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Photo by Sampor Burke, Mekong Semester.

Visa & Currency Info (Please Read!)

Hello Mekong travelers!

We—your instructors—are currently together in Bangkok, Thailand, preparing for our course, drinking tea on the floor (see attached photo), and eagerly awaiting meeting you all in Phnom Penh! We hope you are getting excited for our upcoming travels, and packing, prepping, and goal-setting for the adventure that awaits.

A few more packing notes related to visas & currency.

We will get our visas on arrival in both Laos and Cambodia; for these visas, you’ll need passport photos as well as USD cash.

As you pack, please be sure to bring along:

  • 4-6 passport photos – don’t worry too much about specifications (background color, smiling or not, size, etc.) as none of these countries are terribly strict.
  • Around $200 USD cash
    • You will pay for your Cambodia and Laos Tourist Visas on Arrival in USD cash (the total will come to about $100 USD).
    • You will need to apply/pay for your Cambodia Tourist Visa On Arrival yourselves when you land in Phnom Penh on the 9th. You will fill out the immigration form at the airport and follow the signs to submit and pay for your visa.
    • In addition, most students bring around $100-150 USD for personal spending money (like souvenirs).
    • FYI – Cambodia and Laos accepts USD as a form of currency, so you may plan to bring USD for your personal spending for the first ~2 months. Small, clean notes ($10, $20, $50s) are easier to use than big $100 bills.
    • Note: USDs are fairly easy to exchange in most places we will travel.
  • An ATM card (in case of emergencies or if you simply want to withdraw more personal spending money).
    • Visa and MasterCard (not AMEX) are widely used in the countries we will travel to and you will have access to international ATMs when we are in cities.
    • You may be charged withdrawal fees; please check with your bank in advance and be sure to set a travel notice if you plan to use your card to withdraw from abroad.
  • Reminder: don’t forget to pack your student ID! It may be helpful to get us discounted rates in some of the places we visit.

If any questions come up, please don’t hesitate to post them on the Yak board and we will respond promptly here.

Finally—please don’t forget to post an introduction! We can’t wait to hear more about each of you, and what has inspired you to join us on the Mekong River this spring.

Happy packing to all & see you in a week!

Your instructor team: Jeff, Guy, and Madeleine.