Wednesday, November 14, 2007

From Poipet to Siem Reap

We arrived at Poipet before 10 am and going to the immigration we passed a long line of people crossing the border to Aranya. The scenario is a bustling street full of people exchanging trades and workers and traversing boundaries from both sides of Thailand and Cambodia.


People crossing borders which greeted us on our way to the immigration in Poipet.


Cambodians on their way to cross the border in front of the Klongluk Boundary Office.

Basically, processing of visa is rather easy especially for foreign visitors from the ASEAN regions like us. For other foreign visitors (Europe North and South America, etc.), they need to shell out USD20 for their visas. Some are being asked to pay more, USD40 and some officials at the local immigration asked for some certificate or something. This is not legitimate of course, but we heard Australian couples being victimized by this kind of scheme.


One of the major casinos in Poipet that will welcome visitors upon arriving at the border.

After passing through the immigration, I immediately spotted two huge casinos: Golden Crown Casino and Poipet Casino Resort. Poipet is considered the gambling capital of SE Asia. The book, “Invisible Borders: Reportage from Our Mekong” refers to this place, the “Las Vegas in Cambodia”. Dinah, our guide, informed us that Thais have to pay visa to enter Cambodia. But those who go to casinos need not pay. This puzzled me.

Later, I learned that gambling is prohibited in Thailand. But many Thais cross to Poipet to gamble plummeting hundred thousands of baht into the Cambodian economy. The flourishing of casinos in Poipet killed some small industries in Cambodia like the fabric industry. The border was closed in 2003 but was re-opened, making Poipet's economy fastidiously driven by gamblers' thirst for good fortune.


We got ourselves busy by talking to the driver, trying out some of the basic Khmer phrases we know. I immediately noticed the long nails. Aha.

After getting our documents stamped, we boarded to a Camry taxi that would bring us to our hotel in Siem Reap. As a whole, the drive from Poipet to Siem Reap is the most exhausting. I should say, the trail is rough and challenging.


The muddy road to Siem Reap. Motorcycles or moto is a very common mode of transportation in Cambodia (along with the tuk-tuk).


Residential houses and business establishments along the road.

The road condition is poor, both muddy and dusty. And even though we rode in an air-conditioned vehicle, I felt like I was driving over hundreds of grooves and potholes. One option is to sleep for the whole duration of the travel, which Oki did. Lucky for her. :-)


They have sari-sari stores too. The driver had to make a stopover at this station to clean all the stacks of mud accumulated by the car.


Finally, we arrived at the villa.

After less than five hours, we finally got to Siem Reap. From afar, I've already spotted the signage of the Golden Temple Villa wherein we booked our four-day stay. Of course, I have to thank Ferdz for discovering this place. Free tea/coffee, free banana, free Internet, staff are laidback but friendly and accommodating. We played pool while waiting for our food at an adjoining resto. The food is great. Best of all, they are just adjacent to the Artisans Angkor and a few walks away from the market, Psar Chaa. Very conducive, if I may say so.



kyels said...

Cambodia has always been one of the countries in Asia that I'd like to see and visit. It has this beauty that mesmerizes me, just like how the Philippines attracted my eyes.


From your travelogue I can easily see what Cambodia is like; the streets, the people, et cetera. It's interesting, really. Thanks for sharing!

pieterbie said...

Wow, that villa looks like a real home away from home. Pool, internet, coffee, banana, what more does one need, except the most important thing: the company of Rayts, of course.

Ferdz said...

I'm enjoying this travelogue series of yours. Ibang experience din pala ang mag land trip to Siem Reap. Parang mas exciting.

Glad you decided to stay sa Golden Temple. Parang mas gumanda na sya ngayon. Wala yang mga tall coconut trees dati.

Sidney said...

Ferdz and you should start to get commissions from the Golden Temple Hotel.

Did you took some time off to gamble along the border?

Very detailed travelogue but I am still missing some pictures! ;-)

haggis basher said...

Philippines, Thailand or Cambodia, no real difference, just the language and the church!

Nice shots though.

ndiginiz said...

