Traveling From Vietnam to Cambodia Overland By Bus – Our Experience
Angkor Wat Temple in Siem Reap
Zach and I are always up for traveling to our new destinations by bus overland. We do this for a few reasons; the main one being we are able to see a lot more of the country we are in that normally we wouldn’t go to and second that it is a much different experience crossing land borders then simply just flying to the airport. Our most recent adventure was traveling to Phnom Penh, Cambodia from Saigon, Vietnam by bus. We would definitely recommend this route to anyone because of how cheap and also relatively fast it is. Below we have included the necessary information to make everything go smooth for you. Saving both time in research as well the saving you time on questions we had or mistakes we made.
Best Route for Traveling Between Vietnam and Cambodia
The most direct and quickest route that exists between Vietnam and Cambodia is from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) to Phnom Penh. This route is estimated to take 6-7 hours, but from our personal experience just plan for more like 9 hours. No trains exist between Vietnam and Cambodia but plans for a future railway connecting all of Southeast Asia are in tow.
Pricing and Where to Buy Bus Tickets to Cambodia
Ticket Prices from Vietnam to Cambodia Range from $10-15
You can either buy your bus tickets online or at one of the many travel agencies around Vietnam. We purchased our tickets at a travel agency on Backpacker Street in Saigon. Here there is no shortage of travel agencies to find tickets. For online tickets I suggest Book Me Bus.
Bus Schedule and Crossing Borders
We left on a Thursday so our travel was relatively smooth and to cross the borders was really quick. I am sure if we decided to go on a Saturday or Sunday it would of been much more packed.
10:40 am – Arrived at The Travel Agency.
10:45 am – Picked up by a van at the travel agency and taken to the bus stop about a 10 minute drive away, where we boarded our bus.
11:30 am – Bus departed and started heading towards Phnom Penh.
2:15 pm– Arrived at Moc Bai the Vietnam Border. The bus dropped us off, we left our main baggage in the cargo hold below the bus but took our small bags we had carried on and quickly went inside to get our departure stamps. We met the bus on the other side departure processing and were driven to the Cambodian border just barely down the road.
Moc Bai Vietnam Border
2:30 pm – Arrived at Bavet the Cambodian side of the border. Went inside and those who hadn’t purchased an e-visa filled out the necessary forms and payed the price for a visa on arrival, while we went to a separate counter where our e-visa was checked and then we were able to proceed through.
Bavet Cambodian Border
2:45 pm – Boarded the bus and left the Cambodian border crossing.
3:15 pm -Stopped at a little shop where there were bathrooms, this is the only place I saw that you can buy sim cards. There was also food and snacks available. We then got back on the bus and traveled another couple hours.
5:15 pm – We took our final rest stop here before arriving in Phnom Penh, there is food, snacks, and bathrooms. This is a larger stop then the previous one.
8:00 pm – Arrived in Phnom Penh to a horde of tuk tuk drivers trying to get our business.
Most Popular Border Crossing Between Cambodia and Vietnam
The most popular border crossing point between Vietnam and Cambodia is Moc Bai (Vietnam) and Bavet (Cambodia). If getting an e-visa it is important that you know which border point you are going through. Always double check to see which crossing you will be driving through. Otherwise you’ll be SCREWED if you have the wrong point written down.
Visa Costs and Fees
A tourist visa to Cambodia for US citizens costs $30. You can either purchase an e-visa before your bus trip or just buy a visa on arrival. We didn’t want to deal with forms and the time in takes to get a visa on arrival so we got an e-visa previously. This planning however was in vain. There was a special line for e-visa and out of our whole bus (us being the only ones with e-visas) we were the last to get through the border.
Cambodia Visa on Arrival
It is straightforward getting a Cambodian Visa on Arrival. The price is $30 for US citizens. Just make sure to bring enough money and have a passport that is at least 6 months old and has two blank pages. You then will need to fill out a couple forms which is pretty quick.
Make sure also to bring a passport photo of yourself with you. The dimensions needs to be 4×6 cm, as per ICAO Standard photograph.
E-visa’s are quick way to secure a tourist visa before arriving in Cambodia. The price is $30 with a $6 processing fee. This saves you from having to try to find USD before crossing into Cambodia since you can pay online. You can get your evisa here https://www.evisa.gov.kh. It takes a few days to process your e-visa request so make sure to apply for it at least a week and a half before your scheduled arrival date.
An additional “fee” to be aware of at the border. We didn’t have to pay this on our border crossing here but did when going to Laos. Cambodian officials may charge you $2 to stamp your passport. Some people have successfully argued there way out of this but don’t be the person who holds up the bus, it is only $2.
Border Scams to Watch Out For
There may be some people outside the main border checkpoint building offering to help you with filling out your arrival information or even claiming to be border officials…just ignore them and continue on to the inside of the main building.
- Since we have been traveling longterm we always will use local currency and don’t have any USD. In Cambodia the currency’s in use are the Riel and US dollar. This is not the case in Vietnam and no atm will just give you USD so when going to Cambodia all we had was Vietnamese Currency. This proved difficult as once in Cambodia no one accepts this currency and there are no atms on the route meaning essentially we had no money. We weren’t able to buy a sim card at our first stop where they were being sold, get lunch, or buy any snacks. Just make sure to carry some USD.
- When buying your bus ticket, generally as a courtesy the travel agency will print out your e-visa for free. So make sure to get them to inlclude this into your ticket price.