Category Archives: Traveler’s Journal

Border between Thailand & Cambodia (round trip)

Editor’s note: We continue with our last post from Hugo‘s experience. This started from the post Border processing in some countries in South East-Asia (part one), which was then followed by the post Border between Vietnam & Cambodia (round trip). As always, images and content are provided by our contributor. Please enjoy.


thailand cambodiaI am living & working in Phnom Penh. I had to go to Bangkok for few days due (or thanks) to some business meeting. As always, I took a bus to reach the Thai border from Cambodia and I arrived to Poipet. First, you have to know that Thai are driving on the left (like British) & Cambodian are driving right side (such as French). Due to that and legacy, most of the bus coming from Cambodia cannot cross the border and continue until Bangkok. Therefore they are in partnership with other bus companies on the other side of the border.

Thus, I am warmly recommend you to ask the bus driver how is it going to be working once arrived at the border. Most of the time, the other company is waiting for you once the bus arrive and follow you until you enter into the bus to reach your final destination. If you don’t want any issue on that point, I will recommend you to take a direct bus but they are only few of them and are more expensive.

Once arrived to Poipet crossing point, you have to check out from Cambodia and walk until checking point of Thailand. Most of the time, the queue is really huge, you have to be patient!! I pass without any problems. As a French citizen I don’t have to pay for Visa in Thailand (and I think that it’s free of charge for most of citizenship – However have a look at your embassy website again!). Once you arrive in Thailand, if you are looking for a bus, a coffee, a guesthouse or whatever, you have to keep going straight and after 5 min walking on your left you will have many buses companies that are going everywhere in Thailand.

I finally reached Bangkok and stayed there for few days meeting. On my way back I just took a bus to the border and stay on the Thai part because I knew that I will be in a hurry if I wanted to pass the border (Poipet crossing point is closed between 9.30 pm until 7 am) as well as I don’t like passing border night time. I finally passed the border on early morning and everything was fine because I had my multiple entry visa for Cambodia. If you arrive without any Visa, please refer to my border story between Vietnam & Cambodia. However, if you are aware of the Visa application it shouldn’t be a problem.

When you arrive in Poipet (Cambodian part), you have many bus companies, just pick up the one you prefer!

I hope my stories helped you!

See you around!!

Hugo

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

Border processing in some countries in South East-Asia (round trip) (Part 1)

Editor’s note: We continue with our favorite traveler, Hugo, and his adventures in Cambodia. This time, he talks about border processing.

Recently, we’ve been having requests for information regarding Visa or border processing at the gates between Thailand-Cambodia, and Vietnam-Cambodia. This series is split into three, with this post as the first one. 

We hope you find this useful and entertaining.


This story and those tips are based on my own experience on crossing border, which is subjective. Thus, this is just a shared experience and habits, feel free to not take them in consideration if they are not relevant for you. ~ Hugo

My Golden Rules for crossing border:

border processing

  • Always check on internet opening hours of the crossing point
  • Always be aware of the Visa application (which are different depending on your citizenship) – refer to your Embassy
  • Be careful of the Visa validity: FYI: overstay cost you 10 USD per day in Cambodia & in Vietnam if you have 2 weeks free tourist entry, once you leave the country you have to wait a month before coming back.
  • Be aware of the time you will cross the border (night or day time)
  • Be patient and polite, even if something went wrong, you will for sure avoid problems.
  • https://www.canbypublications.com/cambodia/overland.htm

Bus trip from Phnom Penh to Battambang

Editor’s Note: We once again hear from Hugo on his exciting trip from Phnom Penh to Battambang. As always, all content and images belong to the contributor.


Hi everyone! Again, here I am, after some new traveling experiences in Cambodia. I am still living in Phnom Penh, trying to enjoy as much as possible to travel around when I can manage time and money!
Last weekend, I decided to move on discovering Battambang, thus I booked a bus through BookMeBus to reach Battambang. I booked a Virak Buntham Night Bus leaving at 1 am from Phnom Penh night market because journey is quite long and I didn’t have a lot of time to go on travelling. That was the first time I had a night bus in Cambodia, one large bed for two persons! It was fun and I slept well so my requirements were totally fulfilled. The journey was great!

phnom penh to battambang

I arrived early morning on Saturday, I started looking for an hostel around the city center, I found one pretty great and really cheap, couple of streets up to Night Market (Sorry, I forgot the name). As I always do when I am on trip somewhere in Cambodia, I rented a moto for two days to go on discovering the city and the surroundings. I went down south, riding next to the river for some hours! Places there are amazing, great views and the atmosphere is so relaxing there when your daily life takes places in Phnom Penh! You can see monkeys, bats and some temples all around. I love Cambodian countryside, I can spend hours driving in there, getting lost on these incredible tiny dust roads.

battambang

After all this time spending on losing myself into Battambang countryside I decided to go to the “Bat cave”. This is one of the biggest touristic attraction in Battambang. This cave is under a mountain where you have many great temples as well as some historical places. At sunset time, thousands of bats are leaving this cave to live their night life! This is impressive but not as I expected… I expected to see a huge cloud of bats leaving at once, but finally they were leaving the cave in a thin discontinuous flow. However this mountain is really beautiful, I am warmly recommending you to go there and visit those temples. (Entrance fee is 1$ per person). You can either choose the road or the stairs, I personally took the stairs, it’s quick and not really tough to handle.

After this long trip, I just get back to Battambang and enjoy night market as well as some bars with backpackers I met on the way. The day after, I continue on discovering the countryside and chilling around the city, which was really great.

I enjoyed this place, countryside is beautiful and it’s a good place to relax and chill around. However I would not recommend you to stay more than 4-5 days there. Once you have seen the city (which is small) and the surroundings you don’t have much more to do and Cambodia is full of great stuff to see so you have plenty of possibilities to continue your trip around!

I hope I gave you the tips you wanted from this place!!

See around traveling,

Cheers,

Hugo

Tell Us YOUR Stories, get 50% OFF your next ticket!

As a frequent traveler, I find myself getting into all sorts of adventures and lessons I learn on the road. Suffice to say, I have a lot of stories to share – ranging from bloopers to horrific encounters. One day I shall share these; however, now it is your turn to TELL US YOUR STORIES!

shareyourstory

BookMeBus wants to hear from YOU

At BookMeBus, we love helping out travelers especially with the multitude of questions about places and tips. Unfortunately, we can only do so much.

It is all well and good for us to list down tips, tricks, and giving pieces of advice. However, we’ve come to a conclusion that the best information comes from those who have experienced it first hand. This is where YOU come in!

We would like to hear from you. Yes, YOU!

No, we do not really require long novels of your encounters – but we accept those, too! What we do ask from you are knowledge you may have gained, tips for future travelers, experiences, and lessons learned on your trip.

Post your stories

Below are our instructions and requirements in order to share your stories with us:

Write and share your travelogue:

  • Share your travelogue on your blog
  • Link to BookMeBus blog
  • Use hashtag: #BookMeBus
  • It can be a travel photo essay, too!
  • Don’t have a blog? Publish it on BookMeBus blog

Requirements:

  • Minimum: 300 words; longer, better
  • In English or Khmer
  • At least one photo; 3, better
  • About your real travel experience & personal observation

What do you get after sharing your story?

After sharing your story, we will take time to review it. Do not worry about grammatical or spelling errors, we don’t really mind. However, we would like to request you to send useful posts, without swearing or cursing, or inappropriate content. Images are also included.

Once approved, we will give you 50% off on your next bus ticket purchase at BookMeBus.

We are looking forward to hearing from all of you!