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Crossing the Vietnam border to Cambodia and back

Travel Forums Asia Crossing the Vietnam border to Cambodia and back

1. Posted by crisbernal (Budding Member, 18 posts) 14 Jul '11 21:54

I will be in Ho Chi Minh City on Aug 27 to 30, 2011. I'm afraid I will be alone this time; my second time in Saigon. I plan to revisit Saigon city on my last day, so I decided to cross border to reach Siem Reap and Pnom Penh in Cambodia. I will be arriving HCMC at early dawn of the 27th and I want to reach Siem Reap in the same day by land. Don't have much budget for air trip.

Now my questions are:
1. Are there early bus trips from Ben Than Market to Moc Bai, as in earlier than 6am? I read most of the blogs that bus trips to cambodia start at 6am and some 8am. But I want to reach Vietnam border by 6am, so I need to catch the bus, if there's any, around 3am. Is this possible?
2. I am a Filipino, so I don't have a problem with visa. My only concern is what time will the border open? Is Moc Bai the border itself or just a walking distance to Cambodian border or do I still need another ride to get to the other side?
3. Given I crossed the Cambodian border early, are there bus trips going direct to Siem Reap or even just Pnom Penh? Where can I find it and what bus company it would usually be?

I definitely need your help and tips. Is the crossing safe for lone travelers? I may sound in a hurry, but to wait for 6am or 8am trip direct to siem reap would cost me 1 whole day. I plan to spend just 24 hours in Siem Reap and go down to Pnom Penh in the early morning of the 29th and get back to Saigon early of the 30th. Thank you in advance.

2. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru, 3520 posts) 16 Jul '11 11:12

Crisanto,
First of all: 'mabuhay, magandang umaga'. I was in your country years ago and still have fond memories of the P.I.

Now your concerns. I don't know if there are buses very early am to Moc Bai. They probably are, but it does not matter IMO. Even if you were the first person to walk out of VN into Cam. you would not be able to get to Siem Reap (SR) in time to do anything. There is no bus service from the Bavet border to Phnom Penh. Your only option is a share taxi. It leaves when full. There goes your budget. Figure $15 a seat. You are lucky and the taxi leaves at 7am. No problem at the Neak Loung ferry and you get into PP in time for 10:15 bus from Capitol GH to SR. Figure about 6 hours, arrive at your GH in SR at 4pm. Check in and a moto takes you over to Angkor. It is now 5pm, sunset is appox. 6pm. After all of this independent travel you arrive at the same time the direct bus: HCM-SR. Makes no sense IMO.

Crisanto, you need to re-think this trip. There is a reason people take the HCMC-Siem Reap direct bus. Price is one of course but you cannot do it faster on your own anyway. It is going to take one day to get from HCM to SR overland. Just the way it is. You have to decide between time and money. Flying is fast but expensive, bus is cheap but slow. Decide what is more important to you. Paalam.

3. Posted by crisbernal (Budding Member, 18 posts) 16 Jul '11 19:13

Oh, sad! That means I really have to bear with the 6am or 7am bus... I can not afford the plane as it costs more than 200 USD.

I am glad you came to visit my country. Hope you enjoyed your stay here. Filipinos are very hospitable, notwithstanding the pickpocketers, snatchers, beggars in major cities like Cebu and Manila. Hope you experienced just the good Philippines.

4. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru, 3520 posts) 16 Jul '11 21:45

Quoting crisbernal


I am glad you came to visit my country. Hope you enjoyed your stay here. Filipinos are very hospitable, notwithstanding the pickpocketers, snatchers, beggars in major cities like Cebu and Manila. Hope you experienced just the good Philippines.

Crisanto,
I got to visit Boracay, Moalboal, Batangas, Puerto Galera, Baguio so it was a great trip. Send me a PM if you have questions about VN or Cam.