Category Archives: Reviews

Border between Vietnam & Cambodia (round trip)

Editor’s note: Below is the second part of the post Border processing in some countries in South East-Asia (round trip). Let us continue with Hugo’s experience at the border. This time it is at the Vietnam border.


I arrived in Cambodia by plane from France at the end September. I applied for a tourist Visa once arrived at the Phnom Penh International airport. Customs officers asked me for ID photo & 30 USD for one month Visa. It takes me 30 min to get my Visa and my adventure in Cambodia started.

However after one month, I had to extend my Visa. I went to some travel agencies asking for a 6 month Business Visa multiple entries but it was much too expensive to change my Visa from a tourist to a business one. Therefore I decided to leave Cambodia and cross the Vietnamese border in order being able on my way back to apply for a business Visa.

I took a bus from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh and I passed the border without any problems. As I am a French citizen I have two weeks free (without Visa) in Vietnam. Only few countries have this agreement with Vietnam, the others needs to apply and thus pay for a Visa to enter Vietnam. I am warmly recommending you to have a look at your Embassy website based in Vietnam, they always provide explanation on Visa application. If I have one advice to give you: you have to know clearly and from official sources (embassies website) how you apply for Visa (cost, validity, other requirements).

I stayed few days in Vietnam but I had to go back to Phnom Penh. Therefore I took a bus from Ho Chi Minh to reach Phnom Penh. As I experienced border processing in many countries, I promise myself to never crossing a border in which I need a Visa by night (bad memories…). Indeed, border are not my favorites places and if something happened I prefer it happening at day time in order being able to find a solution and not being stuck at a crossing point all night long. Moreover, be careful, some borders are closing by night but some remain open all night long (you always have to be informed about border opening hours which can be different on every crossing point – FYI, Thai border in Poipet is closed between 9.30pm and 7 am).

I left Vietnam without any problems. Because I was living in Cambodia, I knew that a tourist visa cost 30 USD and a Business Visa cost 35 USD (and I think everyone, except Asian citizen has to pay that amount of money). However, once arrived at the Cambodian border, customs officers asked me 45 USD for my business Visa. As I don’t want to support corruption which, for me, is ruining Cambodia, I told them that I will not pay 45 USD for my Visa. Then, they answered me that because they had a lot of work to do (10 Visa to stamp for 3 officers) I will have to wait. Because I didn’t give bribes, which are shared between bus driver and customs officer (I think…), the bus left without me (I was waiting my Visa). Thanks it happened during day time!! Once my Business Visa finished, I had a look on it and some information were missing (like the price) so I asked the officer to fulfill it properly, what he did. Here is another advice, always check your Visa once the officer give it to you, sometimes they are not properly fulfilled, which can leads you to some problems (which can only be solved by money).

However, I was still stuck at the border and my bus left. Therefore I took a moto and ask him to reach the bus. We reached the bus, I entered, and this bus driver was looking at me like: “you should have pay!”. Regarding this experience, I let you choose either you prefer paying more and avoid problems or if you prefer take the risk of not paying customs officers even if it can leads you to some trouble. We were more than 30 on this bus and I was the only one that didn’t want to pay more, so on this journey 300 USD went on bribes at the border (10 USD * 30 passengers)….

Anyway, after all these unforeseen development, I arrived in Phnom Penh as I wanted to. And I will keep not giving bribes at borders.

Hugo

Around Cambodia through the eyes of travel bloggers

Thinking of places to visit in 2017? Here’s a list of 10 blogs about traveling in Cambodia. With this list, you’ll get to know 10 travel bloggers who share their journeys and experiences. They go to places (some you may have never been to) and write about their travel experience, tips, and advices. These 10 travel blogs will be your good read and inspiration.

royal-palace_tharum
Phnom Penh’s Royal Palace – photo: Tharum Bun

1.

Ayana Journeys – A blog by a responsible travel company
Last year I met Ayana Journeys team when they took a group of university students from Japan to visit and learn about technology and innovation in Phnom Penh. One of the latest posts on Ayana Journeys’s blog I like is this one: Transformative travel, which Amy McLoughlin described that “Travellers feel that their life has been improved by this experience; lasting memories have been created, and travellers feel more connected to and empathetic towards a global community.”

2.

When In Phnom Penh – Do as Cambodians do!
When you’re in Phnom Penh, you always want to get the most of out of your time to experience and explore some of the most interesting things and places like the locals. With a network of Cambodian bloggers and contributors, When In Phnom Penh blog provides local insights into the trend of cafes, restaurants, and places.

3.

Mad Monkey South East Asia Travel Blog
This blog is not about hostels. While you can find some practical guide for backpackers in Battambang, the blog also covers other cities and best spots in Southeast Asia.

4.

Rusty Compass – Blog Tales from the road
Rusty Compass covers Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos. I’ve never been to Sapa in Vietnam. But this blog post, Village walks around Sapa, Vietnam (with video), is just amazing.

5.

Blue Lady Blog – A lifestyle blog by a Cambodian blogger Kounila Keo
A blogger friend of mine started her popular since 2007. She’s been invited to stay at luxury hotels and dine at restaurants. In addtion to this, she’s also a jetsetter, hopping from one flight to another to visit places and share those travel notes with the world.

6.

Hands on Journeys – Share our journey through stories and travel tips
This travel agency’s blog offers some interesting stories and travel tips. This blog post argues “Why we shouldn’t give up on supporting Orphanages.”

7.

Hanuman Travel blog – Travel with a personal touch
I learned about this Huanuman Blog since it was launched in 2009. This blog reviews accommodations and discusses local travel news: Cambodia’s Sam Veasna Center a finalist for 2016 World Responsible Tourism Awards.

8.

Travel Chameleon – A Travel Lifestyle that suits anyone
The blogger describes herself as a Malaysian working in Cambodia. She also has “a big heart on traveling.” She has been to 26 countries and counting. In August, she also wrote a nice review about BookMeBus.

9.

Move to Cambodia
Almost any travelers who set their foot on Cambodian soil, they may have visited Move to Cambodia. The blog/book author is Lina Goldberg, a freelance writer who travels extensively around every corner of Cambodia. So there isn’t much to describe her blog here. But it’s worth to mention BookMeBus is fortunate to have Move to Cambodia as one of the affiliates. So if you’ve got a travel blog, you can also join our affiliate program here.

10.

Cambodia Explorer Blog
This blog is quite new and rare. The blog author is Sanya, who described himself as 100% Khmer, who’s born and raised in Cambodia. If you’re looking for perfect places to eat, I’d suggest you visit Sanya’s blog!


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