Crossing the border from Cambodia to Vietnam with Mr. Tee
Riding on the back of a bicycle being driven through the Cambodia border crossing by a 61-year-old Vietnamese tour guide is not Vietnamunique travel experience, then I do not know what is. The journey from the Mekong Delta to Cambodia will surely remain one of the coolest travel experience stories we would tell of our Southeast Asia backpacking trip. Here below is the breakdown of this trip, including our recommended stops and preferred modes of transport 😉
To help you navigate
Our ruthless planning
Two months of travel in Vietnam were coming to an end. We had done everything we were emotionally and financially able to do in southern Vietnam and are now ready to move from the Mekong Delta to Cambodia.We had no visa, no idea where the nearest Cambodian Vietnam border crossing was or how to get there without having to return to the capital. It wasn't ruthless per se. We knew there would be no problem getting a Cambodian visa on arrival, but we were a bit nervous that we couldn't find any further information about the Vietnam to Cambodia border crossing from Can Tho. Hence this post. You're welcome! 😉
We found that theThe best way to reach Cambodia Vietnam border crossing from Can Tho is by bus to Ha Tien, Vietnam and then on to Prek Chak in Cambodia. From there it is only a short drive to the coastal towns of Kep and Kampot.
From Can Tho to Rach Gia to Ha Tien
AlthoughWikiTrbreedsuggest there is a direct busFrom Can Tho to Ha Tien, we couldn't find any (perhaps due to Tet holidays at the time of our trip). However, you can booktwo pseparate Tickets - Can Tho nach Rach Giaand then Rach Gia to Ha Tien. You can book your tickets online and then get a paper copy from a service desk at each bus stop (bus drivers will not accept a copy on your smartphone).
FUTA bus routes and how to get to Can Tho bus station
According to online reviews, FUTA Bus Lines is the best option in terms of reliability, comfort and customer service for traveling from Mekong Delta to Cambodia. Our experience traveling with them from Can Tho to Ha Tien was no different.
The company even offers thatfree transfers to the guesthouses upon arrivalto your destination (of course within a certain radius). Our host said that since Can Tho bus station is far out of town, FUTA Bus Lines also offers guest house pickups. Unfortunately we found out too late and took a taxi instead. Not a big spend of 90,000 VND (€3.42 or $3.87), but ridiculous compared to the intercity bus ticket price of 120,000 (€4.56 or $5.16).
Schedule bus transfer from Can Tho to Ha Tien
If you pass through Rach Gia on your journey from Can Tho to Ha Tien, make sureBuffer in some "anything can happen"Time between the two buses so as not to miss your connection. Alternatively, get your ticket upon arrival at Rach Gia (yes, you risk waiting for a later bus). The following plan worked perfectly for us (booked the evening before departure):
|08:15 - 08:30||Taxi from the guest house|
|09:00 - 12:45||Bus from Can Tho to Rach Gia|
|12:45 - 14:10||Rach Gia lunch|
|14:10 - 16:00||Rach Gia to Ha Thien|
|16:00 - 16:15||Shuttle transfer to your destination in Ha Tien|
Stopover at Rach Gia
The bus arrived at a remote bus station where we had to transfer to a shuttle bus in a hurry. We were 75% sure we were going to the wrong place as no one spoke English and people going elsewhere were in the same minibus. We just kept repeating “Ha Tien” (our final stop) while the not too reassuring drivers waved at us on the bus.What do you know, we ended up exactly where we needed to be - at the Rach Gia bus station.
We had to kill almost two hours at Rach Gia before continuing our slow transitionVietnam to Cambodia. We left our backpacks behind reception at the FUTA office and went to lunch just across the road from the bus station. Next to the "rice or noodles?“ Question, there was no verbal exchange with the host, but we were still made to feel very welcome.
Rach Gia is a coastal town in the Gulf of Thailand. If you have time on your trip from the Mekong Delta to Cambodia, set aside a few hours to explore the provincial city, its temples, and the seafront promenade. From here you can also catch a ferry to Phu Quoc and other neighboring islands.
A day in Ha Thien Vietnam
We didn't want to rush itCambodia Vietnam border crossingon the same day and opted for a day in Ha Tien. Apart from traveling slowly, we still had no idea how to get to the actual border anyway 😉 Not a very well organized pair of backpacks this time. Oh well.
When we arrived in Ha Thien we were pleasantly surprised. Ha Thien is a very charming river town with a relaxed vibe and quaint colorful houses. If, like us, you like off-the-beaten-track destinations and slow travel, you'll really enjoy this city.
Vietnam Coracle - the absolute place to go for everything Vietnam Motorrad calls a city"the Jewel of the Mekong-Deltas“. See her post for more informationInsights into things to see and do in Ha Tien. This should inspire you to extend your trip from the Mekong Delta to Cambodia.
