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Travellers' Advisories, Safety and Security on the Road Recent News, political or military events, which may affect trip plans or routes. Personal and vehicle security, tips and questions.
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  #1  
Old 12 Nov 2003
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Location: manila, philippines
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Borders between Thailand - Cambodia - Vietnam

hello guys,

maybe you could help on any updates or tips regarding border crossing between Thailand - Cambodia - Vietnam. i'm doing my trip on December. I would like to know if the borders are currently open and how safe it is now to cross. I was told by a friend that some authorities in the border would get a stuff from you if they like it. i'd appreciate any help.

thanks.
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  #2  
Old 13 Nov 2003
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Location: Gerrards Cross, Bucks, UK
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We crossed the Thai-Cambodia border last year and it was no trouble at all. You get your Cambodian visa as you enter the country and it was all very quick. There didn't appear to be any customs officers on the Cambodian side, so we didn't even bother registering the bikes.
Cambodia is safe if you stick to the main roads (there's still a lot of land mines scattered around the country) and the people are lovely. If you want to explore the countryside off the main roads I would advise taking a local guide because of the threat from land mines.
As far as I know it is still not possible to cross into Vietnam from either Laos or Cambodia. Some overlanders did get in last year by bribing a border guard, but that opportunity didn't last long. While we were in Thailand a pair of overlanders actually went to Saigon seeking permission to bring their bikes in, but they didn't get anywhere.
I read in the Times of India last week that the Viet authorities are considering banning two-wheelers altogether because there are so many in the country - 1 million two-wheelers registered in Saigon alone - so I think you will need to be very lucky or very presuasive to get into Vietnam.

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  #3  
Old 15 Nov 2003
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: B.C. Canada
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Hi,
Thai customs are getting very modern and efficient. Crossing into Laos or Cambodia is no problem with your own bike. A rental is a different story... For good up to date info, check out gt-rider.com it has all the answers to riding around S.E. Asia.
cheers, Cameron
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  #4  
Old 11 Jan 2004
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Location: Gerrards Cross, Bucks, UK
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Further to my post above. We have a guy staying with us who recently spent a couple of weeks in Vietnam on his F650 Dakar.
He crossed into Vietnam from Cambodia just south of the main highway and exited into Laos and didn't have to bribe anyone, so it is possible.
You can read about it in his journal at www.mrbeem.com.

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  #5  
Old 15 Feb 2004
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Location: oakland, california, usa
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Our group of three bikes crossed into Cambodia at Hat Lek on Jan 29, 2004. We had no problems leaving Thailand but got stiffed at Cambodia immigration for the visas. We had to pay 1100 baht instead of the required $20 (about 800 baht). No big deal. The customs guys started hassling us about one of our bikes which had no license plate. The guy who owned the bike had been into Cambodia before and eventually convinced them to let us through (about 45 mins of "negotiation"). No money changed hands. However, we were stopped at a second customs station down the road and went through the same process. The customs guys wanted to see a carnet book to stamp even though Cambodia doesn't require a carnet. Another 45 minutes of "negotiation" ensued with more and more senior officials coming down to get an explanation. Eventually, the most senior customs guy waved us through. Crossing into Cambodia cost us 1100 baht and about two hours in total.

We crossed back into Thailand on Feb 4. The process was reasonably straightforward except that the Cambodians made us fill out "vessel of conveyance" forms in duplicate. These are the same forms you'd use if you were crossing with a boat. There were tons of backpackers leaving at the same time, possibly due to concerns about avian flu, so the immigration lines were long. Other than that, we had no problems.
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