"... As far as I understand from your posts, it costs about $50 more but you don't have to wait 2+ hours waiting around?..."
$50 more?... You do understand that VOA services are only getting the Visa in place for you to pick-up when you arrive at the airport and that you still have the $45 stamping fee when you actually enter... that means my Visa service at $75 only cost a few dollars more than the on-line services and they did absolutely everything for me... I didn't lift a finger...
I don't think there is any need to go through an agency - I'd go direct to the embassy in Thailand. I got my Vietnamese visa at the embassy in Laos; if I remember rightly I had to leave it with them for a couple of days while it was processed, then I popped back to collect it. No hassle at all!
As Terry says, Vietnam is fabulous - enjoy.
[ Edit: Edited on 17-Jan-2014, at 05:28 by bex76 ]
Totally understand the stress/expense of sending away your Passport... our guesthouse in Luang Prabang charged us $75 USD each for 48 hour Visa service (myself and one other American.) We didn't lift a finger... the process was completely hassle free and our Passports were never more than a few kilometres from us.
Do most hostels/guesthouse's provide this Visa service? Can you provide the name of the guesthouse?
There are signs all over Luang Prabang offering Visa services. It's a super simple operation when there's a Vietnamese Consulate right in town...