Phoebe and I made it to Laos, but we are in trouble. 

Aah so this was the second time I was crossing a border with Phoebe. Read about the first one here

From: Stung Treng (Cambodia)

To: Don Det aka 4000 islands (Laos)

Cambodia motorbike diaries Day 10 and Laos motorbike diaries Day 1. 

So, I read about numerous stories about how the border crossing between Cambodia and Laos is rife with scams. There’s one where a friendly guy takes your passport and offers his services for 7-8 dollars. There is the stamping “fee” scam where the officials take 2$ to stamp you in or out. Then there is the one where they let you out on your motorbike from Cambodia but don’t let you in Laos, so you have to sell your motorbike for 25$ in between. 

I was thinking that the worst thing that happens today is I lose my bike. 

When crossing the Cambodian side, I had to pay 2$ stamping fee. I didn’t contest it and paid. 

On the Laos side there was a 1$ fee which was when you got your visa processed before 8 or after 4 but they still took the dollar anyway. Then I paid 2$ for stamping fees again. 

I thought I was flying out of Vientiane on the 9th and the visa I got is till 9th April. Close call. I was hoping that they gave it till 11th April since I applied on 11th March but apparently not. (My flight is on the 8th)

Like the last border crossing I was keeping my bike away and not really mentioning it to anyone. 

When I was leaving the office and walking towards the motorbike, the lady from the office called me out and asked “Do you have moto?”. I couldnt really say no and hence said a very tentative yes. She then told me to get it registered in the other office. 

I thought this is where I pay the bribe. The guy looked at my passport and asked for 6$. I had 3$ in small notes and then just a 50$ note. I asked him whether it was okay to pay just 3, but he refused. So I had to give him 50$ note which he changed for 400,000 kip and returned the remaining amount. 

He gave me a yellow document which was a document declaration for the bike. This was a customs declaration and I tried to tell him that I am flying out of the country but he just told me to show it when I made exit. I also told him I have to sell the bike in Laos. 

I got away from the border and a little realisation struck me that this is not good. I need to get the bike out of the country by 9th April which I can’t do, since I’m flying out. I went back to the office and asked the people there. Suddenly none of them spoke English! All of them pretended to barely understand me and just told me to show the form when I fly out. 

Slowly over the course of the day I figured this is really way worse than it seemed at the moment. I can legally not leave the country without the bike. The document  also said that I was not allowed to sell it. That there was a 10$ per day fine for overstaying. 

I was hoping to fly out from here to India. If I go to other countries that would involve visa fees. Plus I have to come back to Laos again and pay visa fees again. 

At the border there were 3 people who were just ditched by their driver after getting to the border. And now they had to figure out a way to get to a place 150 kms away. 

These borders are so messed up. 

I had a Swedish guy with me as well, and we were doing the same thing together. They didn’t stop him but just stopped me. The visa for Indians is 40$ while for most other places it’s 30-35$, Canada being an exception at 42. 

I have 4-5 options in my mind that I have to choose from. None are particularly great but I’ll see which one I choose. 

I made it to Don Det and it seems nice here. Most of my day has been spent over analysing what to do though. 


I bet the officials at the border were probably laughing over how they acted as if they didn’t know English and fucked the Indian guy. 

Phoebe and I made it to Cambodia!!

Woohoo! 

Vietnam motorbike diaries Day 10 and Cambodia motorbike diaries Day 1!

From: Saigon

To: Phnom Penh 

Distance: 270 kms

Oh God, the border was so sketchy. 

On the Vietnamese side you come upon a big building which is NOT the border control office. I was then asked to go around to another building.

That place was full of non official people trying to scam people into getting their passports “stamped”. And trying to tell me that I can’t take my bike. 

The bike laws are sketchy at best. On a bad day you can lose your bike, since driving itself without a Vietnamese license is illegal. 

So I did what people usually say in their blogs, don’t mention the bike at all. 

The Vietnamese border control was inside a warehouse where the entry gate wasn’t even marked that it was an entry gate. 

I parked my bike outside and walked in. One guy was trying to help me with something but I ignored him and asked him to leave me alone. 

After getting an exit stamp on my passport, I got out of the warehouse, went back to my back and walked with it a few metres. Then drove some 300-400 metres to the Cambodian office. 

There were 2-3 spots in a row and it was hard to figure out where to leave the bike. I left it before a barrier, next to the visa counter. 

I had gotten an E-visa so I went inside the office. I had to fill a form, go to an immigration officer and then exit. The exit gate would leave me some 50 metres away from the bike, towards Cambodia. It wasn’t very clear whether you could go back towards the entry gate after getting your passport stamped. 

So there was this risk of losing the bike and losing my backpack that was on the bike. I didn’t want to remove my backpack so that I could rush out quick after the stamping. I imagined scenarios where I would plead for the backpack. 

I walked back to the bike casually as if this is something I did every month. I got on the bike but then someone suggested I should walk with it. After a couple of seconds an officer stopped me. I thought this is the part where I shell out that 20$ bribe.

Fortunately he just saw my passport and let me through! I drove out of there right away and got out. Only when I was a kilometre away, did I stop to adjust my stuff. 

Crazy experience!

Vietnam motorbike diaries – Day 9 (Da Lat to Saigon)

We made it!!

From: Da Lat

To: Saigon 

Distance: 335 kms!

Jeez, today was a tough one. I drove 335 kms on my scooter and it took me 8 hours. I don’t think I would do anything more than 250 again. Just that time is kinda running out. 

This also means that Phoebe and I have made our North-South entirely! Okay, we cheated a little for about 500 kms between Nha Trang and Hoi An, but still. 

It’s been 2500 kms roughly over 17 days. 

I plan on seeing Mekong Delta before my visa runs out on the 17th. It’s Cambodia after this and hopefully my scooter can make it’s way in. 

These are some pics from today. Not a lot to see and a lot of highway. The ride was tiring and the sun was blazing hot. I took a small detour to see Pongour waterfalls. There was a sea of motorbikes by the time I finished seeing the falls. So glad I went there early!