Visa to Great Britain (tips for Vietnamese)
Although being a European country, UK is not in Schengen group like other European countries. Therefore, in order to visit it, we need to apply for a separate UK visa, covering England, Scotland and North Ireland. The required documents are similar to what we need for Schengen visa. It will take around 15 working days and visa fee is $120. The visa will valid for 180 days from the day granted with multi entry.
The application requires following documents (in English)
- Application letter
- Passport with more than 6 months valid
- 1 picture 4×6 on white background
Financial documents (Bank statement in last 6 months, saving account).
- Employment Certificate: Approved letter for annual leave, Pay slip for last 3 months or Employment contract
- Round trip flight ticket.
- Itinerary and hotel booking
Get to UK
- From Vietnam to the big cities of England and Scotland is a long journey of about 15 – 20 hours. We bought flight ticket from British Airway, transited in Doha of Qatar to Edinburgh of Scotland. This flight was the most reasonable for both duration and transit with the price of 1200$.
- If we take the round trip from Saigon to London, the price is slightly cheaper (from 800$) and there are many airlines such as Qatar, Air China, Quantas, Vietnam airline.
Tips for self-driving in UK
- You should book the car prior the trip to get better price and many options on the brands and types. All the car rental agents have similar prices, hence you should check a few of them to get familiar with the price range. We had originally rented a Volvo XC 60, sedan 5-seat car (or something similar) with SIXT at the fee of 1200 GBP for 10 days, excluded fuel fee. However, when we picked up the car, we were upgraded to BMW X6 for free. It was wonderful.
- There are many insurance packages attached to rental fee. For me, to free my mind of the scratches along the way, I tended to select the full package. As the result, we didn’t have to check the car when pick-up and return.
- Car in UK has right wheel, hence the most important thing you need to remember is driving in the left side of the road. The easiest way is to follow the car ahead to avoid driving on the wrong lane. Remember the driver seat is always near the middle line.
- Legally, you can drive any small car in UK for 12 months with your valid driving licence. For Vietnamese, you need a dual language (Vietnamese-English) license, or a separate legal translation.
- British streets are fairly narrow, even the highway. The roads in countryside are smaller, winding and steep slopes. The vehicle coming uphill is always given priority. In many regions, roads have only 1 lane, however there are lots of pass-way alongside. Therefore, when driving on those roads, you should observe further than normal and actively stop your car in the pass-way in advance.
- Flash your lights or blink your hazard lights a few times to express ‘thank you’, ‘you’re welcome’ or ‘go ahead’, depending on the situation
Food & Drink
- British cuisine is somewhat boring, the most famous dish is Fish and Chips. We really enjoyed the grilled mushroom as it’s big and sweet. It’s surprised that seafood is very fresh and delicious, particularly lobster, tastier and cheaper than that in Vietnam.
- Typical polar fruit with apple, pear and peach and all kinds of berry
Accommodation in UK is fairly expensive with around 60-80 GBP per pax per night (sharing room). We stayed in all kinds of accommodation from camp cabin, to hotel room, to airbnb apartment. Our favorite was the lovely Pomaly house at Loch Ness with very nice room, refreshing countryside ambiance and superb breakfast.
The cabin in Dunvegan Camping Pod was cute and cozy, while the Unicorn Aparthotel Suites in Stow on the wold was the biggest with 2 floors.
The owners of Denehust guest house in Windermere were kind and enthusiastically gave us some tips about the region, as well as prepared wonderful breakfast.
The total cost of a 14-day trip is 3,800 USD (in 2017).
Traveled in Sep, 2017