Border Crossing Report: Thailand to Cambodia on a Thai CB500X

Discussion in 'Asia' started by PegasusWorldADV, Oct 2, 2017.

  1. PegasusWorldADV

    PegasusWorldADV n00b

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2017
    Oddometer:
    3
    Hello all,

    Had a very simple crossing from Chong Chom (Thailand) to O'Smach (Cambodia) on my Thai registered CB500 on the 30/09/17.

    I am a UK citizen on a British passport with an existing Thai work visa that allows multiple entries back into Thailand. New visas may not be obtained on the way back into Thailand but I wouldn't know either way for sure.

    All I needed before the border was my Passport and the motorcycle's Green Book (Thai vehicle registration document - in my own name). I'd also recommend an empty bladder and a full tank of fuel because there aren't many toilets or fuel stops in the immediate vicinity of the border, but the whole experience only took about 2 hours for me.

    The process can be summarised as follows:
    -Approach border post, park motorcycle.
    -Stamp out of Thailand immigration (office on the left hand side as you face the checkpoint)
    -Obtain vehicle document on the other side of the same building.
    -Cross the road, use that document to obtain a 30 day temporary export certificate. They said they wanted me back in Thailand with the bike in 30 days or less and wanted me to cross at the same checkpoint.
    -------That's the Thailand part done, nothing to pay so far----------
    -Ride the bike 100m through the checkpoint and park next to Cambodia immigration building.
    -Switching sides of the road to the right hand side now (!), I bought a 30 day single entry visa for 1400THB inc photograph. Filled in some paperwork, 15 mins sat in the office.
    -With a visa in the passport, I moved 10m along to a window in the same building and got the visa stamped in, fingers scanned.
    -Last thing to do was ride 200m down the road into Cambodia, there's roadside stores selling the usual crap, on the right hand side there's a small standalone office where you have the motorbike signed into Cambodia. It's exactly the same as signing into a meeting room - one line on a ledger. Nothing to pay, no paperwork to receive. There's a blank space left for your signature on the way back through. Not sure what happens if you were not planning to exit at the same border. I personally wouldn't be worried.
    -----That's the Cambodia side done, from there I rode away with everything done in 2 hours------
    #1
    markinthailand likes this.
  2. Farang Paul

    Farang Paul A Late Convert

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2013
    Oddometer:
    128
    Location:
    Krabi, Thailand
    What about insurance for Cambodia?
    Unlikely your Thai insurance covers you adequately in Cambodia.
    Did you obtain an IDP? Or did you use your Thai licence?
    #2
  3. PegasusWorldADV

    PegasusWorldADV n00b

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2017
    Oddometer:
    3
    Insurance wasn't asked for (or provided), or required. If the worst happens there - I'm on the hook/self insured, and I'm personally comfortable with that, but that's me, others will differ. Sorry I can't offer more info there.

    As far as the IDP - I do have one obtained from the UK on a recent trip for £5.50, and answers all questions regarding licences in dealing with police - though I'm as far as Vietnam now and haven't been to much as stopped (so far). IDP wasn't asked for on the Thai/Cam border.
    #3
  4. steveh2112

    steveh2112 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2017
    Oddometer:
    145
    Location:
    Phuket, Thailand and LA, CA
    i did the same route in a car a couple of years ago, i was really surprised how little there was going in once you cross the border into cambo. in thailand its hard to go anywhere for more than 20km without hitting a village, a traffic light or a 7/11, in cambo its just mile after mile of rice paddy and no people, weird.
    #4
  5. gavo

    gavo Slacker

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,676
    Location:
    Gympie QLD
    Well they did significantly reduce the population mid to late 70's unlike Thailand thats been relatively peaceful.
    But there are the quiet spots in Thailand off the beaten track.
    #5
  6. Homebrewer

    Homebrewer Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    136
    Location:
    Thailand
    I am very glad to hear you made it through with ease. I had a much worse experience with my crossing, and was refused permission to ride further into Cambodia other than within the city limits of the border town of Poipet.

    I had the exact same procedure as you, except for one critical document that was required, that was too difficult to get. It would have allowed me to ride throughout all areas of Cambodia.

    I was on my own Thai registered Versys 650, with my Thai drivers licence. I had all the originals and had made 2 copies of everything: passport, Thai licence, Thai insurance, Thai Por Ra Bor, Thai registration, Thai Road tax, my Thai visa, departure card, bike green book along with the english translation from the transport office, and even more that was not needed.

    Firstly, I made the mistake of choosing the busy Aranyaprathet/Poipet crossing. I have heard now, that is not the place to ride a bike across into Cambodia. Many touts and scoundrels, and beggars to watch out for going through. Kept all the zippers closed, lids locked, stuff secured, the documents together in hand, and watched for any distractions.

