Hi, I am currently in Cambodia and in about 2 weeks I intend to cross into Laos. Now, as far as I know there is one land border - Stung Treng (Cambodia) into some town in Vietnam - but it has had mixed reports from other travellers.
Has anyone here made the crossing? I am starting to think it would be easier to fly - perhaps even cheaper. Indeed, I have heard stories of insane (non-negotiable) bribes being demanded by officials, travellers being forced to pay $30-$50 for a short boat ride and then, to really make the experience, people getting stranded at the other side thanks to insufficient transport connections - and resorting to paying $10+ for another short truck journey.
The problem is, the stories I find on the internet are a couple of years old at best. I really want some up-to-date info on the subject. Anyone have any info?
From Stung Treng, you take a boat (fast boat/shared USD8 pp)from the jetty not far from Sekong Hotel (hotel manager will arrange for ticket, reliable or ask for James...very interesting hotel worker!)to Dong Crorlor border immigration (Cambodia). It's actually a wooden house. The immigration guys will "invite " you to the office ( a room !) where to get the exit stamp, he will probably ask you for a 1USD.The boat will wait for you till you're done. Get back to the boat and you will be taken to the Laotian side (Wern Kham) where you will be dropped off at the jetty.All within an hour or so! From here, you can walk to the Laotian immigration checkpoint (about 150 metres away) or you pay 3,000-4,000 kips (USD1=10,500 kips) for a motorcycle ride.
At the immigration outpost, you fill up the immigration form and hand it over to the officer ( well, another USD1!)together with your passport.
The immigration guys will ask you if you are interested in a car charter for USD50 to Pakse!. Smile, and walk off towards the row of stalls.
Honestly, you dont get hassled so much these days! Trust me.
Well, if you are lucky, there will be a truck bus waiting. Otherwise ask around. These truck buses head for Pakse; sometimes to Muang (opposite Champassak).
From Pakse, you go north to Savannakhet, and from here, you can get bus direct to Hue (Vietnam ),crossing at Lao Bao border gate.
If you further queries you can send me a PM.
Where are you now?
Take a bus from a bus station southwestern of Psar Thmei (Central Market) to Stung Treng (STT). The bus leaves about 7 am, fare 42000 riels. Bus arrives at STT at around 4.30 pm. You will have to spend a night in STT.
There are 2 entry points at this Cambodian/Lao crossing.
At STT, go to the Riverside Restaurant/GH, ask for Mr Tee (the owner). He can arrange the trip by taxi/van from STT, cross the Cambodian/Lao border to Don Det (USD10), and USD12 to Don Kong. Minimum number required, but usually it is OK in the morning departure. Another departure is at 1230 pm. If you choose this overland trip, the crossing point is at Dong Kralor. You must have the Lao visa beforehand. The Cambodia immigration police will ask for USD1.- (one) for a "stamp" fee, and so do the Lao immigration police. Anything more than this must face your tough bargain or a tough "no".
If you choose to go on the river (to witness the might of the Mekong), then your entry point into Lao will be Voenkam with same situation at the immigations. The shared boat fare from STT is USD5-6 per person from STT to Voenkam. Morning departure is more OK than the late one, which means that you may have to charter the whole boat (which can carry about 5-6 passengers). After that, catch the Song Taew (shared minibus) on the Lao side to move further into Lao. These songtaew's operation is not available after 3 pm from Voenkam (not so sure). So be sure to arrive at Voenkam ASAP to catch this public transport.
Sabai Dee and Good luck...
Can anyone tell me...
Is it easy to cross from Thailand into Laos... and from Vietnam into Cambodia, then back into Thailand?
I.e the Indochina Loop
yes, that is a common route. I've done this, so if you need details please feel free to pm me.