CROSSING THE LAND BORDER FROM LAOS TO CAMBODIA
Land border crossings always make me uneasy purely because they always seem way less official to me. After the absolute breeze-through that my crossing from Thailand into Laos was, I was expecting this one to be the same!
GETTING TO THE BORDER
I booked the bus from my hostel in Pakse which I think was around £27.00 - but this was literally from hostel to hostel. I was picked up from outside the hostel at 8am on the dot, and was then transferred to a tuktuk when the bus made the turn for the 4000 Islands.
The crossing was mostly empty besides a few other tourists including a French Canadian girl I got to know pretty well, and after filling out my Laos departure card I handed over my passport and departure card to get my stamp. Here's where border crossing's get tricky.
EXIT STAMP (AND COMMON SCAMS)
Cambodia in general is renowned for being corrupt at crossings, making you pay a few dollars for each stamp, each check of the passport etc. I found this to be true on my journey.
I was asked to pay $2 to get my Laos exit stamp which several people argue over, but being by myself I like to avoid any and all conflict possible and get the hell in and out as quickly as possible. So I paid the $2 because let's face it: it's two bloody quid and absolutely not worth arguing over.
CAMBODIA VISA ON ARRIVAL
Once I had my exit stamp I went to go cross onto the Cambodia side, but a man pulled me and another girl aside and advised us we needed to fill out the entry forms to Cambodia here on the Laos side and then pay the visa fee and their staff will go ahead to the Cambodia side and file our visas for us.
I definitely was a bit sketchy about this - why would I need someone to do the visa for me when I'm capable of doing it myself? It also meant giving him my passport, $40 and hoping to hell I'd have a visa waiting for me on the other side.
By this point there were way more people crossing, and all of them gave their passports and money over without a word of protest so I did the same, and prayed to every god it wasn't a scam.
The walk across to the Cambodian side is a pretty long walk in the hot sun but the building is pretty and a lot of people stop here to take pictures.
Once in the immigration building you simply walk up to the counter labelled '1' or '2' and get your passport back with your visa in place! Then head outside and find your transport - likelihood is you'll be pointed in the right direction by a local.
Apart from the slight sketchiness I felt, this crossing was pretty easy!