im going to be travelling from siem reap to phnom penh then back to thailand so was thinking of heading to sihanoukville then to ko kong and back into thailand.
Has anyone got any advice or info on sihanoukville or ko kong and what is the border crossing like?
heading to ko kut and ko chang after ( i know this is cambodia forum but any opinions on these places aswell would be appreciated)
#1 mrkarlholland has been a member since 17/1/2008. Posts: 9
I travelled in April '07 from Sihanoukville to Trat (Thailand) via Ko Khong. Originally I wanted to take a bus to the border, but it was full. So I had to take the boat (20 US$), that leaves at noon (12 o'clock) and arrives at 4 pm. It's not an open boat, but kind of a bus on water. Nothing to see outside, but rather comfortable. At the harbour, there are motodups (motortaxi's) waiting to take you to the border. That motodup cost me 5 US$, which is -I think- too much. But it was pouring and I didn't have much time left, because I had waited some time for the rain to stop. Once across the border there are some minibuses waiting to take you to Trat. The last regular one leaves about 5 pm. Again that cost me too much (275 Baht), because I was late (after 5 pm) and I only could share it with 2 other people. It takes about 1h30' to Trat, which is the departure point for Ko Chang. But I think you'll have to stay 1 night in Trat.
#2 JoHe59 has been a member since 22/8/2006. Posts: 21
The bus from the border is 120 bath in shared minibus.
I would only recomend the boat from SV if the weather is calm. The ferries is originaly designed for river traffic and not very comfertable (or safe?)with waves over 1 m.
The minibuses that leaves from SV in the morning is a better option IMO. You get to KK earlier and you are able to see where you are going. I specially like the river crossings. Good fun! I would rather stay a night in KK than in Trat. I like the laidback feeling in KK. Plenty of accomodation to choose from both places.
#3 awol has been a member since 6/3/2008. Posts: 2
On one side of the Trat Market we were quoted a price of 60B for a shared pickup truck which we were told would go to Hat Lek and the border. We went to the other side of the market where some guy wanted to take us to the border in a “Special” trip for 700 Baht and the told us he would charge us to go to the bus station where we could get the 120 Baht Van to the border. So we decided to take the cheapest option, the 60 Baht shared pickup truck. Unfortunately we and the Check guy were let off at a town 17 KM from the border. So we saved on the 120B bus, but ended taking 2 rides. The second ride was 25 baht each and took us right to the border for a total of 85 Baht and a savings of 35 bhat per person. The first pickup truck dropped us off at a small town where we had a snack and I checked out the harbor with the Check guy. We took a 2nd truck to the border. When we got to the Cambodian side 4 smug border guys were in the office. It was obvious that one was the higher ranking guy. I gave my passport with the correct $20 bill knowing they were going to give me a hard time. The Cambodian government charges $20, but everyone knows that the border guys are charging 1200B which is $39. So these guys are pocketing $19/person. I would love to know how high up the money goes. So I stood there and shoved my passport toward the guy and he shoved it back and asked for 1200 B. This went on in very low tones for about 25 minutes. Meanwhile other people were coming there and giving there 1200B. The guy taking the passport had not shirt on, only a t-shirt. I was wanting to get names. The guy in the t-shirt handed me a paper that was from some hotel. The paper quoted the 1200B price. That was a nice touch, but I was unaffected as this was anything buy an official document. I mean these fat cats have lost touch with reality because they have been getting away with this for so long. Of course I told the guys that I had no bath left only the $20. The big man at one point put down his papers and turned to me and said that with the decline of the value of the dollar he was now being forced to pay $25 per passport application. If this true then I feel so bad for the border immigration guys as they are only profiting $12 every time someone comes through the border. Once again I had to ask myself how high up does this go and perhaps there is some accounting for these border guards in that someone up there is making $5/passport and perhaps allowing the border guys to keep the rest. After 25 minutes of standing there with these guys asking for Baht I asked Richel for my camera and pointed it at the men. They immediately said “no photos”. Of course I was only bluffing, but that seemed to shake them up a bit as they were just letting me stand there and would merely had back my passport when I gave it to them. Finally they relented a bit and asked for $25. Ah, so now the bargaining was on. Unfortunately I had no small bills, only Twenty Dollar bills. In the end the agreed to accept 200Bhat along with my $20 bill So for all my haggling I ended up saving myself about $12. My only thought when I left was that I would not be able to tell anyone that I paid the correct $20 visa fee. Meanwhile, Richel had gotten her free visa due to her Filipino passport. So we got out to the other side and the “vutures” started to swarm around us. These were some guys that had been there watching events and “helping” us to fill in our forms. They actually took one guy’s passport and filled in the application for him. I was wondering if they would ask for money for that, but in the end they turned out to be taxi drivers and wanted to charge us 300Baht to take us 8 KM or so to Koh Khong. I convince our Check friend to wait a bit and so the 3 of us started to walk toward the town. Meanwhile the taxi driver kept driving next to us trying to get us to go with him and he began to lower his prices a bit. At that point I stuck my thumb out and a huge gravel truck driven by a Thai guy pulled over to give us a ride. The 3 of us climbed into the cab together with our 3 huge backpacks, 1 laptop bag and the Check’s hand luggage. The guy drove us across the bridge to Koh Kong letting us off at the round about. From there we walked another 50 meters or so and parked Richel with the bags while the Check and I looked for a room. There was certainly no shortage of places to stay in Koh Khong. We finally found a room where the guy was willing to drop the price of the room if we bought our Sihanoukville bus tickets from him. We went back to get Richel and on the way back went to the bus station as I wanted to see if we could undercut the guys who were trying to sell us tickets. Turns out we were quoted $12 and $10 prices for tickets for the bus and $20 for the boat. When I asked for a price in Baht it was quoted at 400Baht which is $12. At the bus office they would only discount down to $9 and so in the end we took the discounted room and bought our tickets through the Koh Khong Guest House where we have our discounted $3 room with double bed and bath and now have $10 tickets to Sihanoukville on the 8 AM bus which will pick us up right at the hotel tomorrow.
