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Crossing the border from Vietnam to Cambodia (almost) with no worries

The border crossing from Vietnam to Cambodia is relatively quiet, only needed to watch the crucial moments of the trip and nothing more will probably occur to you or your documents, but some basic precautions are needed, and attention, of course!

When making a trip to Southeast Asia, two countries with almost obligatory visit are Vietnam and Cambodia. His landscapes, people and culture are amazing, but not always the budget allows it to move only by plane. But that is not necessarily a concern.

The Ho Chi Minh City trip (main Vietnamese city) to Phnom Penh (Cambodian capital) takes, by bus, between 6 and 7 hours, depending on the time that you spend to cross the border. I saw a lot of stress on the internet about the crossing, which immigration officials try to bribe you all the time, that the environment was so hostile, etc. However, I will expose what we faced in the Vietnam-Cambodia bus ride.

The bus was scheduled to leave at 8:30am the company Sinh Tourist, located in Pham Ngu Lao street area, right in the heart of Ho Chi Minh. A half hour of anticipation on arrival at the site is necessary so that the bus can leave on time, what actually happened.

It got out before, but only to take a short ride around the block and open space for other vehicles, as this is not actually a bus station, this is the middle of the street, very normal in Vietnam.

Soon the bus left, our passports were collected by the bus company staff. A strange procedure to our eyes, but normal for this route. From Vietnam, the bus goes straight to the border with Cambodia. This is the first stop.

This is where everyone goes down the bus the first time to the official Vietnam’s output. It is pretty confusing everything. No one gives you any information, just some words in Vietnamese from bus company employees. But just follow the herd and expect your passport and they call by name. Try to stay with the staff of his coach, identify an employee who was working on the route and also decorate the bus plate as there are several buses doing the same border procedure.

Border Vietnam-Cambodia: Seen from inside the bus

Border Vietnam-Cambodia: Seen from inside the bus

With the Vietnam recorded stamp, all come back to the bus and follow more some 150 meters to the next stop: now, entry into Cambodia. We are in Bavet.

Welcome to Cambodia

Welcome to Cambodia

Here comes a controversial point because the visa to Cambodia can be obtained by Brazilians on entry into the country, called visa on arrival. It costs US$30 and take the exact amount in dollars, just right for this procedure, and 2 recent 3×4 in photos with white background. This, you find in every travel blog fussing over the internet. And what happen to us? Bribery? Pressure? Discomfort? Nothing!

The bus employee asked if we had a visa to Cambodia, we answer no and he said it cost US$35 and we didn’t need to go through any bureaucracy. Such are the US$5 I saw the guys complaining about on the internet.

Well, everyone was doing the same thing, then again we delivered our passports with additional exact US$35 for each. That US$5, logical, are not for obtaining a visa. They are to bribe officials or something, because the pictures were not necessary, just even money.

We didn’t need to get off the bus because Michael has a physical disability, officials said he could stay on the bus. But to all be together, all went down. 🙂

Cambodian side

Cambodian side

Back in the bus, officially cambodian territory, we walked about 2 km and arrived at the stop for lunch at noon and had seafood lunch with rice for US$5 for two people. The official currency of Cambodia is the Riel, quoted at that time about 4,000 to 1 US dollar.

But they accept the dollar of course, no problem, even the ATMs provide dollar when it will serve. It is good to pick up a few extra dollars if you need to for the rest of the trip and without having to worry about paying fees for it.


Lunch in the middle of nowhere

Lunch in the middle of nowhere

At the time we went out to eat, the bus company’s employee has delivered the passport with the cambodian visa, all right, US$35 less in our wallet, but with the sun over 35 degrees Celsius that was doing on that day, I din’t think of going walking with a walking stick and a heavy backpack…

If you do not want to pay the US$5, please feel free to question the bus staff and do everything alone, but as we didn’t do it, we can not say about it, ok?!

We traveled in Cambodian roads almost 2 hours, we stopped again, now in the middle of nowhere, to the bathroom and buy something to eat/drink. Just run to the no. 1 and returned to the bus. From there, again the way to Phnom Penh and the arrival took place on schedule at 16h or so.

Stop, now in Cambodia

Stop, now in Cambodia

Have you done this way and it was different to you? Are you planning on doing it, but we didn’t explain well? Leave a comment to us and we help you, ok, buddy??



  1. Olá! Gostei das dicas de vocês. Tenho uma dúvida na verdade sobre o visto para o Vietnã. Irei de avião até Hanoi e pretendo passar 10 dias viajando pelo país e atravessar a fronteira para o Camboja de ônibus. Como entrarei e sairei de formas diferentes do país não sei qual a melhor forma de conseguir o visto, pois pela embaixada precisaria confirmar a saída através de um voo também. Como foi com vocês?

    • Olá, Eduarda, boa tarde. Para o Vietnã, há o visto de uma e o visto de múltiplas entradas. O ideal é que você solicite o visto de múltiplas entradas então e simule uma passagem de saída para o dia em que você estiver deixando o país (mesmo que você não vá usá-la) apenas para mostrá-la no momento de solicitação do visto. Dessa forma, eles te darão o visto de múltiplas entradas e você poderá sair e entrar dentro do período em que você solicitou. Procure deixar o tempo máximo dentro dessas suas “passagens” para o visto ter o período máximo de validade.

  2. Estarei indo em fevereiro 2017 . Depois de conhecer a Tailândia ( vou ficar 3 meses ) . No caminho ao contrário vc acha que e do mesmo jeito .. 35 dolares resolve tudo … obrigado

    • Olá, Eduardo. Como você vai por terra, o procedimento é o mesmo. De qualquer forma, você entrará no Camboja por terra e o procedimento é o mesmo. Prepare-se porque o negócio é zoado e o calor é de matar. Te deixam de um lado da fronteira e só te pegam do outro. Dá uns 700 metros de pernada com mochila nas costas em um sol de rachar o côco! Boa viagem!! 😀

  3. olá,
    Como você comprou a passagem de onibus?
    Pela internet ou direto com a agencia (thesinhtourist)?

    • Oi, Lucas, o esquema é ir direto para a loja deles. Bem pertinho da praça principal e do Mc Donald’s de Ho Chi Minh. Eles são organizados, mas na hora do embarque é uma verdadeira zona. De qualquer forma, você consegue embarcar. Só aumente seu nível de tolerância à sujeira e à falta de infraestrutura. Boas viagens! 😀


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