Asian travel, especially the individual type, can not only broaden your horizons but also expose you to out-of-the-ordinary sights,
Country hopping & border crossings into and out of Cambodia aren’t the hassle that they was, but a little research means you will always be well prepared
Since I had been backpacking throughout my first trip through Cambodia, air transportation wasn’t an option. It’s sitll in operation and highly recommended).
I left Cambodia by boat from Sihanoukville to Koh Kong ( no longer working), then took a moto in the pier to the Thai border. Until cheap flights from Bangkok started, I generally used overland crossings and still do on occasion. Whatever, it all goes to prove that in the event you do a little research, going overland can be a pleasant experience and can be more economical, more scenic and include stops in communities which don’t get much in the way of tourist traffic.
But these crossings can be fraught with problems. So find out beforehand if entry visas are available in your crossing and be in a position to dispute random fees in the crossing. Knowing the “standard” costs may make a significant difference.
The conventional process usually involves checking from one country and getting into the entrance channel of the next. At some crossings the stations are a brief walk, but at others you want to have transport. There are Many crossings between Cambodia and Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.
Chau Doc is frequently used on Mekong river trips and, as you may have guessed, is near Chau Doc on the Vietnam side. From Chau Doc it’s about five or six hours by minibus to HCMC. The Bavet course is a common crossing for taxi and bus trips between Phnom Penh and HCMC. It usually takes six to eight hours by bus and is a fantastic option if you would like to go straight to HCMC. The main bus businesses start and stop at Pham Ngu Lau in district 1, HCMC.
To/from Kampot or elsewhere in southern Cambodia there are also two major crossings. Phnom Den, Takeo, Cambodia/Tinh Bien, Vietnam is nearer to Kampot compared to Phnom Penh and also near Chau Doc in Vietnam. In mid-2007 the Ha Tien crossing (Prek Chak, Cambodia/Xa Xia, Vietnam) started for overseas travellers.
Thailand: the primary northern crossing to/from Phnom Penh or Siem Riep is Poipet/Aranyaprathet, Thailand. This course is notorious for officials and transportation people overcharging travellers, so do your research and remain calm. Many travelers book bundles through tour ncompanies to simplify this excursion, but it’s not tricky to arrange for yourself. It must be said, however, however, the bundles are often more affordable. On the Thai side, a train takes you to or from Bangkok.
With recent road improvements on the Cambodian side and the bridge to the edge, this is a more manageable trip and my favorite crossing.
The Dom Kralor, Cambodia/Voeung Kam, Laos, crossing includes two near deals: one overland, one over water. The crossing into Laos is rather straightforward but most have talked of “fees” of a dollar or two on both sides of the border.