    Secondly, the date was bad. It was February 26, 2017, just a couple days before Thailand started restricting other foreign vehicles to enter Thailand. There might have been a tit for tat reaction at that time by Cambodia for Thai registered vehicles, I don't know. I had a buddy with me on pillion, which was a good thing as we could take turns watching the bike and the gear as we stood guard while the other ran inside to do his paperwork at each step. There were so many 'helpers' trying to assist, but I refused. They all said we would never be able to get permission to ride our motorcycle around in Cambodia. I didn't believe them.

    After the Thai 30 day export papers were completed, I luckily noticed they made a mistake, and they had put the original owner's name on it instead of mine from my green book, otherwise I would have had trouble reentering Thailand again. The papers were redone properly, then I continued forward to the last Thai customs que where the touts were trying to extract 500 baht cash from me to give to the border officers in order to allow me through. I stood my ground and refused telling everyone that I know there is no fee to leave Thailand. More delays, and I'm standing at the front of the line blocking the others as I waited for them to do their job. One of them saw I had my GoPro running, and insisted I turn it off and delete the file. I said I can't delete it, it is streaming everything to the internet live on YouTube. That freaked some of them out. The supervisor came and gruffly insisted on copies of entirely everything, which I luckily had made 2 sets before I left and still had a handful. I said here you are, everything is there and threw them the papers. They shuffled through slowly, took a few out, stapled it, and they finally stamped me out and let me proceed to the Cambodian side, 30 minutes later with all kinds of lame made up excuses.

    My passport was checked, signed an entry card, fingerprints and photo taken, then went to park in front of the visa office to get the visa. More attempts were made there to get extra tea money, but I pointed to the visa sign with the prices, and I had the exact change in US$. You won't get change back if you don't have exact change. Got my visa for the price shown, used up 2 valuable pages of my passport, and was ordered I now needed to get the bike imported into Cambodia, but the office was now closed. They called the guy, and I was ordered to stay in town and wait until it opened in the morning. So, they all knew who we were, had all our info, and we were driving a very conspicuous bike. Perhaps we should have drove on at that point, like most others would have done, but I have heard of other people eventually running into serious trouble with the police caught without permission to ride through all provinces of the country. I recall one guy was stuck for a week by the senior police in one area of Cambodia, and cost him around $1000 US in the end. So we got a hotel, parked it securely inside the lobby beside the front desk, and walked around town. We got food, a Cambodian SIM card with data, and a couple beers, and went to bed.

    The next morning, we immediately went to the office to import the vehicle, and were refused permission to drive further into Cambodia. The main guy in charge there said I needed to bus it to Phnom Penh to some government building, and apply in person with my green book, and all the documents, it takes a couple days, the fees are not cheap, and I would have to leave my bike in the shady bordertown of Poipet while I was gone, where there is no secure storage. Once I got the papers, I could return to Poipet and the officer would stamp my bike in. At this point, I knew they had me by the nuts, so I gave in and asked him how much it would be to pay him now so I could proceed. No, nothing would have allowed me to get this document otherwise on the spot. In the end, I was allowed to drive around the shanty casino border town of Poipet, but nowhere else in the country, otherwise I risked losing my bike otherwise. We drove around town for the rest of the morning, considered our options, researched the internet, talked to Thai border consultants, and without any other options, in the end decided to return home to Jomtien Thailand that afternoon. The reverse procedure entering Thailand was painless.

    That whole brutal crossing experience ruined my desire to ride into Cambodia for me for the time being. Was I refused entry in the end because I didn't pay any bribes to those officials before them in the process and they told the last guy to deny me? I will never know. Poipet was a sh##hole anyway, and I thought there are many other places to go that would welcome tourists, so I'll go somewhere else like Laos, or Malaysia on my next out of country tour. I hope crossings will get easier there, as I would like to ride to the out of the way temples, Tonle Sap, Angor Wat, and the rest of Cambodia some day. Also, I want to go through to Vietnam in a few months, through either Cambodia or Laos, and would welcome to hear how others made out.

    If others have had recent success travelling from Thailand to Cambodia and around including Phnom Penh, and were stopped, did you require the permission as I did? I would like to hear how your crossing went, or how to get through to Vietnam. Thx!

    Cambodian Visa office:

    DSCN5638.JPG

    Cambodian Customs Office that didn't let me in:
    DSCN5640.JPG

    Hand carts of goods being pushed across the border, every 30 seconds it seems:
    DSCN5699.JPG

    Returning to the Thai side:
    DSCN5698.JPG
    #6