A Travellerspoint blog

Vietnam let us in...

sunny 35 °C

...without a visa!

But it was a nerve-wracking 30 minutes as we were stamped out of Cambodia, walked the 300 yards across no-mans land to Vietnam Border Control and waited to see if they would let us in.

Above: Cambodian Border Control and the Ha Tien Casino Resort.

Above: Cambodian Border Control and the Ha Tien Casino Resort.

Our Cambodian 'fixer' (actually just the minibus owner and operator) was completing the formalities on behalf of the 12 people travelling (we were the only passengers not to have a pre-arranged visa) when he came over to us saying that we had been refused entry - a major setback. We briefly pleaded with the obstructive border guard when another, more senior man entered the room. We quickly explained our situation and he asked us for five dollars each.

Well, I couldn't pull my wallet out fast enough! The cash, unsurprisingly, went straight into the guy's own pocket. No matter. He gave us the stamp we needed to enter the country for 14 days. Strictly speaking, we shouldn't have been allowed to go to Phu Quoc Island but we had already read online that this small point is usually overlooked (provided the backhander has been paid, of course).

Above: Walking into Vietnam.

Above: Walking into Vietnam.

Once we had made it over the border, it was a twenty minute drive to Ha Tien where we were to catch the fast ferry to Phu Quoc Island. The ferry was the marvelously named 'Superdong I'!

Above: Superdong I.

Above: Superdong I.

The ferry crossing was great fun as the vessel bounced across the water at super-high speed. 20 minutes in, we were allowed to go up to the bridge and sat for most of the journey up on deck.

Above: On the bridge.

Above: On the bridge.

Above: Approaching Phu Quoc.

Above: Approaching Phu Quoc.

Posted by Rivercity 08:26 Archived in Vietnam

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I think you are very brave! Mind you, I expect the Boss and the Border Guard have enacted this scenario (including the Boss's providential entry on stage!) over and over. Hope you enjoy the island and get back to Cambodia safely. Celia

05.08.2012 by Celia

Hi Celia. Yes, I'm sure it's a well practiced ruse. I think the stamp should have been free but they know people want to visit the island (which legally this stamp doesn't allow) and so they like to make a few extra bucks on the side.
Our guesthouse also took our passports to the police for registration yesterday which we thought was strange, but apparently it is common practice in Vietnam. They are very strict here! We had better not stay longer than we are allowed!

05.08.2012 by Rivercity

Hope I don't read about you two in the National papers.................!!!

06.08.2012 by Sue Rogers

I hope they've let you out!

Can we have an update please? :)

15.08.2012 by Rich

Update coming soon. We had until 18 August in Vietnam but in the event we left the island after 7 days as we had seen most of it. So we arrived back in Phnom Penh yesterday on our way to Siam Reap.

15.08.2012 by Rivercity

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