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  1. #1
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    Cambodia entry through Kap Choeng - O'Smach border

    Hi everyone, I'm Katie and I'm a newbie. I'm planning a backpacking trip later this year. From Surin, Thailand, I plan to pass through the Kap Choeng - O'Smach border, then travel on to Siem Reap. I have some questions.

    Are there buses, tuktuks or minivans on the Camb side of the border? Can I get some sort of public transport once I reach the Camb side, or only taxis or hitchhiking are available? My aim is to go to Siem Reap, where I will be meeting with friends. For the border pass, I'll be doing it alone. I saw a thread of Mr. Bangyai wherein he did a visa run from this KC-OS border. On the Thai side there are lots of minivans from Surin, but the pic on the Camb side just showed private motorbikes and rural lands, which worried me. If there are public transport options, where do they go to and how much do they cost (approx)?

    Another question is about visas. As a Filipino, I know that I don't need a visa for Thailand, Laos or Cambodia (ASEAN stuff). Will the Camb border officials just stamp my passport easily, or will they ask some bribe from me and threaten that I need a visa anyway? I never had problems travelling through SEA and passing immigration visa-free, but those were through airports. I've heard and read about the notoriety of land border officials.

    Thank you and all help and suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

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    Welcome to the Buffalo Board...

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    I travelled thru' this crossing on the way to siem reap two years ago.
    Quote Originally Posted by katie23
    Are there buses, tuktuks or minivans on the Camb side of the border?
    Not last i knew- but transport is not a problem, there are several drivers there who approach you (most people are heading to Siem Reap). Are you travelling alone, or with company? It's naturally a lot cheaper to share a car between 2-4 people. The fare (negotiable) is around US$50 for the car.
    Quote Originally Posted by katie23
    Will the Camb border officials just stamp my passport easily, or will they ask some bribe from me and threaten that I need a visa anyway?
    They'll probably ask you for a little tea money for 'helping' you fill out your form. That's Cambo.

    Kap choeng is a pleasant crossing, but remote- the usual way to head from Surin to Siem Reap would be to get the regular minibus to the Chong Chom border crossing, and organise a car from there. How are you getting to Kap Choeng- there is no public transport to there that I am aware of.
    probes Aliens

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    Are you travelling alone, or with company? It's naturally a lot cheaper to share a car between 2-4 people. The fare (negotiable) is around US$50 for the car.

    They'll probably ask you for a little tea money for 'helping' you fill out your form. That's Cambo.

    Kap choeng is a pleasant crossing, but remote- the usual way to head from Surin to Siem Reap would be to get the regular minibus to the Chong Chom border crossing, and organise a car from there. How are you getting to Kap Choeng- there is no public transport to there that I am aware of.
    I'll be travelling alone through the border then meet up with friends in Siem Reap. My plan is to ask around the Camb side and maybe share a taxi/car with people going to SR too. Re: the "tea money", I'll prepare for that, then. Are there money changers at the border? Or is it better to get Cambo riels in Surin? Re: Chong Chom - is Chong Chom & Kap Choeng the same border crossing? My plan is to get a minibus from Surin to the border. Then from the border, it's still a bit vague, that's why I'm asking questions here... How far or how long is the travel time from the border to Siem Reap if by car? Thanks for the help in advance.

  5. #5
    I am in Jail
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    Kap choeng is a pleasant crossing, but remote- the usual way to head from Surin to Siem Reap would be to get the regular minibus to the Chong Chom border crossing, and organise a car from there. How are you getting to Kap Choeng- there is no public transport to there that I am aware of.
    Don't understand this bit, Sabang....Kapchoeng, where the immigration office is, is the little town you pass through about 5 km before you reach Chong Chom, which is the actual border crossing.

    Surin to Chong Chom by minibus is 60 bhat. They drive like nutters and stop on the way to make pick ups, so be prepared to packed in like a sardine...The plus side is that it's a short trip of only an hour or so.

    Crossed over one time with a Filipino and he was asked for 200 bhat tea money by the immigration, Cambo side, myself 500....blackmail is inflated for farangs. Having crossed over many times I prepared him with advice on saying "no', politely but assertively; that worked. The 'tea money' request is only asked to those doing a swift turn around for same day Thailand return. As you're going on into Cambodia you shouldn't be tapped.

