During the 2019 year-end, I took a road trip with my family from Phnom Penh to Champasak province, Laos by driving our own cars. We used Highlander Hybrid Limited 2008 and a Camry Hybrid 2010. So, don’t worry if you have a sedan. The road is fine for a small car.
So, on December 28, 2019, I was busy all morning and I left Phnom Penh at 3:00 PM. I spent a night in Kampong Cham province. You don’t have to sleep there if you happen to leave Phnom Penh early in the morning.
As a side note, we slept at LBN Asian Hotel. The room was and the mezzanine view was amazing. All for USD25 per night. Pictures of the room below.
Okay, keep it short and less personal.
The next morning, I drove from Kampong Cham to Steung Treng province and that is where I crossed to Laos.
Expenses for crossing the border
- USD 10 for custom as a temporary car export exemption in Cambodia side
- The immigration officer asked for KHR 10,000 (USD 2.5) per adult, and free for kids (Illegal. It’s supposed to be free, but I did not press hard. Just paid and left)
- 50000 Kib (USD 12.5) for custom in Laos
- KHR 25,000 (USD 6.25) car insurance in Laos
- Immigration in Laos charges KHR 10,000 (USD 2.5) per adult, no charge for kid (Yes, need to bribe both sides)
- On your way back to Cambodia, you only pay to the immigration officer of Laos, while the Cambodian side did not ask for money again.
4 Places to Visit in Champasak, Laos
It was a long day driving even though we slept one night in Kampong Cham. We crossed the border at around 5:00 PM and there was still around 120 KM more to drive.
That night we arrived the hotel at 9:00 PM. 🙂
We spent the first night in Champasak city and we slept in Nakhone Champa Hotel. This is a decent place, clean and right on the main road. More importantly, it cost around USD25-USD30 per night, depending on the room type you choose. I recommend if you happen to visit Champasak province, Laos.
#1 Pakse New Market
It is a must to visit the local market in the province. We had breakfast there to check out how people there live. And you know what, it’s just right behind the hotel. So, you can simply leave your car at the hotel and walk to the market.
This should take you around 30 minutes to 1 hour. You can go to a few more places in the same day.
#2 Wat Phusalao
The pagoda is located on the top of the mountain and it was the second place that I went after going to the market because it’s only 7.7 KM from the city. When you go to this mountain top, you will drive through a Japan Laos friendship bridge. It looks very nice from the top to the city. And it was free to visit.
#3 Wat Phu
Wat Phu was a little far from the city. In order to access the road to Wat Phu, we will need to pay a tollway. It was about 40 Kilometers something from the city. So, we saved it for third place to go. The ticket fee was 50,000 Kip (equivalent to about USD 6.25) per adult.
The ticket includes free shuttle from the entrance to the gate of Wat Phu. It saves us time and sweat from walking.
The temple looks so nice and it would be cool to come in winter.
But hey, you will also need to know that you have an option to go to Cambodia Lao border directly without going back to Pakse city, but you will need to take your car on a ferry and then you will be on the right way back to Steung Treng.
However, I did not take the ferry and I drove my car back to Pakse city and used the same road that I took a day before.
My family also had lunch at a shops near the entrance of Wat Phu
#4 Khone Phapheng Waterfalls
I saved this place last because it is so close to the border. I could just visit the waterfall and back to the border. I am not going to say much about the waterfall because the view is so nice and thus, I embed a lot of photos for you to see.
And that was the end of my trip! It was my first time to drive into another country! and I am going to do many more!