Travel from Korea for vacation can sometimes be complicated. Information in English is scarce and sometimes we can only rely on travel forums or friends for help. That’s why many people end up in the same common locations — Thailand, the Philippines, Japan, etc.
But Alan Dialon wanted to get off those well-beaten beach paths and try something different. Deciding on Vietnam, he survived his way through a desert parched of English information for getting visas and tickets. He’s definitely not the first to go from Seoul to Ho Chi Min, but has lived to tell the tale, and is gracious enough to share his expertise with the rest of us wide-eyed waygooks:
With anticipation, my wife and I started planning our winter holiday to Vietnam and we were aware that a visa was required for entry into the country. I searched throughout the expat websites to see if there was any current information on the process to obtain the visa as well as the location for the Vietnamese Embassy in Seoul. I was unable to locate any current information, so I tried the official Vietnamese Embassy website. That website was able to give me the address for the embassy but not much else. I was left putting together the pieces of the information obtained from various resources that I needed to obtain my visa in Seoul.
Because of this experience, I want to share the information that is accurate and correct as of November 2013 with the ex-pat community so that obtaining your Vietnamese visa would be a bit easier.
The Vietnamese Embassy is located at 123 Bukchon-Ro, Jongno-Gu, 110-230 which is just north of the Insadong area, and can be reached easily by two Maeul buses, Jongno 2 and Jongno 11. You should know that the Embassy closes completely for lunch from 12 noon – 2 pm.
Jongno 2 can be picked up at Anguk Station – Line 3 Orange, exit # 2, and taken to the감사원stop, (6 stops total, my wife likes to know how many stops. At this point, you will exit and continue on Bukchon-Ro, about 300 meters , and you will find the embassy compound on your left-hand side.
Jongno 11 can be picked up at the Gwangwahmun station – Line 5 Purple, exit # 2. You will take this bus to the end of the line 삼청공원 (6 stops total) where you’ll be asked to get off. You will then walk down the street about 150 meters, and turn left on Bukchon-Ro. You will go up that street about 100 meters and turn right. At that point, you will see the embassy straight in front of you.
Once you enter the embassy grounds, you will turn to your left and follow the signs for visa application which is in B-4. When you enter B-4, you will see the sign over the desk that says visa. I was greeted by a professional young woman who is fluent in 3 languages; one of which is English.
When you arrive, you will be asked to show your passport and you will be given the form to fill out to obtain your visa. In order to complete the document you will need a passport size photo, the exact dates of travel, and the name and address of the location – where you are staying. I was told by the clerk that it is important to give the exact dates of your travel, as you will not be allowed to enter the country prior to the date on the visa, and you will not be allowed to leave (legally) after the date of the visa.
Once the form is completed you will hand it and your passport back to the clerk and she will provide you with a receipt for your passport. She will instruct you that you can pick up your visa and passport 7 days after the date that you completed your application. You can pick up your visa at the embassy in building, B-2. The cost of a single entry visa is 95,000 Won, and is payable in cash only.
I hope you will find this information useful and enjoy your holiday in Vietnam!
Alan and his wife moved from Las Vegas to Seoul 2 ½ years ago. When they moved here, Alan decided that he was going to do his best to live a local lifestyle. He goes out weekly in search of the everyday adventures that Seoul has to offer. He is hoping to bring insight and information about topics of interest to Expats, who might be a bit leery to investigate things on their own.
Alan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, with any questions.