MiscSE Asia

Getting to Thailand via Poipet

posted by Stu 0 comments


Whilst sat having a beer with the hotel manager out the front of the hotel a thunderstorm started. Both kids loved it and a few minutes later and fork lightening lit up the sky. Suddenly the power for the hotel went off, we looked out onto the street and the whole street was out too. It actually transpired that the whole of Siem Reap was out. We were given some candles and literally packed by candle light. The worst thing though was the sleep, it was 32 degrees and we had no fan/air con. I kept waking up covered in sweat and both kids told me they had suffered the same. Though obviously Abi more than Charlie.
The driver picked us up for our drive to Poipet at 0730. He spoke very little English and away we went. Every car in Cambodia is a Toyota Camry and this one was no different. The driver makes a phone call and instantly I became suspicious. My suspicions turned out to be well founded when suddenly the driver needed the toilet and just happened to know a restaurant where he could go. When he pulled up started saying how they did a great breakfast, I refused and said we would wait in the car. As hard as he tried I refused to budge. About 10 minutes later we set off. Sure enough another phone call and then he said that we needed to call somewhere for 10 minutes. I told him that I had left at 0730 to get to Poipet early and not to compensate for his pointless stops. His grasp of English disappeared and we pulled over for him to have his car washed. Again I refused to get out.
When he got back in the car I told him that if we stopped again I would get out and find another taxi. The journey magically continued all the way to the border and altogether too just over 2 hours.
The border town of Poipet is the arse end of anywhere and literally is a seedy town full of prostitutes and Casinos. The driver will try and ditch you before the border but insist he drives all the way and drops you off at the roundabout. Ignore everyone trying to grab your luggage, but if you can’t be arsed carrying them let them take your bags and give them a dollar. Straight opposite you will see ‘departures’ This is the Cambodian exit point, take your passport and get stamped out of the country and make sure they take the departure card.
Cross over to the other side of the road (right hand) and continue down for a few hundred meters until you reach Thailand Arrivals. Go through the door for foreigners and then collect your arrivals card. UK citizens can get a visa on arrival for 15days, it is 30 days if arriving by air. You need to have an onward ticket to prove you are leaving the country and a confirmed address whilst in Thailand. We had neither and I just figured we’d try our luck. For the address on the arrivals card I just put ‘Bangkok Guesthouse Khao San Rd’ We were never questioned and within about 2 minutes we were in Thailand.
Walk out of Immigration and head right, find a Tuk Tuk and ask for A-Ran-Pa-Tet (thats not how its spelt but how its pronounced, the letter ‘a’ is spoken as it is in apple) The tuk tuk is 80 Baht.
Ask to get dropped off at the seven eleven near the bus station. Grab a munch and then right next door is the government bus office. The 4 hr bus to Bangkok was 250 Baht for me and 150 each for the kids. You get the obligatory bottle of water and packet of biscuits.
You get off at the Northern Bus Station in Bangkok. From there either get a tuk tuk to the Metro/Sky Train to connect throughout the city.
It was a tossup of where to stay in Bangkok between Khao San Rd (the most popular backpacker haunt) and Siem Square. I decided the best place for us to stay would be Siam Sq because it was much more centrally located and surrounded by malls and cinemas. A tuk tuk there cost 150 Baht, the driver was laughing his head off as he drove away so no doubt he had done me, but for the journey I wasn’t arsed.
We found some accommodation and were sorted. It was 1530. The journey had been nothing like I was expecting it to be, that said we were absolutely knackered. But it was good to be in Bangkok 🙂

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