As a first timer, I was really worried in the process of crossing the border during our Indochina adventure because of possible scams. But during our experience, it was hassle-free and everything went smoothly. So if you’re planning to visit Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand in one go but you’re worried about border crossing by bus, this article is for you.
If you’re entry point is Thailand and you’re last stop is Vietnam, this will still work for you. Now, let’s get started!
Here are the requirements and other essential things you need to know before crossing the border in Indochina:
- Passport – Your passport must have at least 6 months validity with at least two unused pages left.
- Vietnam Visa – Vietnam is visa-free for Filipino passport holders with a maximum stay of 21 days.
- Cambodia Visa – Cambodia is visa-free for Filipino passport holders with a maximum stay of 30 days.
- Thailand Visa – Thailand is visa-free for Filipino passport holders with a maximum stay of 30 days if entering via air and 15 days if entering through a land border from a neighboring country (Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos)
For non-Filipino passport holders, a visa might be needed depending on your country. Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand offer E-Visa (Electronic Visa) so we suggest that you visit these sites to learn more:
Cambodia – http://www.evisa.gov.kh/
Thailand – https://www.thailandvisa.net/
Moving on to the next items, these might be asked (or not) during your turn but it would really help if you have these information with you. It’s better to be prepared all the time.
- Onward and return flight details
- Accommodation details – name of accommodation, address
- Travel itinerary
Travel Time From Vietnam-Cambodia-Thailand
Now that you know what requirements you should bring prior to your Indochina trip, let’s talk about the travel time so I can help you plan your itinerary.
- From Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City) to Phnom Penh (Cambodia) – 6 hours and 30 minutes
- From Phnom Penh (Cambodia) to Siem Reap (Cambodia) – 6 hours
- From Siem Reap (Cambodia) to Bangkok (Thailand) – 8 hours and 30 minutes
Please be reminded that the travel duration might vary depending on the wait time in getting your passport stamps as well as traffic.
Where To Book Your Bus Tickets
There are numerous bus companies that offer daily trips from Vietnam, Cambodia, to Thailand. But if you want to get a hassle-free border crossing experience without worrying if you will get scammed, you can choose Cambodia’s top bus operator, Giant Ibis. Aside from guiding you all throughout the immigration process, you’ll also get the following perks when you travel with them:
Compared to other buses, I find Giant Ibis tickets a little bit pricey but for my experience, I would not mind paying more to make sure that I will be taken care of. If I get scammed, I might end up paying more. You can check out the prices and schedules by choosing your destination below.
Aside from Klook, you can also check out other bus operators via 12go. They offer transport options in different parts of Asia including Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. Most of them have morning trips and I highly recommend that you check their schedule first so you can plan your itinerary ahead.
Border Crossing Process (MUST Read!)
Now, here’s the fun part where we’ll discuss the ACTUAL process of crossing the border including our own experience and tips. At first, I thought it’s going to be complicated but in reality, it’s not.
Vietnam to Cambodia
We stayed at 9 Hostel and Rooftop in Ho Chi Minh City and unfortunately, our hostel is not a partner hotel of Giant Ibis. Their terminal is located at 237 Phạm Ngũ Lão so we traveled there via Grab instead. The bus attendant did not allow us to buy food anymore because we’ll be leaving in a minute (they’re very strict on time which is a good thing).
The bus attendant collected our passports and we were given an immigration card for Cambodia and an exit form for Vietnam. It will be shown during our entry and we have to keep it until we exit Cambodia (do not lose this, more on this below). After around 2 hours, we arrived at the Moc Bai/Bavet Border and we followed the bus attendant where we waited for her while she gets our passport stamped for exiting Vietnam.
Then, we headed to Cambodia’s Immigration Office and got our entry stamp. After the whole process, we bought our own lunch at the border. We resumed our trip and after 4 hours, we arrived at Giant Ibis’ bus terminal in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It was easy, right?
Cambodia to Thailand
We’ll be skipping the Phnom Penh to Siem Reap part and will be discussing Siem Reap to Bangkok (Thailand) already. Aside from your immigration card for Cambodia, you will be given another card to fill-up before entering Thailand. We started our trip at exactly 8:45 and arrived at the Poipet/Aranya Prathet Border after 3 hours. The bus attendant got our passports stamped for exiting Cambodia and we dropped off the bus to enter Thailand’s Immigration Office. This time, it took us 1 hour and 15 minutes to have our entry stamp. The bus attendant also took care of scanning our luggage while we were in line.
It was already 1 pm when we went back to the bus and they gave us our lunch (fried rice, egg, and cucumber). After 5 hours we were almost in Bangkok but due to traffic, we were finally dropped off at Khao San Road at around 7:30 pm. Still, it was an easy process, right?
Tips When Crossing The Border
1. If you’ll book with Giant Ibis and will be staying at a partner hotel, they can pick you up from your accommodation going to the bus terminal.
2. Do not lose the immigration card. Based on my experience, I thought I lost it on our trip going to Bangkok. So when I informed the bus attendant about this, he told me that I need to pay $5.00 for the lost card. Luckily, it was just inside my wallet.
3. The bus attendant speaks well in English so if you have any questions about the process, he can help you for sure.
4. Giant Ibis is allowed to operate in Vietnam and Cambodia so there’s no need to bring your luggage with you while getting your passport stamped.
5. For other nationalities, please coordinate with your bus attendant regarding your visa.
6. Giant Ibis is strict on time. Even if you booked a different bus operator, it is best that you arrive at least 30 minutes early so you’ll not get left behind.
7. If the bus attendant asks you for money, ask them what is it for. There’s no need to pay extra since Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand are visa-free for Filipinos.
8. Before booking your bus tickets, read reviews so you’ll know what to expect.
Giant Ibis Terminal Locations
1. Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam)
Address: 237 Phạm Ngũ Lão, Phường Phạm Ngũ Lão, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
2. Phnom Penh (Cambodia)
Address: Street 90, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
3. Siem Reap (Cambodia)
Address: Khmer Pub St, Krong Siem Reap
4. Bangkok (Thailand)
Address: 229 Phra Sumen Rd, Talat Yot, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok
Other Important Things To Know
Here are the other important details that you must know so you can plan your Vietnam-Cambodia-Thailand border crossing with ease.
Operating Hours of Immigration Borders
1. Moc Bai (Vietnam Border) – 8 am to 8 pm
2. Bavet (Cambodia Border) – 8 am to 8 pm
3. Poipet (Cambodia Border) – 6 am to 10 pm
4. Aranya Prathet (Thailand Border) – 6 am to 10 pm
Recommended Articles For Indochina
If you have tried crossing the border from Vietnam, Cambodia, to Thailand (or vice versa) and you want to share your experience, please leave a comment below. Thanks so much and see you on our next article!
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