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Step By Step Instructions On How To Get A Thailand Tourist Visa In Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City)
THAILAND TOURIST VISA
If you are staying in Thailand and your visa on arrival is about to expire, but you wish to extend your stay, you may want to go to Vietnam and apply for a tourist visa. Below are step by step instructions that will help you avoid any complications and make your trip more enjoyable. The easiest and most affordable way to get to Vietnam from Thailand is to fly with Air Asia, but keep in mind you may need a visa in order to travel to Vietnam. There are detailed instructions below describing how to get a visa for Vietnam. There are 5 European and 10 Asian countries that are exempt, to view a list of these countries you can view the vietnam government website. The low cost of food and accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City, makes it an excellent place to go on a visa run.
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STEP 1 : BOOK YOUR FLIGHTS
The first thing you will need to do is to book a flight from Bangkok to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). Return flights can cost as little as 100USD with Air Asia, if you book at least 2 weeks in advance. You can book these flights online and pay with your credit card using the Air Asia website. If you do not have a credit card, or if you prefer to pay cash, you can book your flight over the phone and pay with cash at any Air Asia counter. You do not want to go to an Air Asia counter and inquire about price without first calling ahead and researching the price online. Air Asia charges almost double for over the counter sales if you have not booked in advance.
STEP 2 : GET YOUR VIETNAM VISA
You will most likely require a visa to enter Vietnam (Scandinavians exempt). You can apply for a visa on arrival online at www.vietnam-visa.com. You will need to make these arrangements a few days prior to your departure date, because it takes them a few days to process the paperwork. Once your application is completed, they will email you some documents and the application form, you fill out the form and attach a recent photo, then present this to the visa on arrival counter at the airport in Vietnam. Make sure you do not forget your documents, or you will be on the next flight out! The cost of the online application is approximately 20USD, payment with credit card or Paypal is accepted. There is an additional 20USD fee for the visa when you arrive at the airport in Vietnam. You can also go to the Vietnam embassy in Bangkok to apply for your visa, however this is not nearly as convenient.
STEP 3 : GETTING OUT OF THE AIRPORT
Once you exit the airport in Ho Chi Minh City, you will be hassled by crooked taxi drivers at the international arrivals gate. Simply walk out of the airport and turn right, walk toward the domestic arrivals terminal. There you will see several meter taxis, look for the ones that say "Vina Sun" or "Mai Linh". These are the most reputable taxi companies in Saigon, other companies have the meter rigged to charge as much as 5 times more than the normal rate. Tell the taxi driver you want to go to Pham Ngu Lao (The Western Quarter). This is the most convenient location to stay in Ho Chi Minh City, near the city center with plenty of affordable accommodation.
STEP 4 : GET SETTLED IN A HOTEL
Once you arrive in Pham Ngu Lao, you should have no troubles finding a hotel. I would suggest looking at a few places before you check in anywhere. There are plenty of really nice rooms available in the 10-20USD per night price range. On my latest trip to Saigon I stayed in the Happy Inn, just a few hundred meters down the street from the Crazy Buffalo. The cost was 20USD per night for brand new modern rooms with all the amenities including satellite TV, balcony, free wireless Internet access etc.
STEP 5 : GETTING TO THE THAI CONSULATE
You will find that taxi drivers in Ho Chi Minh City will not speak any English, so you will have to have the address written down on paper and hand it to them anytime you want to go anywhere. Pham Ngu Lao is in district 1, and the Thai Consulate is in district 3. The address for the Royal Thailand Consulate General is : 77 Tran Quoc Thao Street District 3. Make sure that you have this written on paper and hand it to the taxi driver. Make sure you have recent photos and some USD before you go to the Thai Consulate, arranging photos and currency exchange at the Consulate is next to impossible.
SUMMARY: Once you have completed steps 1-5, you simply need to pick up your passport the following day at the embassy and you are ready to return to Thailand. Getting back to the Thai Consulate should be easy the second time around, just remember to have the address written down. The rules regarding Thailand tourist visas are always changing, but normally you can repeat this process for a period of up to 6 months. After you have been in Thailand for more than 6 months, you are not supposed to be eligible for another tourist visa, however this does not necessarily mean they will not issue you one (in many cases they will). Hopefully you will have enjoyed your stay in Vietnam as much as I always do.