recommend? Can we ask them via email in advance and hten pay them once we get to HCM?

3) How do you stay healthy? I know VN cuisine has a lot of raw salad and veggies, and from your trip reports, people seemed to be enjoying the food with abandon. Is it true or you actualy avoided raw veggies? Or had some way to wash them? Or only went to some recommended restaurants that are known to be safe?

4) Malaria Pill and Vaccine. Did you take malaria pills? Required for Sapa or the Mekong Delta? Other places I go to are the usual cities. Any special vaccines?

Thank you so much for sharing your experience and knowledge!

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