Visas and border crossings forum

Arranging Cambodia visa in Thailand--scam???

  • yukata

    Joined Travelfish
    2nd June, 2010
    Posts: 8

    Hey all,

    I wanted to post this in case anyone else had a similar experience arranging their Cambodia visa in Thailand. I have a feeling I may have been scammed but I am not sure so any feedback is appreciated.

    Basically I went to the Tourist Association of Thailand (TAT)and after speaking with the rep there, she told me she could arrange my visa. I opted to get it express (200B) but I was charged 1700B, which is about $55 US. I questioned the price several times because I had read on here and in LP that the visa is only $20US. She claimed that border rules had changed and that you can only get a 2-week visa in Cambodia, not one-month. The one I purchased is for one month, which was arranged with the help of a woman working at the border. Mind you this was done over the phone in Thai, but the lady at TAT seemed genuine. Have I totally been 'robbed' on this one? The funny thing is I wanted to arrange the visa in Thailand to avoid troubles and bribes at the borders, but now I am wondering if I would have been better off that way....

    Oh and I should also note I am a Canadian citizen (I was told US and CDN citizens get charged more for visa's).

    -Confused in Thailand

    #1 Posted: 3/8/2010 - 17:17

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  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
    31st December, 2007
    Location New Zealand
    Posts: 2089
    Total reviews: 20
    Places visited:
    At least 107

    Sorry - but you have been scammed. The price is only $20 - whether you arrive by plane or overland. You can get it on arrival - there is no need to get it ahead of time, as you don't save anything (money or much time).

    This is where is pays to do your research, and stand your ground when you know you are right. Go with your gut instincts. When I arrived at Siem Reap airport, the immigration guy tried to get the equivalent of $30 from me, by quoting the price in Thai baht. But I knew it was US$20, and had the $20 ready to hand over. He told me paying in baht was 'better' for me - presumably as a means of getting rid of unwanted baht. I stood my ground, remained very polite (very important!) and only paid the $20. I then let others in the line behind me know what he was doing and that they only needed to pay $20 - hopefully his take-home pay was lower than normal.

    I am surprised that this happened at the TAT office - I thought they were supposed to reputable. Was it a legit TAT office? Maybe report them to a head office in Bangkok.....

    Also, there is no difference in price for US or Canadian citizens.

    Sorry you had this horrible experience...

    #2 Posted: 4/8/2010 - 05:09

  • SBE

    Click here to learn more about SBE
    Joined Travelfish
    14th April, 2008
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 1951
    Total reviews: 5
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    Where was this TAT office? I don't think the genuine TAT sells anything? Don't they just give tourist information promoting Thailand and hand out leaflets and stuff?

    Travel and tour agencies are often registered with TAT but that doesn't make them TAT offices.

    Travel agents can arrange to get visas for you and they do levy a service charge ....which is normal as they are doing you a service by going to get it for you. It can be a useful service if you haven't got much time and don't want to spend it queuing in consulates.

    I usually get my own visas but I think last time I used a travel agent it only cost me 100B or so. (That was a few years ago mind you) If you factor in the transport costs of getting to the consulate and back (twice) it can even be cheaper to do it this way.

    Sounds like the place you went were real scam artists... AFAIK you need a proper tourist visa to enter Cambodia and the proper visa is 30 days, not two weeks. That bit of misinformation alone is a good enough reason to refuse to deal with them.

    Maybe you should get their TAT registration number and report them to the real TAT head office. (If you thought it was a TAT office I presume they have a big sign up so their number should be on it somewhere) It can't do any harm and it might just help prevent these people from scamming other newbies.

    Here's the address.

    Tourism Authority of Thailand
    1600 New Phetchaburi Road, Makkasan, Ratchathevi, Bangkok 10400, THAILAND
    Tel: 662 250 5500, TAT Call Center: 1672

    #3 Posted: 4/8/2010 - 08:03

  • yukata

    Joined Travelfish
    2nd June, 2010
    Posts: 8

    Hey just wanted to update on this. Firstly, the border was a bit intense. I was with some other travelers and once we reached the Cambodia side, all these people swarmed us telling us different places to go. My friends didn't have their visas so they were taken to one area where they were charged 100B for a 'health check'. Somehow I bypassed this with my visa already in hand, but one of the guys told me to sit down while he took it to the counter. He came back with my forms filled and demanded a tip for his 'services' (ie filling in the simple info on the departure/arrival card) even though he made it seem like I couldn't go to the counter myself. I refused but he was quite adamant and if I had been alone I probably would have just paid up. My friends were charged 1200B for their visas.

    Then we worked out a taxi after agreeing on a decent price (took awhile) but our taxi driver tried to take us to a ton of other places before the actual guest house we requested since he gets commission. In the end we just got out and found a place by asking some locals.

    We stayed the night and the next day we took buses onwards. Fat Sams on the main strip is great because the owner speaks English and can give you good advice. I was able to arrange a bus to PP for $6 with Sorya bus company, but I took the 12 departure and traffic was heavy coming into PP. Not sure if the early bus would have been better...

