This is our experience/record of crossing the Laos-Cambodia border on Wednesday, 8 February 2017. Our traveling party consisted of two people and two motorcycles. We started at 12:00pm and finished at 12:52pm.
Border Name: Non Nok Khiene-Trapaeng Kriel
Closest major cities: Non Nok Khiene, Laos and Trapaeng Kriel, Cambodia
Costs: $152 ($2 fee per person to exit Laos, $1 fee per person for health questionnaire in Cambodia, and $35 fee per person for 30-day Cambodia visa)
Paperwork required at border:
*Laos departure card
*Laos temporary vehicle import permit
*Cambodia visa application
*Cambodia entry card
Note: we keep all originals in individual plastic sleeves. We labeled these sleeves clearly to avoid confusion as to what was what, to keep original documents clean, and to differentiate what is original and what is a copy. All border-crossing officials have respected the sleeve.
As you approach the border the immigration and customs buildings are on both sides of the road. Stay to the right for vehicles/people leaving Laos.
Step 1 – Customs: We were directed to go to customs before immigration. The customs window is on the left (east) of the road as it is set up more for people entering Laos. We handed the official our passports and the temporary vehicle import permit paper. He handed us back our passports and kept the paper and said all done.
Step 2 – Immigration: We returned to the west side of the road where we had parked our motorcycles. We filled out a departure card and provided it along with our passports and the US$2 exit fee per person.
Total time to exit was seven minutes.
A short drive down the road and you will see the Cambodia immigration/customs building on your right hand (west) side and follow signs for vehicles. We parked under the building awning.
Step 1 – Health: We had to fill out a health questionnaire and pay a US$1 fee. We didn’t get a receipt for the fee and there is mixed information about whether it is a real fee or not. We didn’t argue it.
Step 2 – Customs: We were directed to do customs for the motorcycles before immigration (in case they needed to send us back to Laos). The customs office is in the main building in the middle on the west side. We provided our carnets to the customs official. Before proceeding he explained to us that Cambodia is not a carnet country (meaning they do not require the carnet or that Cambodia is part of the international carnet system). But, in order to proceed with a personal vehicle into Cambodia you are required to either provide your carnet or get permission from Phnom Penh in advance (I didn’t get the office name). We knew this was how things were being done now and were fine providing our carnet. I realized that the main reason they want the carnet is so that they can keep the bottom portion with all the vehicle details as at the border they do not have a system (computer or ledger) for processing temporary vehicle import permits. The officer showed us one of the permission letters from Phnom Penh and that included all the information just like a temporary vehicle import permit. To reiterate, you do not need a carnet to enter Cambodia but you will need to do some research as to how to obtain the temporary vehicle import permit (TVIP) from Phnom Penh. If you have a carnet they will let you in without a TVIP.
Step 3 – Immigration: Still inside the building there are two immigration desks. The first is for visa on arrival processing and it is located on the north end of the building. Fill out a visa application form and provide it along with your passport, a passport photo, and US$35 to the officer. We received a 30-day visa in our passports. Second step is to proceed to the south end of the building. Fill out an arrival/departure card and provide it along with your passport to the immigration officer. He put details in the computer and stamped us into the country.
Step 4 – Insurance: I think that insurance is required in Cambodia but we didn’t do research prior to arrival about where to purchase it. There wasn’t somewhere at the border to purchase it so we didn’t get any for Cambodia.
Total time to enter was 45 minutes.