Vietnam shares land borders with Cambodia, Laos and China and there’re several border crossings open to foreigners with each neighbour, a big improvement on a few years ago.
- With Cambodia: Bavet (or Moc Bai), Kaam Samnor (or Vinh Xuong) and Phnom Den (or Tinh Bien),
- With Laos: Donsavanh (or Lao Bao), Nam Phao (or Cau Treo), Nam Can and Tay Trang,
- With China: Youyi Guan (or Huu Nghi Quan – English name is Friendship Pass), Hekou (or Lao Cai) and Dongxing (or Mong Cai).
Important notes for overland travel to Vietnam
- All the above border crossings can arrange on arrival visa (one-month visa only) but it strongly recommends you should arrange visa in advance, at the Vietnamese Consulates to avoid any unexpected problems that may break your plan;
- Schedule to arrive at the border crossings after 7.30am and before 4.30pm (working hour) as they do not stamp foreign passports before or after that time. You also need time to shop around and bargain for good transportation and accommodation;
- Try and get a group together as local buses will not leave without a full van load. And customs seem easier for a big group;
- Prepare some small denomination US dollars handy (commonly acceptable) and local currencies for local service purchases. Black market can be an option as there are few legal money-changing facilities, but you should be careful.
- Local currencies include: Dong (Vietnamese), Renminbi (Chinese), Kip (Laos) and Riel (Cambodian).