Gotcha: Extending a Vietnam Visa

Vietnam Immigration Law

Vietnam Immigration Law

Popular opinion is that renewing a Vietnam visa is easy.  They say, “if you have a three month visa, you don’t even need to leave the country, either go to immigration or have a service process your extension for you…three more months…no problems.”  You can do it three times – a full year of Vietnam travel without ever having to leave the country.  Excellent!

Well, not so much.  Be forewarned, sometimes it’s not all that straightforward.

I recently got denied entry into Thailand.  Here’s my (cautionary) Vietnam visa tale. Continue reading

First Night in Vietnam

Cambodia / Vietnam Border Crossing at Ha Tien

Cambodia / Vietnam Border Crossing at Ha Tien

I publish this first day’s account of Vietnam as an exercise in judging how different first impressions are from well-informed ones.  Later on, there will be many follow ups in which I probably retract all my initial observations.  I also want to share with fellow travelers my experiences at this border crossing.

First of all, I have to say that Vietnam has impressed me (mostly from the view out a bus window today).  I am generally impressed with the infrastructure and the hale, hearty look of the people I saw on my rural journey today.  For a country with such a large percentage of its population well below the (government idealized) poverty line, most everyone appeared happy and healthy.

I also feel like a child.  I know what I want, but don’t have the words to get any of it….so, I point, I pantomime, and I laugh.   Continue reading