About crossing the border between Vietnam and Cambodia.
Border Crossing: Vietnam and Cambodia
If you want to discover the country of Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious building and Buddhism that is practiced by 96% of the population, do not hesitate to take a trip from Vietnam to Cambodia. So many options are given to you as Vietnam and Cambodia share 6 international border crossings (generally open to all foreign travelers as long as they possess a valid passport or visa). The first and also the longest border crossing between the two countries is Moc Bai - Ba Vet. It is on the main bus route between Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh, thus it is considered as the most popular and convenient border crossing. Of these border crossings, Vinh Xuong/Kaam Sammor is a preferred crossing for independent travelers and boat services are available and fast. For the other crossing borders, including Tinh Bien/ Phnom Den, Xa Xia/ Prek Chak, Le Thanh/ O Yadao crossing, motorbike ride is the better choice.
Normally travelers cross Vietnam-Cambodia borders via one of these popular national highways:
- Highway No.22 from Ho Chi Minh City, crossing Moc Bai International Checkpoint - this is the most popular checkpoint
- Provincial highway No.952 from Tan Chau (Vietnam), crossing Vinh Xuong International Checkpoint to Kaam Samnor (Cambodia). (Node B on the map)
- Xa Xia (Vietnam) to Prek Chak (Cambodia) crossing Ha Tien International Checkpoint. This checkpoint is open for mostly international travelers. (Node C on the map)
Moc Bai - Bavet Crossing
The travel distance between the two dynamic cities Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City seems insignificant as it is only 150 km. However, even though you might be fully equipped with transportation, money, and health, there is still one more challenge which you have to conquer before heading toward one city from another: crossing the Moc Bai – Bavet Border.
The Moc Bai – Bavet Border is one of the three international border gates of Cambodia: MocBai – Bavet, Poipet and Koh Kong. On the Vietnam’s side, the gate is regarded as Moc Bai Border of Tay Ninh Province. In contrast, Bavet is the counterpart across the border, which belongs to Svay Rieng Province of Cambodia. In general, this is the most popular gate for people to travel from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City.
The border gate is open from 8:00am to 8:00pm every day. Daily buses can be access quickly and easily from either of the two cities. Except for some short stretches under construction between Cambodia’s NeakLoung and Phnom Penh, the newly-renovated road and the service are both pretty fast and affordable. One of the most common ways to travel through the border is buses. In fact, there are many companies that offer direct bus service between Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh for as low as $10, without changing or transiting bus at the border. Usually, a bus ride only takes about 6 hours, so it is actually a good deal to think about if you consider economizing for your next trips. There is no central station for buses in Phnom Penh so you would have to check in advance where your bus departs. On the other hand, almost all of the bus stations and offices in Ho Chi Minh City are located in the Pham Ngu Lao area, so it is easier to depart or arrive.
However, the most important thing to remember is that the Cambodian visa on arrival is available at MocBai Border, but the Vietnamese Visa is NOT. Therefore, if you wish to enter Vietnam at that point, you have to arrange with the Vietnam embassy in Cambodia in advance of your arrival.
A bonus fact to give you before your trip: In Vietnam, the Moc Bai Border is not simply an international border gate. It is also parts of a bigger area called the Moc Bai Economic Zone, a 21,284 ha area including Ben Cau and Trang Bang districts of Tay Ninh province!
Like Laos, procedure to cross Cambodian international checkpoint from Vietnam is simple and convenient. Immigration officers at these check points only require Vietnamese travelers to present passports to cross the gate, while international tourists need Cambodian visa which can be obtained at these checkpoints on arrival. E-visa which is obtained online from Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affair is also permitted to use at these checkpoints.
On the way back to Vietnam, you need to have a visa ready to show to Immigration office at the border check point. Vietnam Visa on arrival is not available with border crossing.
Normally buses from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh are more preferred to cross Vietnam – Cambodia border. There is no stop on the trip from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh.
Some of worth-considering bus providers including Vietnamese firms like Mai Linh, Sapaco or GSG, and also Cambodian providers such as Mekong Express, Capitol Tour and 168 Bus. Buses of Mekong Express also have a tour guide to introduce and assist guests along the trip. Below are some addresses where guests can purchase bus ticket to Cambodia.
- Mekong Express: 275F Pham Ngu Lao Street, Dist.1 – (+84-28) 3 837 3917
- Sapaco Tourist: 500 Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, Ward 4, Dist.3 – (+84-28) 3 832 2038
- Mai Linh Express: 292 Dinh Bo Linh, Ward 26, Binh Thanh District – (+84-28) 3 929 2929
Ticket price varies based on providers and seasons, but often remain affordable within the range from USD13 – USD 25 for seat buses and USD 20-35 for sleeper buses.