How to Cross the Border from China to Vietnam

vietnam china border crossing

If you are considering traveling to Vietnam through China, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. One of the most important aspects to consider is having a valid Vietnam eVisa to enter the country. The electronic visa for Vietnam is a requirement to visit the country for tourism purposes and it grants its holder a stay of up to 30 days.

Besides applying online for your eVisa for Vietnam, make sure you have a valid passport.

Entering Vietnam by crossing the Chinese border

Going into Vietnam by the Chinese border is not a common way to travel to the country. However, it is not difficult to cross the border between China and Vietnam. There are three main border crossings you can look into:

  • Mong Cai – Dong Hung
  • Dong Dang – Ping Xian
  • Lao Cai – Hekou.


All three border crossings are situated in the northeast region of Vietnam. You can get to Mong Cai from Quang Ninh Province or from Halong City. One of the fastest ways to enter Vietnam is the Lao Cai – Hekou border.

Crossing the border from China to Vietnam could depend on where do you wish to go first when arriving in Vietnam. Coming from China through Don Dang border gate is a good option if you wish to get to Hanoi as there are several buses or trains available.

How to Get to Hekou and Reach Lao Cai

We’re going to share some information about the border crossing of Hekou in China and Lao Cai in Vietnam. To get to Hekou you can travel by bus or train, the latter being faster and cheaper. When traveling by train you will be able to admire some of the countryside. Note that you will need to go through several security checks before boarding the train.

Upon arrival in Hekou be sure to avoid the taxis and search for green buses that will take you straight to the border. When you arrive at the border, you will need to enter a building that has an “Exit” sign above a door. Bring the immigration ticket you completed when you entered China. Bear in mind that at this point you should have met the Vietnam online Visa requirements and applied for one before your trip. Your eVisa for Vietnam grants you a stay of up to 30 days.

After you have passed all the security checks in China, you will be allowed to cross the bridge that separates China from Vietnam. After walking a few hundred meters you will need to go through a check by the Vietnamese authorities.

Once your documents and Vietnam eVisa have been checked, you can continue your trip. There are minivans that can take you to Sapa or, if you prefer to head to Hanoi you can do so by train.

If you are planning a trip through the countries of the area, you may also be interested in the posts about crossing the border Laos – Vietnam or crossing the border Cambodia – Vietnam

A Little Bit of History of the China-Vietnam Border

The land border measures about 1,281 kilometers and it begins at the Tripoint with Laos and goes to the Gulf of Tonkin. There have been territorial disputes over the Spratly and Paracel Islands leaving maritime borders between the two countries undefined.

The border between China and Vietnam was established in the Treaty of Tientsin, signed in 1885 when the Sino-French War came to an end. During the Chinese Civil War, China used the border near Vietnam as a refueling station. The Chinese also provided aid to the Vietnamese who were fighting the French during the First Indochina War.