#4 allen_moretsky has been a member since 14/2/2008. Posts: 13
I hope that whenever someone is made to pay more than the official 20 $, they write to their nearest Cambodian embassy with the name of the official who stamps the passport. I've crossed at Ko Kong twice in -06 and -07 and both times it's been Captain Channa there who, as allen_moretsky said, doesn't handle the payments himself but instead makes his friend in plain clothes (who refuses to give his name) to do it for him.
I know writing to the embassy is probably futile, but I think it's appropriate and worth a shot. I acknowledge that the officials are paid very little and do need extra income, but when they're profiting over 10 $ per passport, it's just greed. First it was 1000 baht, then 1100 and now apparently 1200...
Good post allen_moretsky, I have had exactly the same experience as you on the Hat Lek crossing. The only difference is that you had more stamina than me. After half hour of arguing with the officials I gave up. I hate that border crossing. Moneywise the rip-off means nothing to me, but it is the way that they do it that provokes me. I have'nt had the same experience at the Poipet bordercrossing. Neither, of course, at the airport in PP.
#6 awol has been a member since 6/3/2008. Posts: 2
Sound like someone has had some really bad experiences.. thats a shame. I have crossed that boarder around 10 times, and it has usualy worked out very smoothly... Entering into Thailand should not cost anything, unless you need a visa for thailand you should not have to pay for anything..
I also think the boat trip from Sihanoukville to Koh Kong is quite nice when the wether is good you can sit on the roof, and see beautiful coastline - you even have the option to stop in Koh Sdach (half way) island for a night if you would like to experience something different and less touristy..
#7 kristinholdo has been a member since 30/11/2007. Posts: 11
We are thinking about crossing into Thailand from Cambodia at this crossing. Can anyone tell me whether the road from Sre Ambel to Krong Koh Kong was ever sealed? It is the rainy season and I am trying to avoid the hellish type experience everyone describes for the Siem Reap - Poipet road.
#8 jmartin has been a member since 10/9/2007. Posts: 5
I have read that there have been new bridges and upgrades to the roads recently i found this info on this site http://www.fco.gov.uk it is quite usefull. Also it mentions an eletronic visa is available is this true? as this would stop the likes of captain channa from screwing people over.
does anybody know any more on this or maybe used this visa? http://www.mfaic.gov.kh/e-visa/ is the link?
#9 mrkarlholland has been a member since 17/1/2008. Posts: 9
Hi if anyone in Trat Hat Lek needs to cross over Cambodia for Visa entension re-entry, you got to think over many time and my advice is "Dont ever do it" . Yes we were press to pay 1500bat/ person on entering as visa. We filled up a form and they(imigration)were more then happy when we don't have a passport photo.Paid another 500 bat for a photo shoot inside a room which i dont think there is any film inside the camera. After an hour looking around we decided to head back Thailand and another round of nightmare begin. The Imigration officer look at us and shake his head. He say "no" you cant go back Thailand. We were told to stay 1 day(24hrs) or have to pay 1500bat so call FINE fee in less then 24 hrs after entering.They claim we r making use of Combodia just for the purpose of Visa inorder to stay longer in Thailand which is not fair to Cambodia. We got no choice as our Motobike which we rode here all the way from Singapore is at the Thai Border and risk missing in action with further delay when night fall. We NEVER look back then to this place. Try to get Visa fix in Thailand.