After a few days in Phong Nha, I continue my journey through the rest of Vietnam. Time is running short if I want to follow up on my plan to loop the Tonkinese Alps in the northwestern part of the country. Early in the morning, I am tying my backpack down on the motorbike rack and drive as far as I possibly can; 450 kilometres of dirt roads in 11 hours of heat. Definitely the longest stretch I have been driving in one single day on my journey so far. Occasionally, I stop for a quick Vietnamese coffee and a delicious Vietnamese Bánh Mì. About 100 kilometres before Cam Thuy, I cannot resists to stop and watch the sun setting between towering limestone karsts surrounded by green fields.
Crossing into Cambodia from Nong Nok Khiene to Trapeang Kriel is an adventure itself. It all starts at the bus station in Don Det. A well dressed man from the bus company offers you help with immigration, handing out the required papers and asks you to give him your passport and the visa fee of $40. $10 more than the fee according to the German Department of Foreign Affairs. Questioning the extra costs, the $10 are broken down as follows: $30 visa fee, $2 stamp fee in Laos, $3 medical check, and $5 stamp fee in Cambodia. Unlike most other travellers, I am not handing out my passport. After a short discussion making the point that the bus is not waiting for me at the border, he wanders away with about 50 passports under his arm.