    The taxi share is the best way Cambo side of Chong Chom, OSmach to Siam Reap.

  6. #6
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    Katie, take a mini bus from the Surin bus station in central Surin City. It will take you all the way to the border crossing. Once there you just go through the exit gates which are on your left as you face Cambodia. There are about 4 lanes to go through, just follow the hordes of Thais going over the border to the casino. It is a very quick process. Once through the gate head over to a small building still on the left or casino side and you will probably see some farangs filling out some forms, this is where you will get your visa for Cambodia. I was there about 3 weeks ago and it cost me 1100 baht, 1000 for the visa and 100 for help/tip. A Cambodian man was very helpful and gave me the form to fill out and acted as a middleman so to speak, I still don't know if he was a tout or worked for immigration.
    Once in Cambodia there are no public transport options and you will have to negotiate with a taxi/mini van driver to get to Siam Reap. As mentioned before you could pal up with other travellers and share a car. I did it about 5 years ago with my wife and we hired a taxi for about 3000 baht I think, I have since been advised that this was too much but I thought it was worth it as the roads are terrible and it took about 3 hours.
    As for money, the best advice is to take $US in good condition. You can change $US anywhere and get small Cambodian money for small purchases. Thai baht is also accepted but the best is $US.
    Good Luck.

  7. #7
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    i often travel thru this border with my thai car, never have paid more than $20 for my Cambodian visa.

    best bet is walk over to casino an am sure a taxi driver will approach you to head to sr, leave right way if u take the whole car ( $50-60) or wait till he fills the car up ( $10-12/seat)and go. its apx 2 hour ride on very good roads

    Its a great easy low stress boarder.

    You will never need Riel in the whole country an it really is only used for giving u change when something is less than $1
    "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol or insanity, but they've always worked for me" HST

    View my pics

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    Thanks for the replies and tips. You've all been very helpful. Now I see the light at the end of the immigration tunnel. Leads straight to a casino! Kidding aside, I'll take note of all the info.

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    I crossed thru O'Smatch from Cambo=>Thailand in 2010. At that time the Cambo's were working on the entire Hwy 68, from Samrong to the O'Smach. 15km south of the border, the Hwy 68 Construction cut thru a massive rock hillside, so we diverted on an extremely rough bypass track thru the jungle. By this time the rented taxi had emptied out, leaving only the Cambo Driver, my Thai GF, Me & a burly Bulldozer driver. My GF freaked out , as she was sure we were about to be robbed. I calmed her down and we got thru. Hopefully you will have a smoother trip. We paid $50 for 2 from the Kralanh Junction of Hwy 68 to National Hwy 6 =>O'Smach. The Bus fare from Siem Reap to Kralanh was $6 (think that was the fare SR=>Poipet). If you can pay $50 from O'Smach=>SR ... that's a decent price. Oh ... your $50 Taxi Fare is not an exclusive taxi fare. You will likely be jammed 4 in a back seat and 2 passengers sitting on a single seat in the front. Try that with me & a construction worker @ 200lbs ea, a Postman & my 98lb Thai GF in the back seat ... on a really rough road ... excruciating. There may in fact be mini buses available from the Casino to SR. The Casino is to the right of the 500m road between the Thai & Cambodian Border Posts. The Thai Immigration Officer spoke very fluent English, c/w a yank accent. He told us we were lucky; as a UK tourist was robbed & stripped to his U/W, on the Jungle Bypass a few days prior. Googling the "Samrong Travel Guide" indicates the Hwy 68 Construction is complete. Having done it once, the next time I will fly direct to Siem Reap. Good Travels.

  10. #10
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    2010 has nothing to do with now,
    i drove the road last july, paved all the way

    OR u could do the trip via Banteay Chhmer and than u get 110 kms of hard packed dirt!!

    There ares some really great roads in northern Cambodia now and very little traffic.

  11. #11
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    Katie23, There is as always good information to be found here from people with better knowledge than me, however i would pick you up on one thing you mentioned, I feel hitchhiking might not be a good idea for a lone female.
    Enjoy your trip and stay safe.

