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backpacker guide to Thai visa runs to Vietnam

Everything You Need to Know About Thai Visa Runs to Vietnam

Thai Visa Runs to Vietnam: Signed, Sealed and Delivered!

Thailand is such a great country that it’s easy to stay, and stay, and stay a little more. At some point you’re going to need a new visa though, and it’s often easiest to head to a neighboring country to grab one. Visa runs to Vietnam are a great way to get all your paperwork sorted and explore a little on the way.

Whether you’re hanging out in Chiang Mai, Bangkok or on the beaches, it’s easy enough to get to Vietnam to get your new Thai visa. There are a whole host of independent travel options and no shortage of travel agents happy to book you a package that will get you there and back safely. Vietnam is a great option since it’s one of the cheapest Thai visa runs to choose from. The other bonus is that Vietnam rocks, and there are tons of cool things to see and do while you’re there! Here’s our insider’s guide to a Thai visa run to Vietnam.

PS: Keep in mind that on every Thai tourist visa, you’re able to extend your stay by 30 days for 1,900 baht at immigration. Read up on how to extend your Thai visa with our quick guide since it’s often a better call!

Where To Get a Thai Visa in Vietnam

The two embassies you can head for are in Ho Chi Minh City in the south, and Hanoi in the north. Your first job is to choose which one to head for, and it might depend on more than just logistics.

Ho Chi Minh is a mega-city on a grand scale. Sprawling, busy and modernizing fast, it’s host to Vietnam’s answer to Bangkok’s party street, Khao San Road (Bui Vien) and is a great fun place to spend a couple of days. Hanoi, in complete contrast, is a traditional city jam packed with history and culture. The pace of life is slower here and the old town sees hoards of bicycles jostling with the scooters and modern-day traffic.

You can fly to both cities from Thailand for roughly the same price (around $100 return with an airline like Jetstar or AirAsia), so check a website like Skyscanner for deals and see if you can score a cheap ticket to the destination of your choice. If you’d rather go overland then use a website like 12go.Asia to find bus and train routes. Just be aware these types of travel may take quite a while, and there’s the small matter of Laos and Cambodia in the way!

how to get your Thai tourist visa in Vietnam

Thai Tourist Visas in Ho Chi Minh City

The Thai Consulate in Ho Chi Minh is in the Quan 3 neighborhood to the west of the city; any taxi or Grab bike should be able to get you there. Get your paperwork prepared in advance to make sure your visit goes smoothly. You’ll need:

  • Your passport, with at least 6 months validity remaining
  • An application form (or they can provide you with one if you haven’t been able to print one out)
  • An inbound and outbound ticket from Thailand (bus, train or air are normally OK)
  • 1 passport photo
  • The visa fee for your nationality in $US dollars

The consulate is open from 08:30 AM to 11:30 AM Monday to Friday to submit your application, and you return the following day from 13:30 PM to 16:00 PM to pick it up.

What to do with the time between? Visit the old Viet Cong tunnel network at Cu Chi, take a half day trip to the Mekong Delta to the south or just hang out and enjoy the big city atmosphere.

Thai visa runs to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Thai Tourist Visas in Hanoi

The Thai Embassy in Hanoi is near to the Ga Ha Noi railway station; it’s an easy walk from the old town but taxis are pretty affordable in case you don’t fancy the trip. The listed requirements to get a Thai visa are slightly more extensive here, with some travelers being asked for some or all of the following:

  • Your passport, with at least 6 months validity remaining
  • Photocopy of the picture page of your passport
  • An application form (or they can provide you with one if you haven’t been able to print one out)
  • An inbound and outbound ticket from Thailand (bus, train or air are normally OK)
  • 1 passport photo
  • The visa fee for your nationality in $US dollars
  • Travel insurance certificate
  • Bank statement
  • Addresses in Vietnam or Thailand (this can be your accommodation address)

The embassy is open from 08:30 AM to 12:00 PM Monday to Friday to submit your application, and you return the following day at 16:00 PM to pick it up.

What to do with the time between? Spend hours wandering the beautiful shop fronts of Hanoi Old Town, take a stroll around Hoan Kiem lake or zoom up the coast for a glimpse of Halong Bay. You won’t be bored!

Thai visa runs to Hanoi, Vietnam

Tips for Applying for a Thai Visa in Vietnam

As is always the case with visas, the rules and regulations can change at a moment’s notice so make sure to check online before you head off. It’s the worst feeling standing outside an embassy begging for a visa with the wrong paperwork- believe us, we’ve done it! Those security guards are pretty unsympathetic…

Our last piece of advice is to remember to check whether you need a visa to get into Vietnam itself. US citizens can currently get a visa on arrival for few bucks, and for other nationalities like the UK there is currently a 15 day visa waiver in force. Make sure you’ve got some US dollars on you when you arrive and you won’t have a problem.

Simple, Hassle-Free and Fun

Overall, Vietnam is a great choice for a Thai visa run. The prices are rock bottom, the food is great and the people are friendly. The only problem you’ll face is wanting to come back to stay for longer!

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