Sunday, May 31, 2009

Thai-Cambodia land border crossing scams

I had read and heard about bus scams and all the headaches of crossing the main Thai-Cambodia border by land. I heard one recent story of some people who crossed the border and everyone got ripped off.

Apparently, the bus driver tricked the people in doing all their visa application at a stop about 5 minutes before the border. Then he took the applications and money (1,300 Baht, ~ $37US) before they got back on the bus and told them he would take care of the visa for them. Now the actual cost of the Cambodia visa was $20US for 30days. When they arrived at the border the driver then told them there were no ATM’s in Siem Reap so they should change their money now. He took them to an ATM and then to a money exchanger, where I’m sure he got a nice commission. I’m sure you can guess that there were many ATM’s all over Siem Reap.

So I decided to take a less traveled border crossing at Psar Pruhm to Cambodia. Everything was exactly how the guidebook described it would be, down to the “extra” fee the customs agent would ask for. At first the customs officer asked for 1000 Baht (~$20US) and I just reacted by blurting out, “What? No way!” I guess I should have been more docile considering he had the power to deny me entry. Then he said a lower price and that’s when I knew I could bargain. So I negotiated a bit and I finally entered Cambodia. I then had to get a ride on a moped to the nearest town, Pailin. Then I was attacked by a bunch of taxi drivers and got into one waiting for it to fill up before I could go. Normally, taxis will take four passengers in the back and two passengers in the front plus the driver. Some tourists prefer to buy the two seats in the front to have a more comfortable ride on the dirt roads. Currently only some of the major highways had paved roads. Even the cities had dirt roads.

No comments:

Post a Comment