Well, it was visa run time again and this time we decided on doing a quicky to Laos and also use it as an opportunity to view the countryside. While it wasn’t an unpleasant trip – it’s unlikely we’ll be doing this one again.
I thought we were meant to stop in Khe Sahn and was really looking forward to it, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. Khe Sahn is named after the district capital of Hướng Hóa District, Quảng Trị Province, Vietnam. In Australia, back in the late 70’s, many of us grew up singing along to Cold Chisel’s Khe Sanh song. For those of you who don’t know, the song is about an Australian Vietnam veteran dealing with his return to civilian life – womanising, PTSD, addiction drugs, working on oil rigs and flying helicopters.
So, this post is a bit of a fizzer really and probably only of interest to others doing this run.
Details for others, who are considering a van visa run to Laos:
- Firstly, join the Visa Van Facebook Group to find out when their scheduled runs are and I would suggest at least one month in advance.
- Cost: 1 million VND p/p = 2 million VND for Jim and I ie. around $120 AUD
- Other costs:
- Vietnam Visa letter – We used Henry Vo mobile: 012 771 516 18 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org It was $45 USD then add on delivery etc it was $52USD (for both of us) = $74 AUD
- Vietnam Stamping $25 USD pp = $67 AUD
- Laos Visa $35 USD pp = $80 AUD
- TOTAL COST: $393 AUD
- Remember to take: Visa letter, 2 x photos and stamping money. FYI, both Countries accepted either USD or VND.
- Meeting place: An Thuong 32 Da Nang, Vietnam @ 6.30am
This is how our day panned out:
This was a no-nonsense, non-stop, shuttle service. You only stop when you need a loo break (BYO paper, by the way). So unfortunately we hardly have any pics to share, but I did pinch one off the internet of a war memorial monument in the middle of Khe Sahn which I will add to this post, as unfortunately it was raining and the van was going too fast for me to take a photo.
6.30am: Depart Da Nang (An Thuong 32)
11.30am: Arrived at Border
Expect to go back and forth a bit. When you arrive, you need to walk 500 m into Laos, to exit out of Vietnam and to do your entrance visa for Laos – then walk back towards Vietnam about 300 m to exit out of Laos and then obtain your Vietnam visa. It was a little arse-about but we got there.
Lunch was provided by the organisers and there was a great selection of food by Hilly, an expat Baker from Australia! One of the best tuna salad sangas I have ever had.
2pm: Depart Border
630pm: Arrive back in Da Nang