Cambodia Travel: Knowing The Borders Around
Local and International Crossings
Locally situated crossings are usually used by residents from both sides of Cambodia’s borders who possess border passes while international crossings, which will be the topic of this article, are accessed by tourists/foreigners who possess valid passports and visas.
By land, Cambodia has around twelve (12) international border crossings: six (6) going to Thailand, one (1) to Laos and five (5) to Vietnam. Two international airports located at Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, allow travel by air or if you prefer to arrive by sea, you may take the route at Sihanoukville.
Most travelled crossings
Majority of visitors going to Thailand choose the Poipet/Aranyprathet region crossing. On the other hand, the only alternative crossing when going to Laos is the Dom Kralor/Veun Kham (take note, however, that your visa obtained during arrival cannot be used here). The crossing at Moc Bai/Bavet is the most sought route when going to Vietnam. Crossing access requires Cambodian visa or eVisas, both available upon arrival.
Open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., these crossings operate from Monday to Friday except the one located at Dom Kralor/Veun Kham, which has earlier operation hours. Beyond these hours and days, you may have to pay a fee (under the table), for continued services.
Borders and Beyond
Veun Kham / Dom Kralor
Since it is the lone land route servicing Laos and Cambodia, Veun Kham/Dom Kralor has received general patronage. Both Lao and Cambodian visa are available upon arrival. For an in-depth tour of this crossing, please see our feature story on the Lao Cambodia border crossing.
Aranyaprathet / Poipet
Although often chosen by tourists/foreigners, this crossing servicing Thailand and Cambodia has been reported to experience several setbacks. While Cambodian visas can be obtained upon arrival and eVisas are recognized, it can take from less than an hour or beyond three hours to cross depending on the temper of border officers. Poipet, located at the side of Cambodia, has been plagued by several peddling problems making it complicated to arrange for sensibly-priced, connecting transports to Siem Reap. For more details, please refer to The Tales of Asia website.
Ko Kong / Hat Lek
When choosing this route, obtain a visa prior to travelling to avoid the bureaucratic red tape of obtaining visas at the crossing. This crossing is the most expedient when going to areas between Sihanoukville beach region in Cambodia and Thailand's Ko Chang. ATMs are available at Hat Lek in Thailand. For a fee of 80B - 100B (inclusive of bridge toll), you can avail of a motorbike which will take you from the town of Ko Kong up to the border.
O Smach / Chong Jom
If you will be coming from Siem Reap in Cambodia and Surin in Thailand, this is the crossing to take. There are plenty of two-hour buses and rides available at Surin going to the border (and vice versa). In Siem Reap (at Khmer), you can grab a share taxi or drop by Samraong first and either go on to Siem Reap or to Anlong Veng in the east.
Anlong Veng / Chong Sa Ngam
While this is the best crossing to take to get to Anlong Veng, public transportation going to any Thai towns is not available. If you like to trek, hike or just walk to get the most of the view, you may choose this 20 kilometre route. At the end is a closed off road where you can hitch a ride from intermittent public buses that pass by. However, we recommend that you hitch a ride to Route 24 where there are numerous buses.
Phsa Prum / Ban Pakard
Less travelled, this crossing can be conquered in less than 30 minutes via motorbike from Pailin. In Thailand, on the other hand, are plenty of minibuses to Chanthaburi, which takes an hour to reach. Cambodian visas are available upon arrival.
Daun Lem / Ban Laem
About 45 minutes from Pailin, this crossing is near Ban Pakard and Phsa Prum/Chantaburi crossing. There are songthaeaw services coming from Thailand to Chanthaburi. The Phsa Prum/ Ban Pakard crossing is our recommended route to take.
Moc Bai / Bavet
The first passage between Vietnam and Cambodia open to foreign tourists, Moc Bai / Bavet is also the most well-liked. Fast, reasonably priced, buses can be found daily along the Phnom Penh – Saigon route. Although Cambodian visa can be obtained upon arrival, Vietnamese visas are needed to be obtained ahead of time.
Ving Xuong / Kaam Samnor
Set along a riverbank, this crossing links the town of Chau Doc with Phnom Penh. All types of boat services are the means to travel here. A fixer will take care of all the paper works at the border immigration office.
Tinh Bien / Phnom Den
With Cambodian visas available upon arrival, this crossing, open to foreign visitors, is located midway between Ha Tien and Chau Doc. Takeo or Kampot is a few hours away and the nearest settlement on the side of Khmer. You may take Ha Tien buses to go to the border or opt to ride a motorbike which is faster. Unfortunately, transportation is a bit limited on the Cambodian side, where tourists sometimes pay up to $55 for a taxi to go from the border town of Kampot to Phnom Den.
Xa Xia / Prek Chak
From Kep, you can take this Vietnam/Cambodia coastal border crossing by motorbike (available for a fee of US$7) and in 20 minutes, with a valid Vietnamese visa, arrive in Vietnam. From there on, a connecting transport can take you to Ha Tien in Cambodia where visas are available upon arrival.
O Yadao / Le Thanh
This crossing links the town of Pleiku, Vietnam to the northeast town of Ban Lung, Cambodia. Travel time takes approximately six hours. If you are coming from Vietnam, you can ride the buses from Pleiku going to Duc Co. From there on, you may grab a xe om for about 20 kilometres to reach the border. Since Ban Lung is about 70 kilometres away, you may choose to pay US$15-20 to rent a car or $10-15 for a moto.