FedEx should be picking up our package to the San Francisco Consulate General of Vietnam in a couple hours. Unlike Cambodia, there is no mechanism to get a travel visa on arrival (airport visa). Vietnam requires sending in an application form with a recent photo, your passport, $45, and a prepaid return envelope.
Our flight tickets are purchased, time off is scheduled. We are committed. Our final itinerary after travel time (of which there is a considerable amount) is roughly four days in each Siem Reap, Saigon, and Hanoi.
Siem Reap – Most people know this tourist town by way of the temple complex a few KM away, Angkor Wat & friends. I’m not sure if 4 days here will be too much. I’m not worried about seeing it all, the place is so massive I’m sure we will barely make a dent, but I’m wondering if we will get temple-burnout. In any case, I think a day trip somewhere else would be easy enough to arrange. Time will tell.
Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh – I’m familiar with my history, and don’t want to visit the war museums, or the tunnels. Needless to say, its not what I’m there for. I’m hoping to spend a good portion of time wandering around city and people watching. There are some amazing opportunities to visit other spots if we can tear ourselves away from the city – Mekong delta and the highlands are going to be long, but amazing day trips.
Ha Noi – Ditto as above, but I believe Hanoi also has some decent art & history museums as well as local temple sites. I wish we had some more time here, as I suspect we will only have a couple days in the city. We will probably spend the other two days in Halong Bay – ideally with some deck time, kayaking, and snorkeling. There would have been a number of great multi-day trips from Ha Noi (Sa Pa, south highlands, etc) but we simply won’t have the time. All the more reason for more trips, right?