My visa for vietnamÂ only has one day leftÂ so we need to plan a way to cross the border into Cambodia sharpish. After much deliberation and conversations with fellow travellers who have crossed the vietnamese/cambodian border recently, we have decided that an organised tour is the best way to go about it. It’s not the quickest or the cheapest way but it is by far one of the easiest and most interesting. The tour will take three days. There will be a lot of stops on the way at various places of interest and we will be guided safely all the way to Phnom Penh.
I have heard a lot of bad things about trying to cross the border without any assistance and it can be frustrating and can leave you vulnerable to the endeavorsÂ ofÂ touts and scammers. The last thing we wanted to happen was to get stuck at the border trying to find some transport and be swamped by touts and not knowing who to trust.
The Tour to the Border
For the first part of the tour to the border we are picked up by a bus and then taken to the river where we get on a boat and are taken to visit various locations which includes a place that makes sweets from coconuts, another that harvests honey and somewhere that makes noodles.
The first nights accommodation was a homestay with a local family. There are 6 of us from the organised tour staying at the same house. The homestay experienced wasn’t really what I was expecting. For one thing, I don’t think a local family actually lived in the house. A meal was prepared by some people who didn’t really interact with us and then everyone left never to be seen again with the exception of 3 young children who were left behind to supervise us. So if you were expecting an authentic homestay experience you’d be very disappointed with this. I didn’t really mind however as this part of the tour wasn’t really a priority selling point for me. The rooms and facilities were as basic as they come but good enough to get your head down for one night.
It was a 6am start and another boat journey visiting various places once again. We started at the floating marking on the Mekong Delta. It’s a fascinating thing to see but I was getting a bit tired of being taken to places where the intention was clearly for us to buy things. The russians seems to love it; they were buying everything, but not me.
We got a decent nights sleep in an okay hotel but it was still another very early start to go on another shopping spree. After visiting a fish farm, a school, textile workshop, a place where they make incense sticks a bunch of shops and god know what else we eventually arrived at the vietnam/cambodia border hurray! And boy was this border quite. It was practically deserted, even the border officials were sat out in the sun playing board games. We went through all the necessary procedures and then a bus was waiting to pick us up and take us to Phnom Penh.