Don Det, one of the 4000 Islands of Laos, is an easy starting point for your trip to Cambodia. The distance from Don Det to the Lao-Cambodian border is about 10 km. The rest of the route to Siem Reap of about 390 km runs completely over Cambodia. The road has been fully paved recently and the whole journey is relatively smooth. It normally takes slightly longer to travel from Don Det to Siem Reap than vice versa – up to 11 hours – due to a longer stop in Stung Treng.
Exiting Laos and entering Cambodia
When you arrive at the border, you need to get stamped out of Laos. You’ll have to pay USD2 for the stamp and get stamped out of Laos. Walk on through from Laos to Cambodia. You'll walk through two barriers and at the second barrier find a guy who’ll inform you that you require a health check. This is a SCAM. Continue on and locate the counter that will handle the visa for you, hand in your duly filled forms and pay USD35 for the tourist visa if you have not secured your Cambodian visa beforehand.
After you hand over your passport and arrival documents at the barrier, you are officially in Cambodia. If you travel by AVT vans, walk over to the Asia Van Transfer sign and wait for your transport to Siem Reap.
Buses from Don Det to Siem Reap by bus
There are no commercial buses that can get you directly from Don Det to Siem Reap, so you’ll have to settle for a minivan instead or tailor-make your trip by yourself.
Take a ferry to Nakasong bus station and pay USD5 for a ticket from there to the border. Cross the border as described above and take a bus to Stung Treng (USD10). From Stung Treng there are buses heading to Kampong Cham where you can catch another big bus to Siem Reap.
Minivans from Don Det to Siem Reap
Minivans are the primary direct mode of transport for the Don Det–Siem Reap route and in particular Asia Van Transfer vans. The company offers 12-passenger, air-conditioned vans that depart the Laos/Cambodia border at 8.00am and arrive in Siem Reap 10 hours and 45 minutes later. Tickets for this trip cost USD25.
It is, however, crucial to note the following:
AVT vans depart from close to the ferry pier and Ning Restaurant and not from the Nakasong bus station which does not allow Asian Van Transfer to sell their tickets in Don Det.
You can also get to the Laos/Cambodia border and cross over to Cambodia all by yourself to later catch a van to Siem Reap from Stung Treng. You will need to change the van in Stung Treng even if you buy your direct ticket from Don Det to Siem Reap.