Getting a Vietnamese Visa in Cambodia

A visa is required to enter Vietnam, and none of the Cambodia/Vietnam land border crossings issue them on arrival. Sihanoukville, a small town on the southern coast of Cambodia is known for beautiful beaches and easy Vietnam visas, a well earned reputation on both counts based on our recent visit to the area. After spending three days in the hustle and bustle of Phnom Penh, we were ready for a bit of peace and quiet and natural beauty to recharge ourselves before we head to Vietnam.

Our stay in Phnom Penh was very comfortable at the Monsoon Hotel, a small boutique hotel within a block of the waterfront and a few blocks from the night market.  At $40/night including breakfast, we thought it was really good value considering the location and the quality of the establishment.  As you know we spent a day taking a walk back in history, an experience that left me feeling utterly spent emotionally.  The rest of our stay in Phnom Penh was rather low key – evening strolls along the lovely board walk that follows the Mekong River for a few kilometres, walking around the local neighbourhood, a visit to the King’s Palace, which, contrary to what we had been told, was open to the public even though the king had died last November.  

Bus travel in Cambodia is perilous with the poor road conditions and the aggressive drivers.  With that in mind, we bought tickets on the most expensive bus available (Ibis) to get us to Sihanoukville, four hours away.  What a disappointment when we realized we were travelling on a mini-bus.  To make matters worse, we had the craziest bus driver ever – passing when it wasn’t safe to do so, swerving in and out of traffic – one of the passengers even pleaded with the driver to slow down because she was so scared. Her pleas fell on deaf ears.

We were relieved to arrive safely in Sihanoukville late Thursday afternoon and to be greeted by a tuk tuk driver arranged by our hotel, Cheers Cambodia Gay Resort.  That’s right, we would be spending the next two days in a gay resort.  To be honest, we didn’t really know what that meant, if it meant anything other than what the name implied, a resort catering to gays.  The resort was lovely, with large, bright, spotless rooms fitted with comfortable beds and linens and beautiful handcrafted furniture from Malaysia.  An inviting pool complete with jacuzzi and stunning waterfall wall feature really made it feel like a resort.  There is a restaurant/bar area with a kick ass sound system at the back of the property.  While obviously catering to a gay clientele, the owners, Steve and Les are very straight friendly and made us feel welcome.  It was very quiet while we were there, which is what we like.  I think it would have been a very different experience if the resort had been full as Les himself explained they liked to party late and sleep ’til noon, not exactly our style.

When our hosts learned that we were in Sihanoukville to get our Vietnam visas, they offered to arrange for someone to get them for us.  At dinner time, we handed over our passports, a photo and money (US $65 each) and by breakfast the next day, our passports were returned with our new visas.  We didn’t do any paperwork or sign any forms.  It was the easiest visa we have every gotten.  We’re keeping our fingers crossed that it is indeed valid and gets us through the border!

With our visas completed, and our laundry dropped off , we now had a whole day at our disposal.  Aside from the beaches, Sihanoukville doesn’t  have too much to offer.  It is a sprawling, noisy, dirty town that looks like every other Asian town we have seen.  So we headed out of town to Otres Beach, a quiet strip of white sand  tucked away from all the tourist crowds.  Beach restaurants line one end of the beach and the other end is just wide empty beach sparsely lined with trees and covered in white sand – gorgeous.

Practice for “pool sitting”, oh, I mean house sitting this summer!

With our visas pasted in our passports, we’re now ready for Vietnam, but before we leave Cambodia, we’ve decided to make one last stop on one of the many beautiful islands that lie off the southern coast in the Gulf of Thailand.  A good dose of mother nature will recharge us for what we expect will be a busy month in Vietnam – or at least that is the plan. 

While touring Phnom Penh, our tuk tuk driver bought us these masks
to protect us from the dusty, dirty roads. 

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2 Responses
  1. Angus says:

    So what’s the plan? You mention house sitting for the summer.

    • christina says:

      We’re returning to Ottawa in a few weeks and we’ll be house sitting out near Kemptville for 6 months. We don’t really have a plan but we do need to earn some money and find a place to live. How we do that is still up in the air. Any ideas?