The Overland Guides:
Bangkok - Siem Reap by way of Poipet
Bangkok - Phnom Penh + Sihanoukville by way of Koh Kong
/ Battambang (Phsa Prom and Daun
(down the Mekong to Stung Treng and vice versa)
restaurants, tours and more
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MAY 3, 2009
Complete details inside the Bangkok - Siem Reap section.
Scam at Poipet! Tourists, especially those coming on the Khao San Road buses are being told they must change as much as $100 US into riel and are being given only 3400 riel to the dollar (the corrrect exchange rate is about 4000). This is a complete scam. There is no law that says you have to change any money on arrival in Cambodia (or in Sisophon) and certainly not at a rate that scams you for about $15. Whatever you might need to change you can do in Siem Reap at any number of locations at correct rates.
Thailand/Cambodia border hours extend to 8 pm. However, I do not recommend using the Poipet / Aranyaprathet border crossing much beyond 5:00 pm as I do not consider Poipet a safe place to be after dark and onward transportation could be a problem at that hour.
There are a total of six international checkpoints between Cambodia and Thailand:
1.) Aranyaprathet/Poipet which is the main checkpoint between the two countries and generally the one to use if going to Siem Reap from Bangkok and with improved roads in Cambodia is also suitable for Phnom Penh and really, any destination in Cambodia except the south coast. This border offers the most onward transportation options in both Thailand and Cambodia. This is also the busiest, most chaotic crossing.
2.) Hat Lek/Koh Kong a.k.a. Cham Yeam, is the southernmost crossing and best used for Sihanoukville and a more scenic route to Phnom Penh. While border guards tend to play games at all border crossings this is the place where, historically, you are most likely to be scammed for the highest visa and stamp fees.
3.) Chong Jom (Surin province)/O'Smach crossing, north of Siem Reap, west of Anlong Veng, useful for travel to/from Vientiane in Laos or Thailand's Isaan region.
4.) Chong Sa-ngam (Si Saket province)/Anlong Veng, also north of Siem Reap and useful for travel to/from Vientiane in Laos or Thailand's Isaan region.
5.) Ban Pakard (Chantaburi province)/Phsa Prom Pailin is on Cambodia's west side south of Poipet, north of Koh Kong and is a convenient entry point for travel to Battambang and also for travel from Thailand's east coast beaches such as Pattaya to anywhere in Cambodia. Connects with Chantaburi province (Pongnamron district), Thailand.
6.) Ban Laem/Daun Lem Border (Kamreang district of Battambang province) is also on Cambodia's west side south of Poipet, north of Koh Kong and is equally convenient as Ban Pakard/Pailin as it is just to the north of it. Also connects with Chantaburi province (Pongnamron district), Thailand.
Visas are available on arrival at all of these new points as well as at checkpoints from Vietnam.
Any first-hand reports of the crossings? Send them here.
This peaceful, serene image was taken on March 16, 2003 at the Poipet border crossing when the border was temporarily closed to Thais and Cambodians. At no time was the border ever closed to foreigners.
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