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Where can I park my car in Sihanouk for a couple days when on Koh Rong?

Posted by Aarontnicholls on 14/6/2015 at 09:04

hi all,
Hoping to drive my vehicle to Sihanoukville and then catch the fast ferry to Koh Rong for a couple of days. This will be mid July 2015. We are expats living in Thailand with a Thai registered vehicle and New Zealand + International drivers licenses.
The info about driving in Cambodia is somewhat sketchy, and I can find nothing about car parking at Sihanouk...

1. Where can I safely leave my car in Sihanouk for the duration? We just went over to Koh Samet and Koh Kood in Thailand, both mainland ports had car storage for 60 baht per day, is there a similar service?

2. Forums indicate that the International license is no good in Cambodia? 3-5 weeks to get a Cambodian license? Could we risk it and simply pay any "fine"(bribe) if stopped? Can we drive into Cambodia (from Thailand) without a Cambodian license? Should we go through the process to get a Cambodian Dlicense? What advice do fellow travel-fishes have?

Any other tips or comments about driving in Cambodia, Sihanoukville, fast ferry to Koh Rong or Koh Rong appreciated!
Many thanks

#1 Aarontnicholls has been a member since 14/6/2015. Posts: 8
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Posted by Aarontnicholls on 17/6/2015 at 11:26

Little help here people...would rely appreciate any advice😊

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Posted by SBE on 17/6/2015 at 14:42

Nobody else has answered and I hope someone better qualified will step in to help you. In the meantime, here's what I think.

Question 1.
IF you can get your car into Cambodia, you could always choose a hotel in Sihanoukville with a car park and ask to leave it there while you're on Koh Rong .

Question 2.
I suspect bringing a car across the border would be a major hassle, especially at Ko Kong. I'm no expert on Cambodia but the last time I entered via Ko Kong (circa 2006), the Cambodian border guards there wanted to see a yellow fever vaccination certificate... or pay 300B extra if I didn't have one. Methinks they'll definitely demand tea money from you if you have a car but I have no idea how much.

Quick google brought this up. http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/565125-drive-my-own-car-from-thailand-into-cambodia/

It's a bit out of date but O Smach seemed to be the best border crossing option for private cars from Thailand in 2013. Sounds like if you go through Ko Kong crossing you may have to stay in that province even if you pay a bribe. Also someone on that thread mentioned that it's been illegal to drive a RHD car in Cambodia since 2002.


Anyway, if you're only going to Cambodia to spend a couple of days on Koh Rong I don't think it's worth the cost and the hassle. You seem to have liked Ko Kut on another thread so why not go back there or try Ko Mak or Ko Wai? Or leave your car in Trat and take the ordinary tourist transport to Snooky if you need to do visa run.

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Posted by Nickysullivan on 17/6/2015 at 20:09 TF writer

Hi,

In the first instance, I'd agree with the first responder's recommendation about leaving the car and taking tourist transport from the border. I've never seen a right-hand drive car in Cambodia, and have also heard (though couldn't guarantee) that they are illegal here. Moreover, it's dangerous enough driving over here without the additional stress of not being able to see when overtaking. The crossing at Koh Kong is notorious for demanded backhanders. You might be better off going across at Pailin or, as above, O Smach, both of which are much quieter. Neither can process e-visas. If you do decide to bring the car, there is a small guarded car park on Serendipity Beach Road, just below the Serendipity Beach Resort. I couldn't vouch for its security though, especially at night as it's a family-run affair and presumably they must sleep. On the other hand, one of the hotels would likely be able to offer you a space, subject to the usual caveats etc. I don't know a great deal about the paperwork involved in bringing a car across the border from Thailand to here. I know that it's a relatively simple process in the opposite direction, provided all of the paperwork is in your name and can only hope that it is the same. It's true that international licences are not recognised here, but a foreign licence is good for the first six months. A local licence takes more like three to five months (and multiples thereof) to process in practice so is not worth even thinking about. I hope this helps a little...

