I'm soon to arrive Hanoi airport and the arrival form is asking my address in Vietnam, but because I'm arriving early I was actually planning to walk around the old quarter and look for a room.

So my question is do I need to fill in an address on the arrival form when I have not booked a room ? And will I be denied entry if my Vietnam address is left blank ?

  • I don't know about Vietnam but some countries can be very insistent on this. One option is to book a very cheap room in advance. Many sites allow cancellation up to 1 day in advance. Also , the loss of the $ for a v low cost room is a small % of trip costs – Russell McMahon May 6 '16 at 12:40

My very first trip to Vietnam, I was in the immigration line and the German guy ahead of me was trying to explain that he couldn't give the name of the hotel, because he had hired a guide, who was waiting just outside, and the guide had booked the hotel and not told him the name. The gruff uniformed agent listened with barely concealed contempt and boredom and then told the German, "Go stand over there."

I was next and I was screwed, because I was in the exact same spot, I had hired a guide and not asked what hotel I was staying in -- and if I tried the same thing, the agent would think I was just fucking with him and probably, I don't know, deport me or arrest me or shoot me. Something.

I got up to the desk and the agent grunted, "Hotel?"

"Hotel Orient" I piped up, a name I invented on the spot, using the flimsy reasoning that we were in the Orient, and a big city like Saigon, there probably was at least one Hotel Orient.

It turned out that my guide had in fact booked me into the Hotel Orient.

Since then, on every entry form that requires a local address, in Vietnam or not, in Asia or not, I write "Hotel Orient".

No one has ever questioned it, or even noticed.

  • 1
    Rule 1 of dealing with bureaucrats- don't leave blanks unfilled. I always put down a real hotel, usually one I'm thinking of, even if I don't have a reservation. It does take a bit of preparation to have that information at your fingertips after a long flight. – Spehro Pefhany May 6 '16 at 17:31
  • First hotel listed in a guidebook (excluding implausibly expensive/elite places) is often a good standby. It'll usually be well known enough to get that "Sounds legit" response. Can be good even if you're already booked into a hostel, small hotel, B&B etc, raises less questions – user56reinstatemonica8 Aug 16 '16 at 9:07

Rather than risk there being a misunderstanding I would put down the address of where I intended to stay. Just because I say I'm going to stay somewhere doesn't mean I cannot change my mind. Sometimes even when you have a reservation the hotel is overbooked...

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