Em and I have a day in Ho Chi Minh city on the way home from our flying visit to the UK. We are hoping to refresh at Dam Sen water-park.
The Consulate General of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam warns of a bunch of scammer websites. Many of the scam websites listed use Vietnamese government domain names. This leads to the question, who can you trust?
The difficulty of acquiring a visa seems to be inversely proportional to the size of custom officials epaulets and hats. Searching for "visa on arrival’ approval letter vietnam yields a plethora of confabulation. These services offer to organise Visas or 'Approval Letters' which apparently speed up the whole process at the airport. It is hard to work out exactly which are legitimate.
TripAdvisor has a good article that seems to cut through the crud. The choice it seems is to use your local embassy/consulate for inconvenient (registered post, fax, uninterpretable instructions) yet guaranteed/safe results or roll the dice and choose one of the third-party bulk visa/approval application services. I'm guessing most people opt for convenience.
The Consulate General of Vietnam in Perth, Western Australia appears to be the only legit source I can currently find for Australians.
I rolled the dice and plumped with the http://www.vietnamvisacorp.com/ application service.
It cost me $17USD for each of us and I should get an email in two days... I'll let you know how it goes.
Two days later...
Yup, got the email with the needed paperwork and instructions. All good. I will update again after I have successfully(!?) negotiated the Vietnamese border.