Nicky

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Posted by Aarontnicholls on 18/6/2015 at 04:08

Many thanks for the information and advice Nicky and SBE, very much appreciated.

We had planned to travel in Cambodia by car for the full 30 day visa. Not very keen to leave our vehicle in Thailand for a month. Does not look like this is possible. I guess Cambodia misses out on our Tourism dollar and we miss exploring a little more of SE Asia.

I found this post from Dec 2014 that might help others;
It seems that different boarder points have completely different rules and processes. o'smach is free entry, the others are difficult to impossible with a Thai car.

We will have a crack at Trat boarder, pay for a 5 day pass, head into Sihanoukville and Koh Rong and return to same border within 5 days. Will let you know how we get on.

Dec 2014
Also note that since Cambodia and Thailand do not currently have an agreement to cover the temporary admission of private vehicles into each other's territory, the customs authorities at each border set their own conditions.

There are currently 3 border checkpoints that freely allow cars from each other's country to pass, but with the following conditions:

1. Chong Chom (Surin) to O'Smach (Oddar Mencheay) --> Thai cars can enter and proceed to anywhere in the country.
2. Ban Pakkard (Chantaburi) to Prom (Pailin) --> Thai cars can enter, but are not supposed to leave the province of Pailin. In reality, there is nothing stopping you from going further and you can do so. Just don't let customs know - just agree with whatever they say and you'll be fine.
3. Hat Lek, Khlong Yai (Trat) to Cham Yeam ( Koh Kong ) --> Thai cars can enter and are supposed to remain in the border province meaning travel up to Sre Ambel, 150km away, is permitted according to customs. In reality, you can proceed to wherever you like though as there is nothing stopping you from going further inside the country. Koh Kong customs will ask for 100 Baht a day, depending on how long the car remains in the country.

In all 3 cases no insurance is offered at the border, but interestingly, Thai customs can offer insurance for Cambodian cars heading in the other direction. There is a similar ruling in Thailand's case whereby Cambo vehicles can travel all around Trat province but not further. Indeed I've spotted Cambo vehicles all over Trat including Koh Chang, as well as one near the provincial boundary with Chantaburi but once in Chantaburi the only ones I saw where spotted near the Ban Pakkard border or in the parking lot at Ban Laem having come across those borders.

Maybe you can arrange third party insurance through a Phnom Penh based insurer but this can't be done at the border, only in Phnom Penh.

Other borders are problematic and entry with a vehicle (especially a car) might be difficult if not impossible, especially if it hasn't been arranged in advance. Leaving Cambodia at almost any crossing with Thailand (and the one crossing with Laos) after having entered elsewhere should be fine though. Vietnam is virtually impossible for private Thai or third country foreign registered vehicles. Cambo vehicles often get through, but not always either.

By AEC 2015, things might have changed and I would expect a proper system to be in place in Cambodia soon after it's entry into force or possibly a little earlier.

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Posted by cannabistourist on 13/11/2016 at 06:49

@SBE on 17/6/2015 at 14:42
Question 2.
I suspect bringing a car across the border would be a major hassle, especially at Ko Kong. I'm no expert on Cambodia but the last time I entered via Ko Kong (circa 2006), the Cambodian border guards there wanted to see a yellow fever vaccination certificate... or pay 300B extra if I didn't have one. Methinks they'll definitely demand tea money from you if you have a car but I have no idea how much.
===> now I understand why they always try to scam people, because it seems to work with many of you...
Of course the vaccination certificate is a pure scam
Anybody can cross with a car for 150 thb/day and if the cops catch you outside kohkong just give them $2 and tell them to get their Mom from the rear...

Nickysullivan on 17/6/2015 at 20:09
Wrong, you can get a Cambo license in few days if you pay enough.
Also, who want to ride any public vehicle in Thailand or Cambodia when knowing what kind of monkeys are the drivers...

Please keep updating this thread.

#6 cannabistourist has been a member since 29/3/2016. Posts: 3


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