Asia,  Cambodia,  Travel,  Vietnam

How to Cross the Border Between Vietnam and Cambodia by Land

I decided to cross over to Cambodia in a bus from Ho Chi Minh City. This option was much cheaper ($18 dollaaaa) and more convenient than the airport because I didn’t have to worry about transport to and from center city or checking my bag. However, it did mean I had to go through “immigration” over land which I had heard a few horror stories about. I decided to book with the most luxury of bus services, Giant Ibis bus, to take the trip. I heard they helped you with the visa process at the border and had WiFi/AC. I was expecting to get scammed for a few extra dollars at the border but just wanted to be scammed safely.

I got on the bus and was disappointed but not surprised when the WiFi didn’t work and the AC was weak. I was sitting next to a middle-aged Canadian women who spent an hour lecturing me on the dangers of me being alone in Asia. Move along, lady. Yawn.

When we were close to the border the bus attendant took the forms we filled out, our passports, and 35 dollars. I was a little irritated because I was hoping to not be scammed (visa is only 30, so the bus attendants were skimming the five dollars per visa for themselves) but choose your battles, eh?

The border crossing itself required patience but was fairly simple. We got off the bus and filed into this big room. We went right through security, walking through the detector, and didn’t even have to put our bags down. Felt a little ~shady~.

We walked right up to the desk and then just waited. And waited. For about an hour. At least it was air conditioned. We saw many other people giving random men bribes in their passport and being sent straight through. Suddenly they started calling names one by one, I was called in the middle, to grab our passports and we walked through, getting the passports checked one last time by the door. I don’t think anyone ever looked at my picture or information. I could have had my brothers passport and I think I would have still gotten through. Next we had to wait for everyone to get pass the desks.

Honestly, I was happy to pay the five dollars because I can’t imagine doing this myself. I talked to a Canadian couple who had their passports, trying to do the visa process themselves, and were told to pay 75 dollars which is ridiculous. Because they refused the man, they had no idea what to do or how to get through so they were just hanging around. See now, I would be prepared for something like this and would have done my research but I am still glad I didn’t have to deal with it.

Next, we got on the bus and had lunch before crossing the Cambodia side of the gate. At the Cambodia border we stood in lines like at the airport and got our passports stamped, visas already inside. Apparently if you had gotten an e-visa it took a lot longer. A Canadian women was near tears and kept saying an employee was nasty to her but she was just dragging her feet and expecting the man to speak English. We aren’t in Toronto anymore! After a few minutes we were through the crossing and back on the bus.

So, fairly uneventful. The whole trip lasted from 8 am to about 5 pm so it was a long day (they advertised 6 hours, HA). The bus company refused to drop us in the town as promised so we were quite literally thrown on the side of the road and had to hail tuktuks to the center.

I had beer that night.

Safe in Cambodia.


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