It is just to inform people of the recurrent scams happening at the border crossing. My boyfriend and I left from Siem Reap (Cambodia) to go to Don Det island (Laos). We booked a 8h mini van journey. There were 5 of us in the bus. 2 Chinese sisters, 1 Swiss guy, my UK boyfriend and myself (French). Everything went fine until we reached the border. At the beginning we just got off the van and headed towards the Cambodia counter. We knew we could get a visa on arrival and that they usually charge extra "processing fees" of a few dollars. But anyway we went to the counter. And this Cambodian guy rocked up out of no where, telling us to give all our passports to the person behind the desk, which we did. But then, he barked at us, telling to give 2 USD for the stamp to get out of Cambodia. He literally said:"give the money! Hurry up!" I did not understand the urgency given that we were the only people in the building. But we all paid. Returning to the van outside, the same little angry guy came to us again and asked for all our passports again as well as our bus tickets and 38 USD for the visa. We found it quite suspicious and asked him to explain why the bus tickets and why 38$ and more importantly who He was. He then completely flipped and gave everything back to us because we were (Aand I quote him) "talking too much and asking too many questions". At that moment we knew for sure it was a massive scam. We then headed to the Laos building by ourselves, found the exact price we had to pay (different depending on your nationality). I only had to pay 30 USD and the Chinese girls 20 USD. But once again they asked for 2 USD for the stamp. 3 of us paid but the Chinese girls refused. Then the angry Cambodian guy arrived again and started shouting at them to make them pay. He was threatening them to either pay or not get back on the bus. Meanwhile, someone was already taking their suitcases out of the bus which I found completely crazy. Then we got told to get back in the van. One of the sister was sitting in already and 2 men tried to take her out but she fought back and stayed. Then out of the blue, our minivan driver started the engine and drove off. Only one Chinese girl was in the bus, the other one was still arguing at the desk. But the van left. I was so chocked!! We asked the driver to stop but he didn't. He took us a good 2 or 3 min with repeated shout at the driver for him to finally stop. The Chinese sister (who could barely speak english) was totally panicked and chocked too. I asked if we could turn around to get the other sister but the driver refused. I said it wasn't right to leave someone behind! He replied that they didn't pay so they can't get on the bus. We had a aggressive discussion and I had to explain to the Chinese girl to walk back to the building and get back with her sister. There was nothing else we could do to help and I felt extremely bad and angry.
A day later we met the 2 sisters again randomly on Don Det island. She explained to me that they didn't pay the extra fees for the stamp and that she got given her passport back as soon as the van left. Which shows how much of a big scam the whole thing is.
It is crazy to be thrown into such a situation for the sake of a couple of dollars.
If you want a smooth border crossing, just pay, but be aware that you encourage scams and corruption. If you don't pay, good on you! But be ready to get in troubles...
Seams like there is no good solution here. It disgusts me!!!!