how to go from vietnam to cambodia

How to Go from Vietnam to Cambodia border crossing, routes & visas

There are a number of border crossings between Vietnam and Cambodia.   The main Vietnam to Cambodia border crossing is Moc Bai to Bavet and the route from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Pen by bus is an easy 6-hour (including immigration) trip.   Of course, there are many other land border crossings to Cambodia from Vietnam, and visas on arrival are available at most of them.  The other type of border crossing from Vietnam to Cambodia is the water crossing – the Mekong River runs from the north to the south of Cambodia before it ends in Vietnam.  The fastest water crossing from Vietnam to Cambodia is from Chau Doc to Phnom Penh.

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How to get from Vietnam to Cambodia

The Vietnam to Cambodia border crossing and the route that you select between Vietnam and Cambodia depends on where you start from and where you plan to go to.  The most popular route from Vietnam to Cambodia is from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh, Cambodia.  This is a land border crossing and is how to go from Vietnam to Cambodia if you don’t want a river border crossing.  However, there is also a popular route on the Mekong River. The public-ticketed fast and slower boats go from Chau Doc to Phnom Penh.  You can also book a private river transfer from Can Tho to Phnom Penh (check prices here), although this is expensive and there are cheaper buses available, they can’t currently be booked online.

Border Crossings between Vietnam and Cambodia

How to go to Cambodia from Vietnam and which border crossing that you take depends on the route that you take – and as most of the land border crossings between Vietnam and Cambodia and the river border crossing to Cambodia from Vietnam are through-ticket, you don’t need to worry too much about knowing which crossing it is.  However, here are the main crossings.

  • Moc Bai (Vietnam) to Bavet – (Cambodia) – the main border crossing
  • Ting Bien (Vietnam) to Phnom Den (Cambodia)
  • Ha Tien (Vietnam) to Prek Chakille (Cambodia)
  • Vinh Xuong (Vietnam) to Kaam Samnor (Cambodia)

Map of Vietnam to Cambodia Border Crossings

Map of Vietnam to Cambodia Border Crossings

You can also see the map of the Cambodia-Vietnam border crossings here.

Visa Requirements for Cambodia

iVisa.com

Visa on arrival is available at most (if not all) land and river crossings.  Payment for these visas is in cash, you can pay in US dollars or Vietnamese Dong.  The cost of the visa (there may some local variations) is around US$36.  If you prefer to arrange your visas in advance, an online eVisa for Cambodia has been available since 2006 and is available here.

Main Routes from Vietnam to Cambodia

The main routes between Vietnam and Cambodia are from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to Phnom Penh in Cambodia, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, or Battambang.  The other prime routes are from Can Tho in the Vietnam Delta to Phnom Penh, or from Phu Quoc to Phnom Penh or Siem Reap. (Our guide on what to do in Siem Reap is here).

Here are the main options for transport for those routes.

Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh

It’s very easy to take a bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh and there are numerous options available.  The border here on the Vietnam side is at Moc Bai and it is about 60 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City.    The border on the Cambodia side is called Bavet and visas on arrival are available here.    Payment for the visa is in cash.  You will likely be on a through bus from Ho Chi Minh City and will be directed to take your passport and bags through exiting Vietnam and then entering Cambodia before returning to your bus.

Our guide to the best things to do in Phnom Penh is here.

Book Accommodation in Phnom Penh

The Golden Noura Villa-Pub & Restaurant offers comfortable lodging, an en suite bathroom, and free WiFi within 100 meters of the National Museum and the Royal Palace. All of the rooms at Golden Noura include air conditioning, a flat-screen cable TV, a fridge, and a writing desk. Every room at this great Phnom Penh hotel has great views of the city!. You can check rates here.

The Pavilion is an adult-only hotel in the heart of Phnom Penh. Phnom Penh’s Pavilion Hotel has a separate main restaurant as well as two poolside restaurants. It has an indoor spa as well as an outdoor shaded pool for chilling out. When you’re ready to explore, This super Phnom Penh hotel provides free bicycle rental. Check Rates at the Pavilion in Phnom Penh and book a room here.

The Plantation Urban Resort & Spa, in the heart of Phnom Penh, is located in a fabulous spot behind the Royal Palace. The Plantation has two outdoor swimming pools, a restaurant on-site, and a bar. There is free WiFi access throughout.  Non-smoking rooms with air conditioning also have a desk and minibar, and there’s also a flat-screen TV in the lounge area of the room. This is a fabulous luxury option in Phnom Penh. This wonderful property fills up quickly, so reserve early!

Bus Times from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh

  • 0630
  • 0645
  • 0800 (2 different services)
  • 0830 (2 different services)
  • 1130 (2 different services)
  • 1300
  • 1345
  • 1500

You can check current times for buses from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh – as they may differ in the high and low seasons – and prices here

There are also two luxury minibus services a day from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh. > check prices and book now.

Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap

There are three ways to go to Siem Reap from Ho Chi Minh city.  The first is to first go from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh and stopover there.  The city of Phnom Penh is well worth a visit, from its almost European-like feel to the incredibly moving historic events detailed in the Killing Fields and represented at sites in the city (read more here).

The second way to go from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap is to fly.

Flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap

Flights to Siem Reap from Ho Chi Minh City take between 70 minutes to 110 minutes.   Don’t forget you will have to factor in getting to and from the airports.  There is an airport bus from Ho Chi Minh city to the airport, but in Siem Reap you’ll need to take a taxi or a tuk-tuk to get to the city.

Flights to Siem Reap from Ho Chi Minh City run at 0820, 1345, 1620, 1725, and 1925.  Check prices and availability of flights to Siem Reap here.

The third – and most popular way to go to Siem Reap from Ho Chi Minh City is to take the bus.

Buses from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap

Buses between Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap take between 13 and 15 hours.  You can travel during the day or at night.  The quickest bus between Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap is run by the Sinh Tourist and takes 13 hours.

Bus Times from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap:

0615, 0700, 1500, 0630 >  Check prices and availability here.

Where to stay in Siem Reap

The Siem Reap River cuts through the middle of the city, making it quite small. The majority of holiday accommodations are located in the Old French Quarter, a large area that includes neighborhoods like Temple Town, City Centre, and Pub Street. The Wat Bo neighborhood, which is just over the river from the Old French Quarter, is as convenient but a little quieter. There are a host of places to stay in Siem Reap – here’s our pick of the luxury places to stay in Siem Reap, mid-range places to stay in Siem Reap, and budget accommodation in Siem Reap.

Central Corner d’Angkor is a lovely hotel with a restaurant, an outdoor pool, a bar, and a common area. This Siem Reap four-star hotel’s rooms all have a view of the pool, and guests can access a garden and a terrace. The luxury hotel in Siem Reap provides you with a 24-hour front desk, room service, and currency exchange. Rooms at the top-class Central Corner d’Angkor offer air conditioning, a sitting area, a flat-screen cable TV, a safe, and a private bathroom with a shower, bathrobes, and slippers. Central Corner d’Angkor is also close to several of the main attractions, making it an excellent choice if you wish to stay near Siem Reap’s primary attractions. Check availability here.

The 4-star Siem Reap Memoire d’Angkor Boutique Hotel offers personalized service and comfort with its lovely Zen-style rooms and art gallery. The outdoor pool and fitness center are open to visitors and there is free WiFi access throughout. You’ll be welcomed with stylish furniture and a free fruit platter in your room, where you’ll also find a workstation, a flat-screen TV, and a personal safe the size of a laptop. Private bathrooms come with free toiletries, a shower, and toothbrushes. This is a great mid-range hotel option in Siem Reap and you can book a room here.

The Blossoming Romduol Boutique hotel is a fabulous budget hotel in Siem Reap and offers private rooms, dorm accommodations, an outdoor pool, and free WiFi throughout the property. Additionally, there is a café on the premises, pool tables, free private parking, and free bicycle rental for visitors. Private rooms at this Siem Reap budget hotel have a fan or air conditioning, and some accommodations have a flat-screen cable TV, a refrigerator, and rooms with garden views. The front door of the building opens into a garden area, and there is also a front desk with 24-hour service, a shared lounge, currency exchange, and ticketing services. A great option here is that hotel bicycles may be used for free. You can check rates here.

Chau Doc to Phnom Penh

The most popular boat from Vietnam to Cambodia is the route from Chau Doc to Phnom Penh.  This route from Vietnam to Cambodia by boat takes you up the mighty River Mekong.  There is no Chau Doc to Phnom Penh ferry as such, but there are several boats that ply this route, which leave Chau Doc at 0700 and 0730 each morning.  You can also arrange a private boat for this trip – which can leave at any time.

The Vietnam to Cambodia by boat time via this route takes 5 – 5.5 hours and you can check the availability of seats and book your tickets here

Hanoi to Siem Reap

If you’re going from Hanoi to Siem Reap prepare yourself for a long journey unless you take a direct flight, which is the most expensive way to go to Siem Reap from Hanoi.

Flights from Hanoi to Siem Reap

Direct flights are in the afternoon and you can check prices and times here.

Ground Transport from Hanoi to Siem Reap

You will first need to travel from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City.  You can do this on a train or a bus (check details here).

Once in Ho Chi Minh City, follow the directions as detailed earlier in this post – or check bus times here.

Phu Quoc to Phnom Penh

To go from Phu Quoc Island to Phnom Penh there are two options.  First, you can fly, but you will be routed through either Bangkok or Ho Chi Minh City.  The shortest route option is just under 5 hours.

