Friday, 13 April 2012

Across the border

So the time has come for us to cross the border into Cambodia, now as we wimped out and flew to Vietnam this will be our first land border crossing! I was slightly apprehensive as we had no idea what to expect! We booked a coach from HCMC to Phnom Penh so that was sorted and at least we had transport all the way.

The coach itself was fine, we went with Capitol Tours, and compared to some of the coaches we've been on it was nice, there was a toilet (a luxury in asia!) and we got free drinking water and a little wet wipe, very VIP!! We were two of only four westerners on the coach, luckily we did have an english speaking bus attendant! About an hour in the attendant came round to collect our passports and asked if we wanted to do our visas ourselves or for him to get them. I have read it's usually better to do it yourself so we told him that, apart from him looking surprised this way fine!

We reached the Vietnamese border and it all got very strange, everyone had to get off the bus with all of our baggage and we went to wait in another room and the man with all of our passports just sort of disappeared, no one had any idea where he had gone and I did panic for a moment worrying we'd be stranded at the Vietnamese border!

Luckily it turns out he was bypassing the queues for us to get our exit stamp, unluckily me and Dan were the last to be processed, so just had to wait whilst everyone else sat on the nice air conned coach!! Eventually we got our passports back and got back on the coach to drive about 100m to the Cambodia border where we had to get off the coach again! Everyone else got to go inside but we had to go and fill in the visa form. It was all very simple and we opted for the $20 Tourist Visa. There was no bribing of any visa officials as some of the guide books and website like to lead you to believe, we paid our $20 and we had our visas!

Once we had queued up and provided our fingerprints and photos we had our entry stamp to Cambodia and were on our way to Phnom Penh! It turned out later when we were talking to others over lunch they had paid $25 to the bus attendant for the same visa, so whilst only a saving of $5 we were very pleased we had opted to do it ourselves, it was super easy and nothing to worry about at all!

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