When I got married here in China I went to the consulate in Chengdu and got a 'Certificate of Marriageability'. You need a divorce decree, death certificate, or swear you have never been married.
When I returned to Dali an idiot bureaucrat refused to accept it because the consulate put their official stamp on the original document and not on the translation that the consulate provided. She wanted me to go back to Chengdu! I called the consulate and they called the recalcitrant official and somehow got her to accept the document.
It would seem that this document should be proof that you are in fact single, but don't count on it!
There are many beautiful and welcoming countries in this world. The USA doesn't happen to be one of them. I'm an American living in Kunming for several year and know for a fact that there is no way I could get my Chinese wife a visa to visit the US with me.
On the other hand I have found the consulate in Chengdu to be very helpful. They renewed my US passport by mail and helped with the papers I needed to get married. But on this issue, forget it! Why do you think the Chinese charge Americans $100 more for our visas than all other nationals?
The return from Hanoi is a piece of cake. Very comfortable night sleeper train arrives in Lao Cai about 6AM. Time for breakfast and your last cup of good Vietnamese coffee. When the border opens there is time to cross and get the day bus to KM that leaves about 9:30 and gets into KM around 5PM.
For some reason all the travel blogs I have found recommend the sleeper bus from KM to Hekou. The problems with this I described in my last post. No one mentions being stuck in either Hekou or Lao Cai for 12 hours. Or take the bone breaker day train. It was kind of interesting though as it is the cheapest and was filled with Vietnamese peasants. If it's your first contact with Vietnamese you notice how friendly they are sharing food and smiles. Then you arrive in Hanoi feeling like a truck ran over you!
Last December I took the night sleeper bus to Hekou. While I was sleeping I was ripped off for 3000 RMB which was in my shoulder bag under my blanket. I was lucky as they could have taken the whole bag with my passport, camera etc., but they just wanted the cash. This bus is known to be plagued with thieves, so watch out!
The other problem with this night bus is that it arrives in Hekou at 5AM and you have to wait 2 hours to cross into Lao Cai. And once in Lao Cai the only day train to Hanoi takes about 12 hours and has only hard seats.
The comfortable night sleeper trains leave after 8PM arrives in Hanoi in the morning. So if you want to wait for the night train to Hanoi you will be stuck in Lao Cai for 12 hours! I took the hard seat day train and it was literally a pain in the ass.
OK, and this is my question. The first day bus from Kunming to Hekou leaves at 9:40 AM and is 'supposed' to arrive in Hekou at 5:40 PM China time. The border is supposed to close at 6 PM. If there is time to cross the border this would be ideal as there would only be a short wait for the night train into Hanoi. If you miss the border crossing than you're stuck in Hekou. Has anyone done this??
If you live in Kunming as I do, then you know that it's impossible to get reliable information about anything. And why would they schedule a morning departure to Hekou that would arrive too late to cross into VN? Only possible answer would be perversity!
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