Tena koe ehoa
Kind of makes it a little more worth while sitting in the back of a ride going over rough roading for what seems like endless hours, doesn't it?
This destination looks quite quaint and very comfortable.
Nice travel log Rayts and I look forward to seeing more of this place and the journey back.

my gulch said...

you should go there if you can find the time and opportunity. KL offers direct flight to Siem Reap, isn't that right? I've seen some Malaysians during our visit. most of them young people.

you know how to say the nicest thing. i've spent my nights looking at these palm trees looking over the walls and ceilings painted with mostly color orange all over it. i am not saying i am having no fun at all but it gets weirder by the minute. yea, free Internet and free coffee are the freebies that made me come to this place. yeba.

actually puro na palm trees dyan eh na halos humarang na sa facade ng villa. di ko nga alam kung matutuwa ako malulungkot sa design nila. nagmukha na kase siyang gubat. tapos dahil may parang banga na may tubig sila sa harap at may pond sa tabi ng garden, malamok sa gabi. madalas kase ako nakatamabay sa labas pagkatapos namin kumain sa resto, hehe. pero ayos lang kase lagi silang may insenso at katol, o di ba? ingenious.

yea, Ferdz is a good promoter. we learned that most of the foreign visitors who come to the villa also got to know the place from recommendations of friends or co-travelers they met along the way.

did i take some time to gamble along the border? haha. crazy Sidney. I WISH I had enough money to gamble. Besides, i am just a small time gambler. pang-kanto lang ako, naglalaro ng pekwa at pusoy-dos sa tabi-tabi!

i will try to post one of Oki's photo just for you Sidney. One of these days. I will have to ask her permission though. Mine is out of the question. :p

I will borrow one of the locals favorite quotes which has been printed in most of their shirts, also their favorite expressions: "SAME SAME, BUT DIFFERENT."

i was sitting at the back but i could not afford to sleep. the driver was driving a bit "fast" on a seemingly humped road. it's a good exercise though, having all your muscles worked out like that.

iskoo said...

naalala ko ko yung travel ko dyan sa poipet noong 2001, ganyan na ganyan ang nakita ko, halos wala pa rin palang pinagbago ang boarder. na-curious ako sa cambodia kasi malapit lang yung tinutuluyan ko sa thailand. tama ka medyo nagoyo ako sa visa fee, ang laki ng binayaran ko, tapos sobrang takot ko sa boarder kasi pinagkakaguluhan ;lahat yung mga pumapasok na foreigner kaya halos di ko maihakbang mga paa ko pagkalampas ko sa immigration, wala pang 15 mins ay bumalik na ako ng thailand kasi parang ang layo pa ng tourist sopts from the boarder. tsk tsk sayang ang binayad ko sa immigration at sa single bike na sinakyan ko from thailand na niloko din ako sa pamasahe, huhuhu.

Anonymous said...

hi kapwa iska!..m so thankful when i found ur gave me a clear picture of the cambo border..and m hoping u could help us more =)

my friend and i are planning to take this trip and we are wondering how safe the taxi ride is..we will be two girls on an adventure..(excited and nervous hehe)..we would highly appreciate if u could share some tips and what to look out for when we take the ride..thanks!

my gulch said...

hi there,
i am glad you found this blog useful.

safe naman ang taxi trip from Poipet Border to Siem Reap. Mas safe at mas conducive kaysa mag-bus or mag-moto kayo. 2 din lang kami nung friend ko (both girls) na tumawid ng border. If you'll have the time to choose, piliin n'yo yung Angkor Amazing Holiday Transpo service. Usually kase kung may tutuluyan ka ng Hotel/Guesthouse sa Siem Reap, they will provide or recommend the transpo service from the border to your accommodation. informed mo lang sila kung anong oras ang dating mo. From the border may susundo na sa inyo papunta sa taxi na sasakyan nyo. lahat halos ng taxi dun ay Camry.

may time na mag-stop over yung taxi nyo sa isang tindahan para maglinis ng sasakyan (maputik kase ang daan) or magpapa-gas or whatever. tapos sabihan kayo na mag-stretch, stretch kayo dahil mahaba ang byahe. wag nyo lang iwan mga gamit nyo sa loob ng taxi, hehe.

maliban sa masakit na pwet ayos naman ang long travel.

if you have any more question, i will be glad to provide some insights. just send it to me at:

thanks and happy tripping to Cambodia!

Anonymous said...

thanks SO MUCH for giving us ur email..will definitely keep in touch!..more power to your blog!XD

Anonymous said...

hi! hello! and Merry Christmas!

this is waging07again ^ ..we want to ask na rin sana how is it like sa immigration..we dont need to pay for anything right?or do we need to bring picture ba for the forms? easy is it?

thank you so much!

..7 days till D-day :D

Anonymous said...

oopps insights sana not only sa immigration but also getting visa? :D

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