"Crossing the Cambodia Vietnam border was Like a Change of Worlds and Dimensions!"
This info will make the trip across the Cambodian border into Vietnam as easy as possible.
You'll come along on every possible route from Phnom Penh, Cambodia to a Guesthouse in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam.
The Cambodia Vietnam trip is not all that painful so if you find yourself in Phnom Penh, Cambodia then going overland by bus is worth the trip at $8USD for a One-Way fare.
Or you could choose to take the fast boat to Chau Doc, Vietnam for $22USD.
And then there's the Airplane just sitting on the tarmac waiting to take you from Cambodia to Vietnam in record time. Look for the best deals at travel agents away from the Pham Ngu Lao are of Ho Chi Minh city.
Don't buy through your Guest house no matter how much they beg.
As of February 17th / 2015 it is about $125USD for a one-way ticket including taxes.
Each of the choices for crossing the Cambodia Vietnam border has benefits and drawbacks (especially if you are limited in the cash department).
You can fly First-Class with Angelina Jolie's Picture in your back pocket or you can climb aboard a bus that may or may not have a few chickens on it.
Also, see the videos on this page so you can actually see with your own eyes what is going on. Video is great for letting you make your own decisions.
There is a video further down the page that takes you from the bus station in Phnom Penh, Cambodia to the Cambodia Vietnam border crossing at Bavet / Moc Bai.
And from there The video guides you right into a Guesthouse in Saigon, Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City).
I'll focus this page on the assumption that you'll be heading to Phnom Penh and from there onto Vietnam.
There are 3 Methods of Doing the Cambodia Vietnam Crossing
A daily boat service links Phnom Penh, Cambodia to Chau Doc, Vietnam (Cambodia-Vietnam). This Express Boat Leaves Phnom Penh at 8:00AM and arrives in Chau Doc at 1.30PM the same day at a cost of $19USD.
This air-conditioned Express Boat has a Toilet, Video T.V. and the capacity to seat between 80 to 90 passengers.
Every passenger will be transferred to another boat when they cross the Cambodia Vietnam Border. You have to walk the border any way you go except the beautiful expensive airplane.
King, Narin and Capitol Tours are the 3 big travel companies in this area. Capitol Tours are the ones I used so maybe if you plan on taking the boat you can contact them directly at:
Capitol Tours Cambodia
But the boat is actually operated by the...
You can buy a ticket on the fast boat at any travel agency, Guest House or parking lot in Phnom Penh. Buy it from the nearest place to the Guesthouse you're staying.
They leave early in the morning, departing at 7.30AM. They depart from in front of the travel agency where you bought the ticket, so the nearer you are when waking up the less stress getting there.
From there a mini bus will take you to the boat dock.
When you arrive at the Cambodia Vietnam border crossing, you will walk from the Vietnamese side to the Cambodian side and then get onto another boat for the final leg of the journey into Chau Doc.
It's then another 140kms of bus travel to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) from Chau Doc. Most people overnight in Chau Doc because the Boat Captain always comes up with some dastardly plan to delay you so that darkness has fallen by the time you arrive in Chau Doc.
You are less likely to search for a bus or Guesthouse in the night.
There is always a very helpful lady waiting to offer you a room at HER Guest House. I walked away and used another Guesthouse.
I understand that they are just trying to get business but it's annoying after a while.
The boat is great fun if you're heading to Saigon from Phnom Penh. But if you want to get the Cambodia Vietnam crossing done quickly and without a great deal of problems; take the bus.
Any Guest House, any hotel and hell, any place with a bed sells bus tickets to Saigon, Vietnam. There are 2 very different buses.
Phnom Penh to Saigon
King and Narin are the names of the 2 budget bus services providing Cambodia Vietnam bus transportation into Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) or vice-versa. Neither is any better than the other and their schedules are the same.
They do the trip for $4USD so you shouldn't pay more than $5USD-$6USD (Travel Agent takes a cut). Some travel agents will ask you for more but just move on. There are more travel agencies around the Lakeside and City Center than beer in the pubs.
It's a long ride to Ho Chi Minh City because the service is cut in 2 sections. The first stretch is a 4 hour ride to the Cambodian border.
You then exit the bus at the border and lug your belongings through the sometimes painful Cambodian immigration departure process.
Once you're through then you walk another Quarter Kilometer to the Vietnam border crossing for the usually very laborious entry process.
Then you lug your bags to another waiting bus to make the remainder of the 2.5 hour trip to Saigon.
But the bus to Saigon will not leave the border until everyone is aboard.
You will be surprised how many people sit down at the restaurant on the Cambodian Side and take their time.
You have to wait for all of them to finish up so take it easy. Get across the border into Vietnam first. They have an air-conditioned ice-cream shop on the Vietnamese side and it is much better than the overpriced, open-air Cambodia restaurant.
There is another bus. If you take it, even at $12USD-$14USD, you'll never take the Cheapo bus again.
This is it's schedule. Tickets at ANY travel agent.
Phnom Penh to Saigon
Depart Phnom Penh 11:00am
Arrive Bavet (frontier Cambodian side) 15:00pm
It leaves much later in the afternoon so you can get your sleep and still make it through to Saigon usually just after nightfall, depending on how painful the Cambodia Vietnam border guards are.
You stay on the same bus with this Mekong Express bus and they do all the standing in line and processing of your passport for you.
So, while the Cheapo bus riders are standing in the choked line up, you can relax, get a drink or do some Duty-Free shopping.
Get in touch with the Bus Company here:
Mekong Express Limousine Bus (Cambodia)
See our Airlines in Cambodia page for all the contact information for every airline serving Cambodia, Vietnam and the surrounding regions.
I use Vietnam Airlines because they are the cheapest so far. But make sure to order the vegetarian meal before you fly with them.
The vegetarian meals are brought in from Thai Airways and are great compared to the rubber-like cow meat they slap before you as standard fare on all Vietnam Airways flights.
Crossing the border at Bavet into Moc Bai is interesting in that the shapes of the buildings really do reflect something of the differences between the Cambodia people and the Vietnamese people.
Check out the way I was treated upon my arrival at the Vietnamese side of the border.
As soon as I walked into the building shouts rang out. They screamed for me to turn off my camera and stared at me as though they were going to kill me.
I was not prepared for that the first time it happened. Cambodians are so laid-back and I took plenty of Photos there. Not so the Vietnamese. They take every broken rule as a dire offense.
Unless they are the ones doing the crime of course!
Tell Everyone About Your Experience Crossing The Border Into Vietnam
Some people have told me that crossing the Vietnamese border is like a slap in the face.
What Other People Want You to Know
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And then we have the arrival in the backpacker area of Pham Ngu Lao.
Just watch the video as I take you off the bus and right into a local Guest House.
The videos are almost a complete visual of the Cambodia Vietnam crossing. See the Vietnam Travel Page for more details.
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