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Crazy border from Thailand to Cambodia

Getting from Thailand to Cambodia (Siem Reap) to see Angkor Wat.

The Thailand – Cambodia border crossing from Aranyaprathet to Poipet is totally crazy. It is the most used crossing to get from Bangkok to Siem Reap to see Angkor Wat. Usually a border crossing should not be worth mentioning for more than practical reasons. It should be a place to cross and then continue onwards to your destination.  I believe the border crossing from Aranyaprathet-Poipet is so crazy that I need to write it for you to hear.

Getting to the border

My day started at 6am leaving from a place in Thailand called Muak Lek. I have some relatives living there and they had helped organize for me that their gardener would take me to the border crossing. So far so good. I prepared my self for the ride with some bread and diet cokes. I made a deal with the gardener so I gave him 500 Bht plus gas for his car. So I ended paying around 2000 bht for the ride in total since I also had to pay for his way back. On the ride I was trying to communicate with him but he did not speak English at all so we could only do sign language. Imagine how I showed him I needed to buy something or use the bathroom.

At the Aranyaprathet to Poipet border crossing to go from Thailand to Cambodia to visit Angkor Wat

At the Aranyaprathet to Poipet border crossing to go from Thailand to Cambodia to visit Angkor Wat

Crossing the border

When we came to the border the craziness started. I went outside the car not exactly sure where to go so I was looking around with a clear sign on my face saying “This guy has no clue where he is or where he is going”.  I should never have done that. Immediately I was surrounded  by 6 Thai’s and Cambodians who all wanted to help me cross the border.

  • One wanted to carry my luggage.
  • Another had a wooden trolley.
  • A third wanted to get the fast track visa for me.
  • Another just consult me because getting a visa was so difficult he said. Without his help I would never be able to cross.

I was completely confused but I am happy I was holding tight to all my things. Otherwise I am not sure what I would have lost in the process and all the confusion.

I started to walk towards the border with a tale of people running after me. At this point I was still not exactly sure if I was walking in the right directions. I could see hotel and casino buildings. I new there would hotel casinos on the Thailand Cambodia border here so I figured I was in the right place. My backpacks where sitting on me sandwich style and I was holding very tightly on to the backpack in which I had my money and valuables. I was fascinated looking at these special wooden trolleys I had never seen before they used for transportation. They reminded me of what I had seen in history books and old movies.

A bit further down I came to the border. On the left hand side was the houses for people crossing into Thailand and on the right hand side a bit more primitive houses for the ones crossing into Cambodia. A last trick I experienced by the tale of people still walking after me was that one guy said he had a desk which was the official one to apply for a VISA. I did not trust him so I continued walking. Obviously unsure if he was telling the truth or not. Then a bit further down came a smaller building with signs and people in uniforms so I decided this was the proper one.

I walked on the road at the Aranyaprathet - poipet border and arrived to the immigration building.

I walked on the road at the Aranyaprathet – poipet border and arrived to the immigration building.

Let me say that I did not need anyone to help me at all. It was all untrue. At the Cambodian border they gave me the papers to fill out and you handle them in directly to the relevant people. It is a three step process:

  • First you get papers for visa application and fill them out. Remember to bring a pen
  • Then you hand them in and pay the fee which last time I was there ran to 20 usd plus 3 usd or 100 thai baht
  • Last step you collect your passport and visa is inside your passport

When I should pay the 20 usd there was no sign talking about the 100 thai baht. I learned lesson about not showing money because the police man looked into my wallet. I asked him “how much” and he answered 20 usd. Then when I opened my wallet he said “…….. and 100 thai baht”. It made me feel like these 100 thai baht was for his own pocket.

Going to Siem Reap

When I had crossed the border I was again met by a group of people offering me hotels, transportation and more. There is a free shuttle bus to the transportation hub for taxi’s and buses. I wanted to take this one in order to grab a bus going to Siem Reap. I wanted to visit the ruins of Angkor Wat.

I had a guy stalking me all the way to the bus station. He presented him self to me as a tourist guide and he pretended wanting to help me. He was very dirty and I had a feeling he could not be trusted. When I came to the shuttle bus to the bus station he even jumped into this shuttle bus and left with me. He kept pretending to be a tourist guide.  When we came to the bus station he ran over to the ticket counter and tried to convince me to take a taxi instead because the bus would not leave for hours. I did not feel comfortable. I felt he was a stalker I did not know how to get rid off. It was true the bus would not leave for hours so I initiated a conversation with two Chinese girls and offered them if they would pay half the price for taxi I would pay the other half my self. I wanted them to come with me to be more safe.

Now my fake tourist guide started to want a tip. I said “tip for what?”. And he insisted he had offered me a service. I denied. The taxi came to a parking lot and we where inside. My aggressive “friend” now jumped into the drivers seat of the taxi and sat there for 2 minutes. His style was so intimidating. One of the Chinese girls asked who he was and he answered he would be our driver. Now I suddenly regretted not giving him a tip thinking he would be our driver but it was too late so I did not react to his comment. I made a right choice because even this was a lie. 1 minute later the real taxi driver came. To this day I still believe he did that to collect money from me and he probably even asked the real taxi driver to wait because we waited for the taxi to leave for so long.

The bus would leave also and cost a few dollars for 2 hours transport. I booked a taxi instead and it cost me 30 usd that I shared with the 2 Chinese girls and it took about 1.5 hours.

2 Comments
  1. do not trust border police at poipett.capt Dean think his name was,love to bump into him in aust ,crook takes bribes scary man hope karma gets him

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