How it works:
- Situation: crossing the Laos-Cambodia border requires 4 steps – exit stamp, medical check (not a real check, but more of documentation), visa and entry stamp. That said, it’s simple, doesn’t cost much and there is no need to be paranoid. However, do be wary of the touts.
- Version 1: at the border, you may encounter a tout who offers to help you settle your visa application. He is not official and will charge you a fee simply for passing your documents to the office which you will have to do anyway. If you have booked a bus/transport package, someone on the bus may offer to do the same thing for you.
- Version 2: the same tout may also lie about certain things, such as by claiming that a road is closed, etc. He will then offer you a bus, which he claims is a VIP, luxury or a faster bus. You will be made to pay a higher fee, but most likely for a run-down and cramped bus.
- Version 3: you may be asked to pay an additional fee (i.e. bribe money) for your visa or even for the entry stamp.
Places to beware:
- Nong Nok Khiene
What to do:
- Avoid handing your passport out, especially to someone who you aren’t sure is official or not.
- There is not much you can do if bribe money is demanded from you. You can insist not to pay but when push comes to shove, the good thing is that you don’t lose much.
- However, be wary if offered tour or transport packages as you can easily pay through the nose for something that is not worth it.