Are you considering entering Cambodia after a visit to Laos? If you are then you may choose to make the Cambodia-Laos land border crossing rather than flying into Cambodia. Nationals of most countries, including Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States require a visa to enter Cambodia. By far the simplest option is the Cambodia eVisa. All you have to do is to fill in the user-friendly Cambodia eVisa application form and pay the fee with a credit or debit card. You should then, within a matter of days, receive your electronic visa for Cambodia at the email address that you have provided.
Where to Cross the Border and What to Expect
The most common point at which to enter Cambodia by land from Laos is Si Phan Don, which is also popularly known as 4,000 islands. As the name suggests, this is a collection of many islands on the Mekong River.
Several of the islands including Don Det and Don Kohn have guesthouses and travel agencies that offer border crossing packages. There tends to be a standard rate with little variation. You are picked up from the guesthouse and then taken across the river to a place called Ban Nakasang. From here a minibus takes you to the border.
Things to consider at the Cambodia/Laos Border Crossing
The border crossing from Laos to Cambodia is generally straightforward, safe and comfortable but, as in the case of the Vietnam/Cambodia border, travelers should be aware that scams are common on both sides of the border. These generally involve immigration officials trying to charge foreigners extra money such as:
- Passport stamp: the police officer often charges 2 dollars to stamp your passport so that you can exit Laos. The same may then occur in Cambodia when the official stamps your passport to enter the country.
- Medical check: The officials claim that there will be a medical check and you are charged 1 dollar for this, but rather than a medical exam they simply give you a paper with health guidelines and relevant phone numbers.
- Visa on arrival: As previously mentioned, the easiest option is to obtain your Cambodia eVisa before traveling. You will then have it printed and ready to show the immigration officials and avoid the need to wait to try and process a visa on arrival. If, however, you choose a visa on arrival then the immigration official may charge you more than the official cost of the visa.
- Helpers: people claiming to be “helpers” may ask you for your passport before you reach the official checkpoint. They will offer to get your paperwork done for you. You are strongly advised not to give your passport to anyone except the immigration officials.
To prepare for these eventualities you should make sure you bring cash with you.
Even if additional money is requested by the officials, the sums are very small and it may be better to pay to avoid a longer waiting time. You are strongly recommended to come prepared with your printed Cambodia eVisa.
Despite the possibility of scams, most travelers are able to cross from Laos into Cambodia without any problems and will then be free to explore this beautiful country with its many attractions such as Angkor Wat, one of the largest temples in the world.