After leaving Don Det and the 4000 islands in Laos we wanted to head to Siem Reap, Cambodia. We hopped on a bus and headed for the Dom Kralor border crossing. The corruption on the border is far worse than expected. We expected to pay US$20 for the Cambodia visa with a "processing fee" of US$1-2. This is WAY off!
We arrived at the Laos border and were requested to pay US$2 per passport to stamp out. A little more than we would have liked to pay for the bribe but there wasn't much choice (although we did short change the guy and gave about US$3 for both of our passports).
We then enter Cambodia and are required to pass through a health inspection. To get our passports back we had to pay US$1 per passport. Again, we cheated and I slipped the guy only US$1 for both passports and walked away quickly.
Next to get our visa. Again, it is known that the Cambodian visa costs only US$20. On this border crossing they wanted US$23 per visa. We were a large group of people and we started to argue the price difference. The border officials then started bargaining with us and offered US$22! We laughed at them and the price was immediately raised back to US$23.
A few of us decided to stand our ground and pay only the official price. We were just ignored! In the end we had to cave-in and pay their "special" price. Gadi and I got away with paying US$45 for both passports so we saved an additional dollar. A small defeat.
You'd think that it was all over, but no. Once we got the visa we stood in another line-up to get the visa stamped. Guess what? They wanted another US$1 per passport! At this point I said I had no more money left. I whipped out my wallet and showed them the empty folds. They agreed to do it for free for me. Another small defeat and another US$2 saved.
After the whole ordeal we boarded the bus again. We looked out the window at the health inspector just in time to catch him pocketing the cash. It is just infuriating!
In the end, the visa which should cost only US$20 turned out to cost much more. If you payed all the requested bribes the Cambodian visa costs US$27! Be prepared to have extra cash and it is best to bring US dollar bills.
I wish you all the strength and patience!