Overland border crossing Vietnam allow travelers to cross between Vietnam and Cambodia (via five land borders), Laos (via six border crossing) and China (with two crossings). In addition, travelers can also arrive by air at Hanoi, Saigon, Nha Trang and Da Nang international airports. See a quick guide on getting to Vietnam
There are two types of overland border crossing Vietnam with neighboring China, Cambodia and or Laos, the borders divided from international and local borders. The international Border crossings are generally open to all tourists who traveling to Vietnam with a valid Passport and Vietnamese Visa beforehand. The local crossings are open only to locals and peoples of Vietnam, Laos or Cambodia.
INFO ON OVERLAND BORDER CROSSING TO VIETNAM
If you crossing to Cambodia, then the most popular overland border crossing is the Bavet / Moc Bai crossing. And, for crossing to Laos, the Nam Phao / Cau Treo crossing are the most popular. But if you crossing to China passes through both the Dong Dang / Ping Xian and Lao Cai / Hekou crossings, depending on where in China you’re headed.
For overland crossing to Vietnam travelers NEED to have Vietnam visa before-hand, On weekends and late hours, don’t be surprised if you’re asked to pay a dollar or so in overtime, don’t expect a receipt! Check it out carefully that you’re stamped into Vietnam for the correct length of stay. Make sure to understand about Vietnam visa approval letter
Popular Overland Border Crossing to Vietnam
Bavet – Moc Bai: This was the first crossing border between Vietnam and Cambodia to open to tourists and it remains easily the most popular one. Daily buses regularly ply the HCMC to Phnom Penh route and the service is both fast and secure. Cambodian visa on arrival is available also here, while Vietnam visas must be arranged in advance.
Kaam Samnor – Ving Xuong: This very popular riverine crossing links Phnom Penh in Cambodia with the town of Chau Doc in Vietnam Side. Both slow and fast boat services are available. When you arrive at the border, a fixer will generally gather up all the passports and head into the immigration office to do all the paperwork.
Phnom Den – Tinh Bien: Midway between Ha Tien and Chau Doc, this crossing is open to tourists and Cambodian visa on arrival are available. The closest town on the Cambodian side is Kampot or Takeo — but both are a couple of hours away. There are buses from Ha Tien to the border, though a motorbike ride is far faster. On the Cambodian side, transport is a bit sparse and travelers have reported overcharging from the border town of Phnom Den to Kampot.
Prek Chak – Xa Xia: The Cambodia/Vietnam coastal border crossing is open and travellers with a valid Vietnamese visa can enter Vietnam at the Prek Chak / Xa Xia crossing a twenty minute motorbike ride from Kep. A motorbike ride to the border from Kep costs around US$10 and onwards transport to Ha Tien in Cambodia is available. Cambodian visa on arrival are available.
Le Thanh – O Yadao crossing: This remote crossing links Ban Lung in northeast Cambodia to Pleiku in Vietnam, with a through trip between the two taking about six hours. From the Vietnamese side, buses run from Pleiku to Duc Co, from where you’ll need to grab a motorbike for the last 20km to the border. From the border to Ban Lung is a trip of about 70km.
Crossing borders From / To Vietnam to Laos
Sop Hun – Tay Trang: This border has finally opened to international travellers. To get into Vietnam, a bus leaves three times a week from Muang Khua on the Lao side for Dien Bien Phu on the Vietnamese side. The bus leaves at 07:00. We suggest getting to the bus departure point (on the Vietnamese side of the Nam Ou) by 06:30 as seats are limited and allocated on a first come first serve basis. If the bus is full you will be left behind! Tickets cannot be pre-purchased. At the border, Lao immigration staff demands a 4,000 kip ‘processing fee’. You cannot get a Vietnamese visa on arrival, so arrange this beforehand. In the opposite direction buses leave three times a week from Dien Bien Phu to Muang Khua at 05:30. Lao visa on arrival is available at the border.
Na Maew – Nam Xoi: For those coming from Vietnam, this crossing offers convenient access into the book docks of Laos’ Hua Phan province. It is a short ride from the border to Sam Neau. Through buses run from Sam Neua to Thanh Hoa in Vietnam taking 10-12 hours, If you don’t want through transport, there are songtheaws (local transports with two benches) to the border from Sam Neua but there isn’t much on the Vietnamese side to pick you up.
NamCan – Nam Khan: Convenient to the Lao town of Phonsavan and the large Vietnamese city of Vinh, this border is the crossing of choice for most overland travellers. Coming from Vinh there are buses to Phonsavan departing at 6:00 on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, costing, the trip is 403 km and should take about 12 hours. Through buses to Luang Prabang leave at 06:00 as well, on Wednesdays and Sundays only. The 690 km journey. Vietnamese passengers pay less (but then again, they pay taxes and you don’t!) Lao visas on arrival are available.
Nam Phao- Cau Treo: Convenient to the Lao town of Lak Xao and the large Vietnamese city of Vinh, this border is the crossing of choice for most overland travellers. Coming from Laos, the border is 34 km east of Lak Xao — you can catch a bus to the border and then walk across to the other side, 500m away, and after entering Vietnam, find a connection to Vinh, about 100km away on the Vietnamese eastern coast, and from there to your city of choice in Vietnam. You’ll need to have your Vietnamese visa in advance, for sure!
Dansavanh – Lao Bao: This was the first land border between Laos and Vietnam to open for foreign travellers, it was for a long time the most popular Border Crossing between Vietnam and Laos, but many now opt for the more northern crossing near Lak Xao instead. This crossing is convenient for Hue in Vietnam and Savannakhet in Laos. Lao visas are available and through buses from Savannakhet to Hue run daily.
Bo Y – Ngoc Hoi: Convenient to Attapeu and Laos and Kontum in Vietnam, the border at Bo Y is wide open to foreigners travellers, and now provides an interesting, if somewhat challenging, way to enter Vietnam. Of course, as ever, you’ll need to have obtained a valid Vietnamese visa before hitting the border. In Attapeu, mini-buses for Bo Y leave in the morning, the first departure is at 07:00, running through to about 10:00.the distances are 119km from Attapeu to Bo Y. Once everyone is processed the vans continue on to the town of Ngoc Hoi, 18km on the other side of the border. The entire process from Attapeu takes about three hours. Transport options are available from in Ngoc Hoi to just about anywhere you want to go. The nearest spot on the tourist trail is Kon Tum, 68km east of Ngoc Hoi.
Crossing overland borders from Vietnam to China
Mong Cai – Dong Hung: Mong Cai Border Gate is in the northeast of Quang Ninh Province, 176km from Halong City, 327km from Hanoi. From Halong City, along the highway 18 to Mong Cai Town, and then across the Mong Cai Border Gate to China.
Dong Dang -Ping Xian: A taxi to Ping Xian costs 30RMB and a bus to Nanning 50RMB. Once in Nanning you can get a local bus into the city and there are plenty of ATMs/banks/moneychangers etc. Coming the other way getting to Hanoi is likely to cost you about 100,000 dong(U$5. Shared taxis run from the border to Lang Son where you can pick up a variety of buses or the train to Hanoi.
Lao Cai – Hekou border: The closest border crossing to Sapa and Kunming, some nationalities, including Australians and some Europeans, can buy one-month Chinese visas on the spot on the Vietnamese side of the Lao Cai / Hekou border for US$45, processing takes an hour. Be sure to check with the Chinese embassy before you arrive at the border, and it probably makes sense to arrive with a visa in your passport in any case. Going the other way, of course, no visa on arrival is available.