VN and Cambodia Qs - Conflicting Info

Old Oct 8th, 2013, 07:48 PM
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VN and Cambodia Qs - Conflicting Info

Hello all.
After several hours of searching and finding conflicting info, I figure I could post several rapid fire questions that educated travelers could easily answer. Will be flying in/out of HCMC with bus trip to Siem Reap in middle. Here goes:
1) Vietnam Visa On Arrival seems like best/cheapest bet as will be landing around midnight and hopefully won't be too much of a wait. Total cost per person should be ~$15 (pre-approval letter) + $65 stamping fee (1 month, multiple entry). True?
2) VN VOA pre-approval letter: is it valid for 30 days from when it is issued from website or is it valid 30 days upon arrival in VN? I don't want to order it early only to have it expire before I even get to VN.
3) Cambodia offers e-visa, and while it is also called Visa On Arrival, it is not the same as the VN Visa On Arrival. That's confusing. Cambodia's VOA is an actual visa and costs $28 total through their Kingdom of Cambodia site. Is it worth getting the e-visa? I read it is only accepted at certain crossings...which leads to:
4) Planning on using Mekong Express bus from HCMC to SR ($27). The bus website says they can obtain the visa quickly and easily at the border crossing. Does e-visa work at the crossing the bus takes, or best to let the bus company take car of it (or is this a possible scam opportunity?)?
If you have experience with any of these issues and wouldn't mind dropping knowledge on me, I'd greatly appreciate it. Cheers.
abs004 is offline  
Old Oct 9th, 2013, 05:45 AM
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1. When I got my VN visa the cheapest way to obtain it was through the closest consulate in my country: $65. The pre-approved visa is an option, but usually costs more. I haven't heard of anyone who get the pre-approval letter for $15. Usually it is $25 or $40.

2. The approval letter is good for 30 days. You get the visa when you arrive.

3. Cambodia has a true visa on arrival, unlike the VN visa which is a pre-approved visa. VN mis-naming it is confusing. Originally, the Cambodian e-visa was good only for flight arrivals. It may well have changed by now, so read the info on the e-visa site carefully.

4. Sorry, I don't know the answer to this. Someone will.
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Old Oct 9th, 2013, 06:02 PM
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Kathie, thank you for your reply. However, I am confused by your info. Perhaps I should mention I am in the US.
1) I emailed the VN Embassy and they replied that a 1 month, multiple entry would cost $150, plus shipping to/from. I've seen the pre-approval letter for $26 on one website and $14 on another (both sites have positive reviews on travel forums). Of course, in addition to the pre-approval letter fee, it will also cost $65 at HCMC airport (for the actual Visa). That is far cheaper than purchasing the actual Visa through the VN Embassy in the US. Maybe your country offers a $65 Visa from the consulate, but I don't believe I can do that in the US. Correct?
2) Sounds good in regards to how long the pre-approval letter is valid. If I am arrving in VN on Dec 1st, then I can get the letter anytime after Nov 1. Then, once I get the Visa on Dec 1, it will be valid for 30 more days (until Dec 30).
3 and 4) Yes, difficult to find answers to these questions...anyone else?
Cheers.
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Old Oct 10th, 2013, 05:41 AM
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Wow! The cost of a VN visa has risen dramatically! In that case, go with the pre-approved visa. I'm also from the US, but my visa was obtained a few years ago.

You mights also try Thorntree, the Lonely Planet travel forum. There will be more people there who have taken the bus from HCMC to Siem Reap.
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Old Oct 10th, 2013, 11:52 AM
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Some info on. Travelfish which is usually more reliable than LP

http://www.travelfish.org/visas/vietnam

May be worth posting on their travel forum.

The last couple of times I have been to Vietnam I have acquired my visas in Vientienne and Bangkok. Vientiene was a next day service, BKK took around 3 days. May be worth considering if you are elsewhere in Asia before VN.
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Old Oct 11th, 2013, 05:20 AM
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FYI, I got some great replies on those other forums. Here is my final post:
Excellent, thank you all. To verify:
1 and 2) When ordering the pre-arrange VN letter (for $10-$25 on various sites), I will be able to state the arrival date. I will state that date as a few days before I am scheduled to fly into HCMC, just to be safe, and I will have up to 30 days to use that letter to obtain the actual Visa at the airport (which will cost $65 stamp fee for 1 month, multiple entry). The actual Visa is then valid for 1 month from that day I obtain it at the airport. The pre-arranged letter's dates of validity will no longer matter as I will have already used it to acquire the Visa, and therefore only the date of the Visa matters from that time point on. To be extra safe, I could wait to order the pre-arranged letter until less than 30 days before my arrival at HCMC, as it only takes a few days to obtain the letter from one of those various sites.
3 and 4) Regarding the Cambodia land border crossing on bus trip to SR from HCMC, tt should be easy to do nothing beforehand and simply purchase the actual Visa at the border, along with other people on the bus. It sounds like the bus company employees will help me do this and if it costs a few extra dollars, then no problem, happy to pay for their help.
Is that correct...can I get an amen?
Thanks again. Absolutely excited for my first trip to VN and Cambodia. Now with the technical details out of the way, it's time to start the important research...what to do/see/eat. Nom nom! Cheers.
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Old Oct 11th, 2013, 06:43 AM
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Looks good to me. Thanks for coming back and letting us know what you have found.
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Old Oct 11th, 2013, 07:25 AM
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It is straightforward enough to get a Cambodian visa on arrival but every time I have crossed a land border into Cambodia there have been scams of one description or another, Thailand to Cambodia at Aranyabprathet/ Poipet was the worst followed by the Lao crossing near Kratie. Sometimes it is just an unofficial "administration fee" of a dollar or two, annoying but not the end of the world. The worst and quite common scam is to ask for the visa fee in say dong or Baht at using a terrible conversion rate - to be avoided!
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Old Oct 11th, 2013, 11:36 PM
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Crossing the border from Laos to Cambodia, we got hit with a $1US 'fee' for getting our passports stamped to leave Laos. Then $1 for a dodgy health check and $25 instead of $20 for the visa. Nothing really in the overall scheme of things. I've travelled on Mekong Express internally in Cambodia and it seems a well run operation. They should help you cross the border from Vietnam with no hassles. They also had free, albeit slow WiFi on the bus.

Both countries are fantastic, you should have a great time. How long have you got Asia?
silverwool is offline  
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