Luka wrote:What is the proper steps to take as a US citizen. Where can I request a visa from? Vietnam Embassy in SG? What is the price for a week stay?
Any insight would be appreciated.
You can either get a visa on arrival if you come into airports at Saigon or Hanoi or you can pick up you visa at the embassy here in Singapore. If you opt for the VOA, you must first register your intent to do so with one of a bunch of firms offering the service, for example, http://www.myvietnamvisa.com/
(I am not advocating this one, do a search on 'vietnam visa on arrival'). However, the lines at the airports can be long and I do not recommend this route just because of the delays. The embassy here is an easy process and for a bit more money you can get 24 hour turnaround.
Where do you want to stay and what do you want to do? You can stay in a Four Seasons at American rates in Saigon. You can stay in clean, small hotels in Hanoi for US$ 25 per night. You can eat at expensive, tourist oriented restaurants with US prices or you can eat great food at local restaurants for real cheap. You can take tours out to the countryside and stay in stilt huts and be fed local food by enterprising Vietnamese. You can hit the tourist beaches.
Me, I like to get away from the tourist stuff. I've done motorcycle trips into the northern mountainous areas where people come out of their villages to wave at white people because they are so rare. Many different contrasts and things to do. North or south or both? Halong Bay or Mekong Delta? Urban or rural? Canned tour or on your own?
If you are a first timer with a week or so to spend:
a) Saigon: Stay at the Rex, great hotel, not cheap, but very much Vietnamese. Sightsee, rent mopeds (a great way to get around), Cholon market is a must. Saigon has experienced heavy growth and has become quite westernized.
b) Mekong Delta and Cu Chi - yes, definitely touristy and still worth seeing, especially the film that still runs at Cu Chi condemning those mad dog Americans.
c) Hanoi: Stay at the Classic or the Elegance in the old quarter. Ride mopeds if you have the cajones in Hanoi traffic, chaotic to say the least.
d) Halong Bay - quite incredible, very beautiful, tour guides with packages out the wazoo in Hanoi.
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