- Published on Sunday, 06 July 2014 03:06
- Written by row1
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam is only a 1.5 hour flight from Singapore, a flight that I had somehow never taken during my many years of living in Singapore. So I decided that I wanted to pop over for a weekend and get some authentic/delicious food. The problem was that I needed a visa. It is difficult to find any concrete/official cost information online (the embassies website is incredibly slow and the consulate fees download seems broken), but as far as I can tell it will cost around $105 SGD (or around $80 USD) to get a one-month single-entry visa at the embassy in Singapore. Not only is this very expensive for a weekend trip, but the embassy is in a very inconvenient location and you will have to drop off your passport and collect it 6 days later (so add another $30+ for a few taxi trips).
Everybody will tell you that if you are flying in, then apply for a visa approval letter online so you can then get a visa-on-arrival for a much more reasonable (but still somewhat expensive) $45 USD. There are a lot of websites offering this service, but there are no official nor endorsed ones, so I was a bit hesitant to use such a website (especially considering how dated a lot of them look). Fortunately a friend who visits Vietnam a lot was able to recommend My Vietnam Visa . Their website design looks very late 90s and their $19.99 USD processing fee is a bit more that other sites, but they emailed me the approval letter within two business days as promised, so I am happy enough to recommend them as a hassle free experience
You will also save some time at the airport if you arrive with two completed entry/exit visa application forms (available from the visa site) and two passport photos to go along with the $45 USD fee.
For some reason I thought it would be easier to take USD for spending into the country and then exchange it for Dong. But that seems unnecessary as Ho Chi Minh City seems to have a lot of ATMs (including Citibank) at the airport and in town. I don’t recall seeing any money changes in town, but there are a few at the airport and they seem to give you a good rate and accept a lot of different currencies (so I could have just taken in SGD).