Laos - Cambodia Border at
Veun Kham / Dong Calor


A case of Highway Robbery

The Laotian-Cambodian border of Veun Kham / Dong Calor is one of the worst in Southeast Asia. Although I was prepared from several sources that the Cambodian officers would charge a private 'fee' of two dollars I was surprised that already the Laotian officers did that. When I appeared they first completely ignored me. After a while one of the two officers in the wooden booth commanded: "Pay two dollars!". When inquiring for what, he told: "For stamp". They wouldn't stamp one out without giving extra money. Funny thing to ask for a receipt - they just don't answer.

One has to pass next a peculiar medical quick test, getting checked the temperature on the open road. Behind that are the Cambodian officers in two simple, wooden booths. They send one from the first booth to the second. There I had to pay another five dollars US extra on top of the regular 25 dollars for an 'ordinary e' visa. Then one get's sent back to the first booth to be stamped. It comes with three forms to fill in.

There are reported cases where people refused to pay and were sent back to Laos.

I came in a talk with a Swiss couple who came with a car and was involved in much more trouble. They were refused to take the car into Cambodia, despite all the information they got before. In the short time I stayed inside the Cambodian booth I met more people who had problems with the officials. Everybody had to pay there extra money.

Photographing is explicitely forbidden at this border. The gentlemen don't want evidence about what's going on there.

I saw a small boy and a small girl playing around some fifty meters from the Cambodian border check. Short before I left, one of the Cambodian officers took some stones and threw them after the boy. What locals do sometimes with dogs. Bye bye Laos. Welcome to Cambodia. That's even worse here than in Burma at Tachileik or Kawthaung.

The border is inmiddle of a forest. There is no village on either side of the border. On the Cambodian side there is a huge new custom building under construction.

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Published on April 25th, 2013