Visa, Gateways & Border crossings


International visitors require a visa to enter the country; a one month or three month tourist single or multi-entry visa.  The visa needs to be pre-arranged before travelling to Viet Nam.  There are two ways to pre-arrange a tourist visa:

  1. Apply at any Vietnamese embassy or consulate either by post or in person.  For a list of Vietnamese embassies, refer to The cost of the visa tends to vary from embassy to embassy.  Two passport photos are usually required and processing takes around five working days.  Express services are normally available for an extra fee.
  2. Apply online and Get the visa upon arrival at the airport.  Search the internet for “Viet Nam Visa upon arrival” or check After payment for the online service, you’ll receive a  pre-approval letter (within 48 hours), which you will hand at the ‘visa on arrival’ counter at the airports, where you’ll pay the visa fee according to the type you chose online and provide your pictures.

Note: In both cases cautiously indicate where you will arrive and make sure the border crossing you are planning to cross does deliver the pre-arranged visa on arrival.

Exemptions: 30 days free visa for Nationals of Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. 15 days free visa for Nationals of Denmark, Finland, Japan, Norway, South Korea and Sweden

Getting There and Away

For up-to-date information on border crossings refer to

To get to and from Viet Nam is easy.  There are 13 international land border crossings (five with Cambodia, six with Lao PDR and two with China) and four international airports (Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City. Danang only has limited international flights, and Phu Quoc is due open to international arrivals by 2013).  It is also possible to enter and exit Viet Nam by boat from Cambodia and by train from China. There are also more than a dozen domestic airports.

Border Crossings

Viet Nam has international and local border crossings.  Local border crossings are open to locals on each side of the border only, while international crossings are generally open to all foreign nationalities that have a valid passport and visa.

All land border crossings require a visa; a visa on arrival is only possible when you enter the country by air. Land border crossings are generally open during working hours and on weekends.  You may also need to pay entry or exit fees at some of the border crossings.  Also be aware that some of the remote border crossings have only limited transport options and it is better to arrive at the border crossings in the morning.

Cambodia / Viet Nam

Bavet/Moc Bai, Kaam Samnor/Ving Xuong, Phnom Den/Tinh Bien, Prek Chak/Xa Xia, Le Thanh/O Yadao.

Lao PDR / Viet Nam

Sop Hun/Tay Trang, Na Maew/Nam Xoi, Nam Can/Nam Khan, Nam Phao/Cau Treo, Dansavanh/Lao Bao, Bo Y/Ngoc Hoi.

Viet Nam/China

Mong Cai/Dong Hung, Dong Dang/Ping Xian, Lao Cai/Hekou.

Local Time and Working Hours

The time zone is GMT/UTC +7.

Working days are from Monday to Friday. The Office hours are 8am to 12pm and 1.30pm to 5.30pm.  Restaurants and shops are generally open from 8am to 11pm 7 days a week.


Viet Nam’s currency is the Vietnamese Dong (VND), though US dollars are widely accepted.  Foreign currencies can be exchanged at the bank or exchange bureau.  Traveller cheques and credit cards are generally accepted in hotels and in cities.  Major cities and tourist areas have ATMs that accept international credit cards.  It is recommended that you bring some cash. In June 2011, US$1 equalled VND 21,000.

Keeping Healthy

No vaccinations are officially required, but local medical authorities recommend protection against polio, diphtheria, typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis A and B, and Japanese encephalitis.  For travellers spending time in the countryside, precautions should be taken to not get bitten by mosquitoes.  Repellents (day & night) and mosquito nets are necessary.

For up-to-date information refer to:

Medical care facilities are available in the largest cities, but are limited in the rural areas. All travellers are advised to bring required prescription medications in the original containers.  You should pack a small medical kit, which includes sunscreen, insect repellent, diarrhoea medication, ibuprofen or aspirin and antibacterial ointments.

Pharmacies carry most common medicines and antibiotics at a reasonable price, and prescriptions are rarely needed.  Though there are many tropical diseases, the most common ailments inflicting travellers are diarrhoea, upset stomachs and dehydration.  The best advice is to use common sense, avoid tap water and drink plenty of bottled or filtered water (please limit if possible the use of plastic).

Emergency Contact Numbers

General emergency telephone numbers

Ambulance: 115

Fire: 114

Police: 113

For medical emergencies in Hanoi

International SOS
51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Hanoi
Tel: (844) 934-0555
Fax: (844) 934-0556

Hanoi Clinic: (844) 934 0666

Hanoi Family Medical Practice
Diplomatic Compound
298 I Kim Ma Road, Hanoi
Tel: (84-4) 843-0748
Fax: (84-4) 846-1750

24-hour emergency: 0903-401-919

Hanoi French Hospital
No. 1 Phuong Mai, Dong Da, Hanoi,
Tel: 84-4-5771100
Fax: 84-4-5764443

Viet Duc Hospital
40 Trang Thi Street, Hanoi
Tel: (844) 825-3531
Fax: (844) 824-8308
Clinic: (844) 828-9852

For medical emergencies in Ho Chi Minh City

International SOS Viet Nam, Ltd.
167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia St, D3, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel +84 83 829 8424
Fax +84 83 829 8551

Columbia Asia Gia Dinh International
01 No Trang Long Street, Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam
Tel: + 84 8 803 0678
Fax: + 84 8 803 0677

Columbia Asia Saigon International Clinic
(Corner of Pasteur Street and Alexandre de Rhodes Street)
08 Alexandre de Rhodes, District 1
Ho Chi Mingh City, Viet Nam
Tel: + 84 8 823 8455
Fax: + 84 8 823 8454

OSCAT/AEA International Clinic

65 Nguyen Du, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

Tel: 848 829-8520

Fax: 848 829-8551

FV (Franco-Vietnamese) Hospital

6 Nguyen Luong Bang Street,

Tan Phu Ward, District 7

Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam.

Tel: + 848 411 3333

Fax: + 848 411 3334

Ortho Tri-Cyclen Online
Buy Evista
Buy Estrace Online