Crossing the border between Vietnam and Cambodia

The journey from Phu Quoc in Vietnam to Sihanoukville in Cambodia took a total of 12.5 hours (NOT the advertised five hours!). Based on our experiences, I would recommend flying if you can afford it as the journey by bus and ferry was a lot of hassle.

The tickets cost us £20 each, which didn’t include the taxis either side or the visa, which were meant to cost us $35 each. We had been warned to beware hidden extras and ‘add-ons’ but in the end, it only cost us an extra $2 each for a vaccination certificate.

The prices in this blog post and the visa requirements reflect our experiences as UK passport holders in April 2018. Please check your Government’s website for the latest information.

We were picked up from the hotel at 6am and driven to Duong Dong, where we waited for about 45 minutes for a bus to take us to the ferry terminal. While we were there, we watched a woman chasing a chicken that had got loose from her collection! On the bus, a woman and her child thought that we were quite the novelty and wanted a selfie with us.

We were driven to the ferry terminal and had a short walk to find the actual ferry (obviously it was going to be the one at the furthest end). We had really good, comfortable seats, close to the captain’s area, but it was quite choppy. I got up to put something in the bin at one point and fell over, knocking everything off the table and bruising my knee in the process. The ferry journey was quite quick, about 90 minutes.

We were met by the usual crowd of taxi drivers trying to pick us up, but we already had a pick-up arranged so went with the guy holding a piece of paper with our name on it. We were with a girl from the Netherlands who looked to be in her early 20s and was travelling alone. The minivan looked ancient. He drove us for about five to ten minutes to an office in Ha Tien where a woman took our passports and the money for the visa and vaccination certificate. She then told us to wait for about 90 minutes for another bus. I was a bit stressed that she had taken our passports and then disappeared.

At around 11.45am, we were driven to the Cambodian border, where we were told to wait again. It was very confusing. We still didn’t have our passports. Eventually we were given them back and told to walk over the border where there was another bus waiting. We crossed the strip of no man’s land to another passport control but they didn’t like the look of my passport. They kept flicking through it, looking for something. It transpired that they couldn’t find the exit stamp because two pages had been stapled together. It all looked very serious at one point and I was panicking a bit that I would be stuck in the land between two countries and not allowed to go either back or forwards. Finally, it got sorted out and we were on the way to Kampot.

Having dropped off the other passenger, we were then told to wait another two hours for the bus to Sihanoukville! We had a mooch around, got an ice cream and my husband used the time to get his hair cut! Kampot looked like a nice place, a bit sleepy, but with a few cafes. We had a nice banana smoothie and green tea for 50 cents each.

The bus was late setting off, then drove around the corner, and we were told to get out and wait for another 20 minutes for some more people to arrive. That turned into 40 minutes by which time I was getting fed up. The bus was not that comfortable, it was hot and they had crammed 12 of us into the minivan so we were all squashed together.

We eventually arrived at Otres village in Sihanoukville around 6.30pm. They didn’t seem to know where they were going and only seemed to find the place by accident! We were just grateful to get there at that point.

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