Monday, May 30, 2011

On the way

The border crossing on the Cambodian side of the border at Dong Kralor, looking into Laos
Thinking of travelling up to Laos from Phnom Penh? Last Thursday we left the capital at 8am by minibus in order to head north for Pakse and join the Mekong Tourism Forum. We passed through Chhlong, Kratie, skirted Stung Treng and crossed the border at Dong Kralor, though my passport says Trapeang Kreal, entered Laos at their Nong Nok Khiene border post (costing $35 for the visa and $1 for the missing passport-sized photo) and continued onto Pakse. We arrived at the Pakse Hotel at 7.30pm. It was a long day. As for the timings, we left Phnom Penh at 8am, took the new Prek Tamerk bridge over the Mekong to avoid going through Kompong Cham and joined the road from Prey Veng and on up to Chhlong. We paused briefly at Chhlong around 11.30am before carrying onto Kratie to arrive an hour later. After lunch at Red Sun Falling and picking up an additional passenger in the shape of Elephant Valley Project chief Jack Highwood, we left Kratie at 1.15pm and arrived at the border with Laos at 4pm. Border formalities on both sides took just under an hour (it cost $30 to get the vehicle out of Cambodia and $13 to get into Laos) and then we drove the 150kms to Pakse, arriving at 7.30pm. For the return trip on Saturday by a combination of minivan, moto and bus, it took me 13 hours including a bus breakdown.
The new visa and immigration center under construction on the Cambodian side of the border
Locals crossing the border in order to conduct trade. Everyone duck!
The Relais de Chhlong hotel, on the banks of the Mekong River near Kratie, which is still closed for renovations

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2 Comments:

Blogger Nimol និមល said...

Andy, I ever go there in year 2004. It was very quiet intl border. I like the view of Pakse, eco-tourism province bordering to cambodia's stung treng province.

What about now? How many people crossing this border per day?

You had mentioned about bribe given to Laos immigration police. It sounds there is no improvement at that border check point. I had the same experience like you wrote.

Nimol

May 31, 2011 at 5:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Andy, any idea when Le Relais de Chhlong might reopen its doors to tourists? Such a beautiful building! Jean-Philippe

June 8, 2011 at 7:00 AM  

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