Vietnam shares three international border crossings with Cambodia at the following points:
- Moc Bai (Vietnam) to Bavet (Cambodia) is the longest established border crossing which is used on the main bus route between HCMC and Phnom Penh.
- Vinh Xuong (Vietnam) to Kaam Samnor (Cambodia) is a popular crossing amongst independent travellers. Many take a fast ferry boat from Chau Doc in the Mekong Delta as far as Phnom Penh.
- Tinh Bien (Vietnam) to Phnom Den (Cambodia) near Chau Doc gives access to southern Cambodia. It is a land crossing mainly used by locals and there’s little in the way of tansport at either side of the border (see our story below).
Ha Tien (Vietnam) is just 8km from the Cambodian border but it is strictly for locals. Foreigners are not allowed to cross here.
Our Cambodia to Vietnam Border Crossing
On our most recent trip we arrived in Vietnam from Cambodia. We took a two hour taxi ride cross country from Kampot to the border at Phnom Denh ($25) through National Geographic landscapes. We were the only foreigners in sight as we walked towards the Vietnam border feeling as though we were actors in some old Cold War movie.
A customs officer stopped us and made us fill in some forms then we were taken into an immigration for more paperwork. At this point we were allowed to cross into Vietnam where we were stopped to have our passports and visas checked whilst we filled in arrivals forms. Our luggage was then scanned. Finally at the quarantine point we had to sign something before being allowed to enter Vietnam.
This all happened within a distance of no more than 100 metres, took no more than 20 minutes and no bribery was required! It’s an unbelievable location for a border posts with beautiful padi fields surrounding post. With the high military presence on both sides it didn’t seem wise to take photos so I’ll just have to leave it to your imagination.
Once we were through the border control we were surprised to see that there was no transport around. Two lads on motorbikes offered to take us to Chau Doc for $15 each which is a fortune locally. We told them to just take us to the local town of Tinh Bien a couple of kilometres away and we’d get the bus or a taxi to Chau Doc.
No taxis or buses were obvious in Tinh Bien so we agreed to pay each motorbike rider $10 to take us the 30km to Chau Doc. The rider sits with your bag in front of him and can barely see over it while the passenger sits on the back. Nobody has a helmet … desperate times call for desperate measures.
Two very happy bikers dropped us off at the Trung Nguyen Hotel in Chau Doc and added to their day’s income by claiming a commission from the hotel once we’d gone to our room. Good luck to them.