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    ^Hitchhiking was to be the last option. Now that I know about shared taxis, I won't be hitchhiking. I don't even ride motorcycle taxis - I prefer to walk if the distance is manageable. This won't be my first trip alone, but it will be the longest. There aren't a lot of solo female Asian travelers, but there are some of us around. Sometimes I travel alone, sometimes with company. Thanks for the tips, and I will keep safe. Cheers to all!

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    Member cdnski12's Avatar
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    After you leave the Thai Immigration Exit ... just plow on ahead, ignoring all the B/S from the Crossing touts. It's about 500m to the Cambo Immigration Kiosk. Hook up with some other Ferangs if possible. Sounds like the Hwy is good now. Siem Reap is worth the trip!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bower View Post
    Katie23, There is as always good information to be found here from people with better knowledge than me, however i would pick you up on one thing you mentioned, I feel hitchhiking might not be a good idea for a lone female.
    Enjoy your trip and stay safe.
    I did that once and concur - had some hairy situations

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    ^ I won't be hitchhiking anymore, that plan is scrapped. Thanks for the warning.

    I have another question for all you good people out there. Thought of making another thread, but might as well use this one too.

    A friend/colleague asked for travel advice and possible itinerary. She plans to fly in to BKK, and fly out through Siem Reap, and do a backpacking trip in between those places. This is the route that I picked out for her:

    BKK -> Ayutthaya -> Nakhon Nayok or Prachin Buri -> Sa Kaeo -> Poipet border crossing -> Siem Reap.

    I just looked through some of those places on google maps. I've been to BKK and Ayutthaya, and I liked the relaxed vibe & temples in Ayutthaya, so I recommended that she pass by Ayutthaya before going east. Now here are my questions:

    1. Are there buses/trains from Ayutthaya to Nakhon Nayok or Prachin Buri?
    2. Which is better to stop/overnight in? NN or PB? Are there hostels/guesthouses in NN or PB? It's going to be a backpacking trip, so not looking for anything posh. Can you recommend a cheap place to stay O/N in either city? How long (travel time, public transpo) does it take to go to either city from Ayutthaya?
    3. Any hostel/guesthouse that you could recommend in Sa Kaeo?
    4. How many hours from Sa Kaeo to the Poipet border? How to get to the border from Sa Kaeo? Are there buses or minivans?
    5. After crossing over to the Cambodian side, how long does it take (approx) to get to Siem Reap? What kind of transport is available on the Cambo side? Are there buses, minivans or just shared taxis?

    My friend will go to Siem Reap - she wants to see Angkor Wat. No visa needed for Thailand or Cambodia (ASEAN).

    As always, any and all information will be greatly appreciated. I know that I could always get googling, but I get more direct answers here. Thanks in advance!

  16. #16
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    can answer 5.
    taxi 2-2/12 hours shared apx $12/seat full taxi $50 or so
    there are bus's but not sure times or cost

    Ur friend is Asian? otherwise he/she will need Cambodian visa at border $20

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    Number 1...nothing direct I think, but take the train from Ayuthaya back to Bangkok and alight at Rangsit...head towards Future park and pause at the flyover where all the mini-buses hang out,,,there's a direct mini-bus to Nakhon Nayok from there.

    Number 3..don't know abut SaKeow but at Aranya Pratet market there's loads of guest houses. just walk towards the border from the train station and take your pick...around 300 bhat is the cheapest you'll find

  18. #18
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    @phuketrichard - thanks for the info re: travel time; my friend is asean so no need visa

    @pompeysbroke - thnx too for the guesthouses

    After googling, I'm thinking of advising to not stay O/N in Ayutthaya and just do a day tour there. As PR said, there seems to be no direct public transport from Ayutthaya to the eastern provinces. My initial itinerary for friend was 10 days, and it might be too long (and pricey) for her & her cousin. They also need to schedule the trip towards their leave credits, so time is also a consideration. I might just suggest to travel directly from Bangkok to save time to SR. Take train or bus from BKK to Aranyapathet, cross border, then bus or shared taxi from Poipet to Siem Reap.

    I've become like a mini-travel agency in my office; people ask me for travel advice since they know that I've traveled quite a bit. It's also nice on my part, since I get to see different routes, forums and blogs. Thanks for all the help.

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