Emails from Abroad, Laos, Southeast Asia, Vietnam

Emails from Abroad #3: Entry to Vietnam Denied

Email to my mom and brothers after arriving in Vietnam from Laos, November 21st, 2011. 

“Gooooood Morning, Vietnam!!

“Made it to Hanoi last night after what will go down in the books as my most hellacious 48 hours of traveling yet.  I’ll have to tell you the gory details over skype but to sum up, after having the best three days of our lives in Vang Vieng, Laos,* we booked an overnight sleeper bus from the capital, Vientiane, to Hanoi.  What started out as the most uncomfortable 7 hr bus ride to the Vietnamese border followed by 6 hrs sleeping overnight to wait for the border crossing to open turned into Addy, Michael and I getting turned away at the border and stranded quite literally in the middle of FUCKING NOWHERE to try and find our way back to the capital to apply for visas, a process which ended up taking 10 minutes the next morning.  WHY WE COULDN’T GET VISAS AT THE BORDER, YOU ASK!?!?  I’m not quite sure but I think it has something to do with the Vietnamese border being run by total fuckwits.**

“Anyway…we are about to get on the bus to Halong Bay, but I’ve lost my debit card and am hoping to make it through the next three days with the 750,000 Dong I managed to take out using my credit card.  It’s not actually as much money as you might think.  I’m keeping in good spirits at the moment, just happy to be back with the rest of our group and about to go on what no doubt will be another amazing adventure.  Miss you guys tons and I promise I will write a real update soon, it has been very very hectic lately.

“Much love from the most disorganized, crazy country I’ve been to yet.”

Denied entry to Vietnam and stranded at the border

At least it’s a good story…?

*When tubing on the Nam Song river was still a thing…it has been all but abolished since then as a result of countless tourist deaths every year.

**FYI, you can’t get a Vietnamese visa at the land border crossings, you have to get it in advance.  But I stand by my fuckwits observation, it was total chaos.

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  • Reply Nick Kavanagh November 27, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    Hi Leah,

    Ive been reading a few of your blogs lately, really enjoying them.

    Im planning on doing solo motorbike trip up and down Vietnam early 2017. It my first time traveling to south east asia and travelling solo. I plan on buying a bike whilst Im there and flying by the seat of my pants.

    You write as from a deep wealth of knowledge about travel and I was wondering if you could offer me some tips or send me in the right direction re buying a motor bike when I land in Hanoi or any other tips SE Asia or Vietnam related.

    Cheers Nick!

    • Reply Leah Davis November 27, 2016 at 9:32 pm

      Hey Nick! Really glad you’ve been enjoying my blog posts! Unfortunately, I have no experience renting or buying a motorbike in Vietnam. I bought one in Thailand, but I imagine it’s quite different in each country! I wouldn’t even know where to begin to offer you advice. So sorry I can’t be more helpful, but I wish you the best of luck!

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