We were very lucky when we got a large double room with balcony and river view for 300'00 VND (11.40€ or 12.90$) per night. Even the locals were surprised that we got such a deal. All other guesthouses we tried were more expensive but of much lower quality. The best part was drinking a cup of teawatching the sunrise and working on the blog from our balcony🙂 What a lovely way to start the final step of our journey from Vietnam to Cambodia.
Oasis Bar Ha Tien & Mr. Tea
The Oasis Bar in Ha Tien is an institution. Apparently, when it comes to arranging transportation to the Cambodia-Vietnam border crossing, this is the place to go. As well as a selection of cold beers, (delicious) fruit smoothies and western food, the friendly expat family who run the bar are also happy to help with any other questions a traveler might have.
Cambodia Vietnam border crossing options
Andy (the bar owner) introduced us to the following border crossing options in Cambodia and Vietnam. Of course it may not be entirely objective as it enables some of these services, but it still gives you an idea:
|Taxi||Expensive. Cars cannot cross the border, have to transfer to a new vehicle in Cambodia (possible delays)||50 $ / Auto|
|minibus||Not on time and take longer because there are usually more people on board. Again, cars cannot cross the border, so have to change trains and often wait for the second bus||8-11$/Person|
|Motorrad||Fast and cheap if you don't mind sitting on the back of a motorbike, transporting all your luggage too||12 $ / Person|
It was a breeze and we chose to travel from Vietnam to Cambodia on a motorbike with the legendary Mr Tee. Mr. Tee is a 61-year-old Vietnamese tour guide and motorcyclist who has been helping travelers cross the Cambodian and Vietnamese borders for years. He is looking to retire next year but promised he would find a respectable replacement to continue his mission of providing Cambodia and Vietnam border crossing services and unique travel experiences.Mr. Tee is also fluent in English and willing to chat about Vietnamese history if you're willing to listen.
Ha Tien border crossing, Vietnam
Punctually at 09:30, Mr. Tee and his colleague picked us up from the Oasis Bar just as we had finished our delicious breakfast (and exchanged our last VND to USD). Let the Vietnam to Cambodia adventure begin!
The Vietnamese gentlemen took our backpacks between our legs in front of the bikes while we clumsily climbed onto our backs with our daypacks and other small items in our hands. The amount of stuff and passengers that Southeast Asian riders can transport on their vintage motorcycles never amazes us.
Checking out from Vietnam was very straightforward. There are two windows side by side - for arriving and departing tourists. The fact that not everyone was following the rules and standing in the wrong queue worried Mr. Tee, who was keen to get us through customs as quickly as possible. He hung on to the brief but awkward exchange with an Australian family ahead of us for the rest of the day, repeating over and over again that there was nothing wrong in reprimanding them. We comforted the sweet old men and promised that we would never commit such a cruelty by cutting the snake.
Lucky money at Ha Tien Vietnam border crossing
Mr. Tee suggested giving the Ha Tien Border Policeman a dollar of "lucky money," which we kindly declined. Nowe just didn't want to contributeGovernment corruption, but we also saw absolutely no point in bribing anyone. We were the next line and in no hurry anyway. However, we saw a few passes with much larger bills inside. Whatever they were for.
Although we managed to hold on to our morals this time, getting a Cambodian visa in Prek Chak was a different story.
Prek Chak, Cambodia border crossing
Along with our Vietnamese tour guides, we officially crossed Vietnam into Cambodia at Prek Chak on the backs of their bikes. I won't lie, it felt really cool.we were cool
Just a minute after leaving Vietnam, we saw characteristic Khmer architecture. Cambodia, here we come!
At customs, Mr. Tee followed us everywhere. It was reassuring to have the Cambodia Vietnam border crossing guru by our side should any of the weird stories we had read about online come to life. Although we were prepared for the encounter, (almost disappointingly) thenotorious doctor who will take your temperature and charge a dollar or two if you don't have your vaccination card, was not there.
Cambodia Visa Fee & Other Useful Information
The Cambodia visa fee for the single entry visa we applied for should have been $30. AccordinglyTourism Cambodia, this is the official price. However, already in the Oasis Bar, Ha Thien Andy warned us that we would have to pay an extra $5 if we wanted to avoid arguments and unnecessary delays. When we didn't have much choice at the Prek Chak border, Mr Tee strictly instructed us to pay $35. The chief who put a visa in my passport looked bored. It seems$35 is the standard Cambodia visa feein Prek Chak.
Although frustrated inside, we paid the Cambodia visa fee with the bribe and said nothing. Looking back, we think we should have been vocal. If we all continue to pay bogus doctors and hand out "lucky money," bribery and the tourism mafia will never cease to exist. We will always have to rely on Andys and Mr Tees to do the most basic things like get a stamp in the passport. Hopefully we'll do better next time.
