I am going to be travelling through Bangkok, Vietnam, Laos and hopefully cambodia in January 2011 for 4-6weeks. I am so confused atm about visas. Will I need to get a visa for all of these different locations? I have been looking on the internet, there are some web sites that say they can send you an approval letter and then you have to take your passport, 2 photos and then a stamping fee to the vietnam airport desk upon arrival, does this sound right??
Any help would be much appreciated
That's correct, I use this type of online service for a Vietnamese visa. It works very well (somewhat faster in Hanoi than HCMC), and I've used it 3 times already. A JPEG image of the Approval Letter will be emailed to you, you print it out, and present it with your passport to your boarding airline to Vietnam. On arrival, you go to the Visa desk and a hard-copy visa will be put in your passport. I know it says 2 pics, but they only take 1. You need $25. in USD (good condition only). All of the other countries in the area allow you to pay for a visa at the airport with no pre-approval. I have to apply for my Approval Letter too in the next few days, and this is the agency that I like.
Be careful of possible travel delays the first week of Feb as this is TET (Vietnam) and Chinese New Year.
(Your nationality does make a difference in visa requirements, above is true for most Westerners excluding Scandinavians)
[ Edit: Edited on 27-Sep-2010, at 09:15 by Daawgon ]
Well, there's no way for us to tell you more about visas without knowing your nationality. Check out the travel guides for Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, then look under the Red Tape section where you'll find more info regarding visas.
It all depends on your nationality. But for the most part you can get all visas on arrival (that means you show up at the border and get a visa) except for Vietnam.
Vietnam: We are Canadian so for us we paid about $45 USD for Vietnam. If you're flying to Vietnam you have to get the visa in your home country. If you will be in other parts of SEA first you can do it in Bangkok, Vientiane or Phnom Penh and takes about 2 days but you can pay more to get it the same day. And you do need two photos (although some places just ask for 1, I think it depends on who is working. I am not sure about the approval letter. Sorry.
For Laos, you show up and you should have at least two photos (Canadians pay $42 USD and I think Americans pay $30 USD). It takes about 5 to 10 minutes. Make sure you have exact change in USD because they will not give you change. A guy in front of us handed over a fifty and the officer pocketed the change in front of him and said too bad, no change.
For Cambodia, same as Lao although I think it is $20.00 USD for both Canadians and Americans.
Thailand is easy just show up and you don't have to pay anything. If you fly into Thailand you get thirty days, if you go by land you only get 15. If you need more time than that then it's a bit more complicated.
If you are neither Canadian or American then I am not sure of the exact details
Hope that helps.
Cheers everyone .......
I am relieved that it seems as though I can get my Visa for each place upon arrival, because I am actually going to be in Australia for the next 3months before going to Asia and was worried about not having a fixed address. I will be flying from the Gold Coast to Bali and then Bali to Bangkok. Not sure if my nationality will slightly change the procedures but I am british and have a UK passport.
So I really only need to sort out some photos and my vietnam visa before my travels begin...
Thanks for all your adivce and info really appreciated.
I'm pretty clear about getting visas for everywhere in SE Asia except with Vietnem. I thought that I read somewhere that you have to have an address where you are staying your first night when you apply. Does that mean I have to decide where I'm crossing the border, and when exactly, and make reservations at a guesthouse? We are a US/UK couple travelling. Should we just relax and sort it out enroute? We have 2 months to travel around from Bangkok right around through Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos and back to BKK. We are totally excited. I can't wait to eat all the foooood!