The second option is to go from Phu Quoc to Ha Tien, from Ha Tien to Chau Doc, and from Chau Doc up the Mekong River to Phnom Penh. This is easy, some of it can be booked online, although not all of it.  This is not a single-day trip, but you do get to see a bit of Vietnam and Cambodia.  First, you need to take a ferry from Phu Quoc to Ha Tien, then a bus from Ha Tien to Chau Doc.  Then you can take the boat up the Mekong from Chau Doc right into the riverfront at Phnom Penh, Cambodia.  The Vietnam Cambodia border crossing between Vietnam and Cambodia is undertaken on the river trip and is very simple.

Here’s how to take that route.

Phu Quoc to Ha Tien

The Phu Quoc to Ha Tien route is easy.     Take a ferry from the island of Phu Quoc, fast ferries leave from Phu Quoc Bai Vong Port to Ha Tien. Check details and book now

If you’re looking to go the other way – here’s how to GET to Phu Quoc – from Cambodia, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Ferries leave Phu Quoc from 0710 and take around 2 hours and there are up to 7 crossings a day.

Phu Quoc to Ha Tien Ferry Times

The ferry from Phu Quoc to Ha Tien arrives in the port of Ha Tien, which is just a short walk from where you can catch a bus to Chau Doc.  It’s not possible to book this part of the trip online.  This is a local bus, it’s unlikely to be air-conditioned, and the BEST way to get a seat on it (they go about every 2 hours until early evening) is to go to the Oasis Bar in Ha Tien.

The Oasis Bar (as well as doing amazing bacon sandwiches with real HP Sauce!) is the best place to head to to go from Ha Tien to Chau Doc.  See the map of Ha Tien port and buses coming up next.  The Oasis Bar can be found across the river mouth from the Ha Tien ferry port.

Ha Tien Ferry and Oasis Bar Map

You can also see this map of Ha Tien here

Map of Ferry and Bus stops in Ha Tien Vietnam

Ha Tien to Chau Doc

The Ha Tien to Chau Doc bus is a local one. It takes around 3 hours to go from Ha Tien to Chau Doc.   The easiest way to do this is to go to the Oasis Bar and book your ticket from there.

When you arrive in Chau Doc you’ll want to have somewhere booked to stay.  There are plenty of places to stay here.  Boats from Chau Doc to Phnom Penh leave in the morning.

We stayed at and recommend the Trung Nguyen in Chau Doc

Chau Doc to Phnom Penh

Boats from Chau Doc to Phnom Penh take about 5 hours, including the border crossing, which is done as the boat pulls up to the immigration station mid-journey.

Our 7 am pick-up came quickly. Now, this was a new way to travel for us – but it was only a short trip to the ferry, which would take us and our bags for the princely sum of US$21 each (it’s now about US$29), right to the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh with the Hang Chau Ferry.

Pick up from Chau Doc to pier

You can now book this ferry online >  check details and book here

Chau Doc to Phnom Penh Trip Review

The ferry heads east first of all, on to join the main Mekong River, and then north. (to avoid the sun sit on the left-hand side of the ferry until late morning and then swap to the right-hand side.). When the front and side windows are open, there’s lots of air. Unfortunately, mid-trip they closed the windows, and then there’s just no air.

Seating on boat from Chau Doc

Well, ok, there is but it’s very, very hot air. Sitting out at the back was the only option if breathing and not expiring was an option.

River boat to Phnom Penh from Chau Doc

After a short, while heading north, there’s about an hour’s stop at the Vietnamese border crossing.

Entering immigration Cambodia to Vietnam

Time to get that last Vietnamese coffee.  To chew on the goodies they give you on the ferry or the last Banh Mi that we’d bought from the market in Chau Doc.  Then we’re back on the boat for a short trip towards Cambodian immigration.

We’d handed over our passports, USD$30, and completed immigration forms when we boarded the boat. Now we troop off to our first port in Cambodia, where staff circulate passing back our passports.

It was pretty easy to pick up someone else’s if you fancied a change. When we left there was still one passport circulating without an owner.

Passport control Vietnam to Cambodia

Once you retrieve your passport, you line up at immigration, hand over your passport, and your stamped form, get a couple of stamps and then head back to the ferry.

Two hours or so later, we arrived in Phnom Penh at the Preah Sisowath Quay (near Near Klahan).

Riverboat Chau Doc to Phnom Penh

It’s possible to transfer between Vietnam and Cambodia in many different ways.  We chose to take the ferry from Phu Quoc, then a bus to Chau Doc, and spend the night before taking the Mekong River to Phnom Penh.

Other key routes to travel in Vietnam

Want to know more about different forms of transport in Vietnam? Our guide to Vietnam transport is here. And here’s how to travel some of the popular routes around Vietnam, your options, and how we did it.

Travel Tips for Exploring Vietnam

Final Words on how to go from Vietnam to Cambodia

How to get to Cambodia from Vietnam depends a lot on your style of travel and both your start and endpoint.  We hope we’ve covered all the options for you if you plan to travel from Vietnam to Cambodia and detailed the main Vietnam Cambodia border crossings.

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