    So all of this to say if you are crossing at this border I highly suggest getting a visa in advance. E-visa seems to be good because you know you are paying the 'right' price. Just don't get scammed like I did in Thailand!

    #4 Posted: 8/8/2010 - 21:39

  • oasisbarhat-
    ien

    Joined Travelfish
    12th August, 2010
    Posts: 105
    Total reviews: 4

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    1)Yes you were scammed
    2)The Had Lek border crossing into Cambodia for Koh Kong is notorious for overcharging,by greedy border officials,The only way round it is to get the visa in advance,either from the Embassy or the E visa.Even then they will try to scam you the "Health certificate" or "SARS" or whatever they are calling it that day.I've got a Cambodian business visa,so they don't get a cent from me(they still want 20B for the health check though)The guys doing the forms for you are only moto drivers,just tell them No and do it yourself.Taxi from the border into KK should be 250B inc bridge toll,moto no more than 100B and really less.It all depends how long you want to wait at the border
    3)Fat Sams in the main street is a good source of travel info.It's unbiased,because he doesn't sell tickets or rooms.It's a bar with bar food (mostly western food with some Khmer dishes)

    #5 Posted: 15/8/2010 - 14:58

  • TonyL

    Joined Travelfish
    19th December, 2006
    Posts: 46

    This time last year I arrived at the Koh Kong border without a visa- but i had done my research on this site.

    They tried the Health Check scam but I simply gave them the form back and refused to pay. No further proiblem as I just walked away.
    Next came the visa form - I simply filled it in myself. Bloke at the counter demands 1200 baht for visa. Told him I did not have baht and offered $20US. I then offered $20 = $5 - a bit of a step down but it facilitated things. I was asked to go into the office. Lady with 2 stripes on shoulder and a face that had seen much better days asked for 1200 baht. I repeat that I do not have baht and offer the $20 = $5. She takes money and passport and gives it to a frog faced man with 3 stripes on shoulder. He nods, no smiles, eye contact or anything resembling a welcome for a tourist and proceeds to look at, turn pages and stamp the passport. operation over - I had my passport and visa.

    As I had been to Cambodia a few times before there were old visas in my passport - I also had the name of the Minister of Tourism and his Phnom Penh address on a slip of paper in the passport. He doesn't like the Immigration people but is in a position to cause them a bit of trouble. So, perhaps that helped.

    I really think that this is something that the various diplomatic missions in Phnom Penh should get a grip of. So fellow Travelfishers write to your Embassy or Consulate in PP and get them to get their finger out and do something about this - send a copy to the Minister of Tourism also. And while you are at it a further copy to your own Foreign Affairs Minister in your home country. It may not achieve much but at least you will feel better !!

    #6 Posted: 14/9/2010 - 10:25

  • TonyL

    Joined Travelfish
    19th December, 2006
    Posts: 46

    This time last year I arrived at the Koh Kong border without a visa- but i had done my research on this site.

    They tried the Health Check scam but I simply gave them the form back and refused to pay. No further proiblem as I just walked away.
    Next came the visa form - I simply filled it in myself. Bloke at the counter demands 1200 baht for visa. Told him I did not have baht and offered $20US. I then offered $20 = $5 - a bit of a step down but it facilitated things. I was asked to go into the office. Lady with 2 stripes on shoulder and a face that had seen much better days asked for 1200 baht. I repeat that I do not have baht and offer the $20 = $5. She takes money and passport and gives it to a frog faced man with 3 stripes on shoulder. He nods, no smiles, eye contact or anything resembling a welcome for a tourist and proceeds to look at, turn pages and stamp the passport. operation over - I had my passport and visa.

    As I had been to Cambodia a few times before there were old visas in my passport - I also had the name of the Minister of Tourism and his Phnom Penh address on a slip of paper in the passport. He doesn't like the Immigration people but is in a position to cause them a bit of trouble. So, perhaps that helped.

    I really think that this is something that the various diplomatic missions in Phnom Penh should get a grip of. So fellow Travelfishers write to your Embassy or Consulate in PP and get them to get their finger out and do something about this - send a copy to the Minister of Tourism also. And while you are at it a further copy to your own Foreign Affairs Minister in your home country. It may not achieve much but at least you will feel better !!

    #7 Posted: 14/9/2010 - 10:27

  • travellings-
    arah

    TF writer
    Joined Travelfish
    23rd March, 2010
    Location Vietnam
    Posts: 669
    Total reviews: 11
    Places visited:
    At least 87

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    Just wanted to add a comment back on the original TAT reference. Last year we ended up being caught by the whole cheap tuk tuk scam. It didn't cause us any problems as we got to see some temples, got a cheap tuk tuk for a few hours and only wasted a few minutes walking in - and straight back out of - a jewellery and suit shop. However, one stop we made was at what we thought was THE TAT office - the guy started off very friendly, quoted us ridiculous amounts for a couple of trips, we said no, he suddenly was not so friendly and out we went. So I think there are likely a lot of unscrupulous tourist offices feeding off the TAT name - we thought they would be the fairest in price etc. but fortunately soon realised we were wrong as we'd done our homework on prices beforehand.

    #8 Posted: 14/9/2010 - 11:33

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