How to get from 4,000 Islands (Don Det) to Siem Reap, Cambodia

 4,000 Islands (Don Det) to Cambodia

In looking for ways to get from the 4,000 islands of Laos to the Cambodian border, there were seemingly two options. Each entailed taking the local ferry from the island to Nakasong, the mainland, followed by a bus or mini van to the border of Cambodia and Laos, then another bus to SIem Reap.  There are two agencies providing transport to the Cambodia border that I had found. One was Green Paradise with ticket booths located on the island and open from 9am until 11pm. The other was with AVT (Asia Van Transport). I read reviews of each and decided on AVT. There were no ticket booths to buy from, rather, you go on their website, and send them an email inquiry on availability and cost. I sent the email at 10pm and received a response an hour later. The email response is very detailed and gives you all the info you need from how to get to the ferry, where to get the ticket, where to catch the van, and how to transfer at the border. They also included info on how to avoid common border crossing scams and what buildings to avoid in order to not be charged for unnecessary things. By purchasing through AVT, a ferry ticket is need to get off of Don Det and onto mainland (Nakasang) to board the bus to the border. You could either purchase the ferry ticket at the ferry pick up point on the island, go through one of the travel/tour stands, or book a combo ticket for the ferry and the bus ride. I opted to walk to the ferry ticket office in town (Green Paradise) and buy the ferry ticket the night before (for the 8am ferry the next day). It was just easier/less hassle (though in reality it would not have been difficult to buy the morning of as they operate as many ferrys back to the mainland as needed based on the line of people waiting). 

I boarded the ferry at 8am and got to Nakasang shortly after. 
From there, I walked to the right on the gravel road, then took my first Left, which is the main drag through town. I walked up the street for 1/2 mile or so until I came to a dirt parking lot on the left side of the road, the entrance to the lot is just after 2 ATM's also located on the left side. There is a market on the right side of the road across from the parking lot. There are picnic tables in the shade to wait for the minivan which was scheduled to arrive at 9:30 to take us from Nakasang to th
e Laos Cambodia border, a mere 30 minute ride. Once there, the bus dropped us off and we walked to the first building on the right, just ahead of where we were dropped off. Here is where I paid $2 to exit Laos and where I received my departure card. From here, I continued to walk to the next building, a little farther walk (1/4 mile maybe) in the blazing heat and sun. Here I stopped at the 'health scan' booth - a glass booth in the middle of the roadways, where they simply handed me a yellow piece of paper - no health questions asked. From there, I filled out my departure card and walked into the building on the far left, where I paid $35 Visa entry fee to Cambodia.

 They take your passport while you are being fingerprinted, and give it back at the very next window. By now, its 11:30/12:00pm and you walk another short distance, hand off your passport one more time for a quick check at a booth next to a toll looking gate, and then you walk through the gate and are in Cambodia. 

It sounds confusing - however, you cannot make a wrong turn as there is literally nothing else in the area. There is a dirt road between all of the buildings and that is it. Signage is minimal and poor at best, but there are usually crowds of people going through at the same time - just keep walking until you see the red and white crossbar with a little hut on the right side - as this is technically Cambodia. Once across the border, there will be a few little shops and mini marts just to your right. AVT van picks up people at the shop located the 2nd from the left. 
There is a little AVT sign - I just asked someone "AVT?" and was pointed to the right shop. There, we waited 20 minutes and were corralled into a mini van with more people and luggage than space.
 But it was a short ride (45 mins) to the next stop where we would once again switch vans after having 1.5 hours to grab lunch and walk around the area. 

We arrived at Siem Reap around 7pm and are greeted by AVT staff who then shuffle us into tuk tuks to our hotel(s). The Tuk Tuk was included in the ticket price. 

Here is the email I received after emailing AVT about a ride the next day:

Hello , thanks for writing to AVT you can travel with us  to Siem Reap from the Laos border, so we have two options.

1)     If  you are in Don Det or Don Khone - 4000 islands and  want to travel with us you must come to the border by yourself. And we will explain you step by step on next email so is very easy to go from the islands to the border just a 20kms distance. 
 And our price is 20$ per passenger starting from the border to siem reap.( stop for lunch time at Stung Treng)

2)  Go to Green Paradise Travel in Don Det or Don Khone and book ticket just to the border, and then you book with us from border to Siem Reap, and you also have another option which is to buy all the way to Siem Reap ( but sometimes this option is not available ),  

With any option you will meet our man of AVT at the border and will board our van at the border, and our van departs from border at 11.30am and we will bring you to stung treng and then at 2 pm from stung treng to siem will arrive to central siem reap .to our agency at 7 pm in our agency which is in central siem reap  5 minutes walking to old market and pub street area, and we will give you a free delivery to the guesthouse or hotel you want to go inside the city limits.
And to book on the internet with us we need to kn ow the day you want to travel with us....names of passengers...  and we will send you instructions for the border. And voucher reservation right away. 
And  the payment of ticket will done with our man of AVT at border in cash khmer riel, laos kip and us dollar..
 Kind Regards...AVT

And another email confirming:
Hello , here you have the instruction of to meet us at the border, for payment you have to pay with our man at the border which is Mr, cash.

So from don det or don khone you have to take a boat at 8.00am to Nakasang first and then find a bus to border or you can go to buy the boat +bus ticket on don det to border with our partner agency which is call Green paradise tour and travel . 

Once you are at the border around 10:30am you will meet Mr.Hout...which is our man at the border from AVT and he will waiting for you and  he will bring you first from the border at 11:30am to Stung Treng to our agency there which is the Riverside Guesthouse..and then after to siem reap..arriving siem reap at 7pm to our agency in central siem reap and just 5 minutes walking from old market area...and we will give you a free delivery to the guesthouse or hotel that you want to go. 
After you do the Health checkpoint, turn left enter the building and process your visa and
then do the stamping. and then you will exit the immigration police building, and walk
to find our man of AVT, Mr. Hout that will be waiting for you.

This is Mr. hout our AVT man at the border..he will meet you when you are at the border..
here goes image of Mr.Hout and his bar...Pictures were included/attached

579 Hup Quan Street,Mondul 1 Village,
Sangkat Svay Dongkum
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Phones: (+855) 063963853 | 012505673 | 0718443566