Kunming, China to Vietnam: Visas and Transportation
Getting a Vietnamese Visa in Kunming:
After a 12+ hour ride from Bijie, I arrived at the Kunming bus station around 1:00 am sans Silvia who was spending one extra night in Bijie. It was super sketchy and as soon as I stepped off of the bus I was surrounded by people yelling at me in Chinese, asking for money, trying to get me to take their taxi, etc. I hated it and definitely overpaid the taxi driver ($10) because I was desperate to leave. It’s overwhelming, unnerving, and there have been reports of people being robbed. If you push pass the scary masses and make it to the street you can find a taxi for $5.
On a lighter note, getting a Vietnamese visa in Kunming is a relatively easy process! I arrived at the consulate, which is located on the 5th floor of the Hongta building, Beijing road, #155, around 10:00 am and there was nobody else there. All you need to bring is one picture and your payment.. They provide the application, which takes all of two minutes to fill out. I paid 550 rmb ($90) for same day service with a US passport. If I had waited a few days it would have been 400 rmb ($65).
Getting From Kunming to Vietnam:
We bought bus tickets from Kunming to the border city of Hekou the morning that we left, which was no problem. The bus cost about $20 and took around six hours, much shorter than we expected. The scenery is nice, and it’s quite obvious that you are leaving China and entering Southeast Asia. The border crossing at was short and sweet on both sides. We opted not to exchange any RMB at the border because we couldn’t find a good rate. Instead we withdrew money from an ATM near the train station. We bought hard sleepers for the trip to Hanoi, which were decently comfortable and at $17 each seemed incredibly cheap after traveling in China.