To avoid anyfurtherDelays and frustrations, make sure you have a 4x6 passport photo and one filled outCambodia visa on arrival. If you are traveling Mr Tee he will give you the form the night before you leave.
Prek Chak nach Kep
I can't tell you what it is, but the moment we made our way from Prek Chak to Kep we could physically feel we were out of Vietnam. The road was different, the signs were different, even the air felt different. Cambodia reminded us much more of Laos than the Vietnam we had just left. Since wehopelessly beloved Laos, we were very excited to start our Cambodia discovery.
On the way to Kep, Mr. Tee took thescenic road and drove us past the salt plantations for which the region is famous. If there was a lingering aftertaste from the Cambodia-Vietnam border crossing at Prek Chak, it dissipated immediately as we made our way through the rocky, red-smudged roads. The whole journey was worth this moment. It was beautiful and it was fun.
We made a brief stop at the coast, looked at the map and agreed on the drop-off point before embarking on the very last leg of our journey from the Mekong Delta to Cambodia.
Can you do the Cambodia-Vietnam border crossing on your own?
Of course you can. The question is how much time and money are you willing to invest. Mr Tee's transportation and assistance services cost us $12 per person. We were told that taxis and bikes at the border in Prek Chak charge insanely inflated amounts to take you to the next town of Kep. You can probably go a little further and try to negotiate a better deal if you have the time and good negotiating skills. All in all, you can probably save a few bucks.
How to contact Mr. Tee
If you are backpacking around Southeast Asia and trying to get from the Mekong Delta to Cambodia, you must meet Mr. Tee. Mr. Tee does not have a personal website or email. However, you can reach Oasis BarHa Thien by[Email Protected]and arrange your transfer there.
Costs related to crossing the border from Vietnam to Cambodia
|Taxi to Can Tho bus station||90'000||3.42||3,87|
|Bus from Can Tho to Rach Gia||120'000||4.56||5.16|
|Lunch at Rach Gia (for two)||60'000||2.28||5.68|
|Rach Gia to Ha Tien bus||70'000||2.66||3.01|
|Hai Yen (Ha Tien) Hotel, double room without breakfast||300'000||11.40||12.90|
|Motorbike transfer from Ha Tien to Kep||270'000||10.26||11.61|
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What an adventure! Would like to try one day. Thanks for the post, I find it very useful and will definitely save it for later.
Albina, if you have the chance you should definitely do it 🙂 A memory to remember 🙂 Glad you found the post useful!
Wow! It sounds like you've had quite a journey. I hope you enjoyed SEAsia. Great info here xx
Answer(Video) Cambodia motorcycle adventure, Mekong crossing 2
Tara, yes indeed 🙂 We love SEA <3 Will miss it but not for too long - we'll be back soon 🙂
I'm waiting for your articles, every time I read them I feel like I'm right there with you. You made them so enjoyable for your readers. I am wondering if we as Americans need a visa for Cambodia or not? I love how you didn't pay anything to the border police and stuck to your morals. I also like how you have broken down the expenses and time spent on the trip. I haven't usually seen something this unique from other travel bloggers when we compile information for our future trips.
Bushra, and we always love to read your comments! 🙂 Makes us smile and motivates us to keep sharing our stories 🙂 To answer your question: almost all (except Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam, Myanmar) require a visa. Most nationalities can get a visa on arrival (which is pretty easy, just not very honest), the US is one of them. So it wouldn't be a problem to travel to Cambodia 🙂 We're so glad you found our timeline and budget breakdown useful - we always miss that on other blogs too when planning our trips.
Princess Darja, you are amazing. You write such detailed posts and give all useful tips and cover all topics related to the place. I would keep checking your blog to go to these places and take the information and inspiration with me. Thank you very much.
I am planning to visit Cambodia this year or next and you just saved me tons of research time! Can someone make Mr Tee an IG account??? Ahahah, nice tips again, thank you for taking us on your amazing adventures.
Looking at these photos, the place almost resembles our country, the Philippines. I hope to reach this place one day too. You have had such a great experience. Thank you for sharing!
Oh really? I've never been to the Philippines, but it's been a dream of mine for a long time. We had to skip this period (flights were too expensive) but I hope to come back and visit in the near future 🙂
Looks exciting. I hope to go there one day
It felt like I just went on the journey with you... I have to say I had a wonderful time with you. Great article.
Haha thanks Lafayne! It was great traveling with you 😉
I'm a mom and this helped me!
Hello Kristin! I'm glad this helped you 🙂 Did you end up going to Cambodia or Vietnam?
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