Rules of Hotels & Apartments in Vietnam
Some of the most strange things in Vietnam are related to hotels and apartments. They have this obsession with your passport. If you don’t hand over your passport, there will be a big chance they won’t let you stay. If you’re lucky, they accept a copy. Why all this fuss about it? It’s been told that everyone needs to register foreigners at the ward police office. Even hotels.
So they need your data, although, if true, that alone can never be reason enough to keep your passport every single minute of your stay. The problem is that westerners are quite afraid to hand over their passport for many days. It is even prohibited by many countries.
When you stay in a private apartment, the owner needs to go with you for registration at the ward police office. Register at the ward police office is simple. Hardly any of the civil servants speak a word English when the apartment and police office isn’t in the tourist area. Go with the house owner, fill in a form with name, date, passport data and visa number. Bring copies of all, get it stamped and leave. Which can still take around two hours. It’s free of charge.
Guests in hotel
What you might need to know too. Foreigners are often not allowed to bring Vietnamese women to their hotel room. Not sure if this rule is coming from the hotel itself or that it’s a government law. Of course, there are hotels to find which do accept it, although there are also stories about a foreign husband with his Vietnamese wife who had to take two different hotel rooms to get in. A Vietnamese with a foreigner in one room can easily be seen by law as a prostitute, which is forbidden.
Surprising is that most hotels outside the tourist area have big signs on the sidewalk, in front of the hotel, mentioning prices for 1 hr or 2 hrs. Often in Asian countries the culture is that you can’t bring your bf/gf to your family home and surely not to stay overnight together (before marriage). This explains the hotels 1 or 2 hr prices. You can question the percentage of couples making use of this who are dating, bf/gf, or even prostitutes. One thing for sure, it’s booming business as you’ll often find 10+ of such signs/hotels in one single street.
Hotels in Lao
In Lao it’s by govt law not allowed to be physically involved with a Laotian as a foreigner before marriage. Most hotels therefore don’t accept guests in rooms. Also washing your clothes, gambling, alcohol and other things can be prohibited. Passport has to be shown for data at arrival but will be returned to you after that.
Hotels / Apartments in Thailand
All hotels want to see your passport to write the data. They return it after that. Take note that often hotels in Thailand ask for your immigration departure card too. They write down the card number as well as your visa number. Thai guests can be brought in but usually need to leave their ID card down at the reception. Once the guest leaves, the person from the room has to give permission to return the ID card to the Thai.
When you live in an apartment and write the address on your immigration arrival card, you might be questioned. In that case it’s good to have a police registration slip to show. You need to register yourself within 24 hrs of entering Thailand at the police department of the regional immigration office from the city where you rent an apartment.
The house owner should join you with that. The owner has to bring a copy of ID, copy of contract with you for rent and a copy of the house ownership papers. You need to bring a copy of passport, copy of departure card, copy of previous registration slip and copy of visa. No payment is charged for this all. Note that you need to repeat this every time that you have been out of the country. This counts for people on tourist visa. People on retirement visa don’t need to do that, but they do need to get a stamp from the immigration office every three months, as long as they are in town, not when they’re out of the country.
Hotels / Apartments in Nepal
To rent an apartment in Nepal is easy too. You just pay two or three months advance. Usually that means that you don’t have to pay on your 2nd and 3rd month. Contracts can be made, but aren’t necessary at all. Only when you do business, or like to have some kind of back up, you can decide to get yourself a contract. In case of issues, it will still be the question what a contract is worth in certain countries. Most foreigners I know, lived for many years at many different addresses without any contracts and without any problems. No registration is needed at ward or police offices. Address registration will be needed in case of a marriage.
All information above is depending on changes in law, which areas of hotels and also which price. 5 star hotels are usually more strict than an average hotel or backpacker place. Still it’s worth to take the mentioned info into account so that you be prepared.