And so it was time to get our bags and leave for another country…again. We’re almost at the last leg of our Indochina trip and we were headed to Bangkok! We were about to cross the dreaded Poipet-Aranyaprathet border.
We had a hearty breakfast, and to our surprise, Ta Som’s staff handed us souvenirs while we were waiting for our bus. 🙂
It was a little past 8:00 am when the Capitol bus arrived. Shortly after we got on-board, we were handed departure cards for immigration. Unlike in Mekong Express, no snacks, bottled water, or even cold towels were given. Good thing we bought water and some snack from the nearby convenience store before we left. We need to use the few Riels we have anyway since it’s worthless outside of Cambodia.
The trip from Siem Reap to Poipet (Cambodia’s border) took about three hours. We stopped at the roundabout near the border where the Capitol bus staff got our tickets and gave us a blue diamond sticker to put on our shirts. This is because we were going to take a different bus from Aranyaprathet to Bangkok. A different Capitol bus staff will be waiting for us there.
Image from Wikipedia
At that time, there were only a handful of people at the immigration counter so I went to the restroom first. When I got back, I was surprised to find that a number of people were already in line. I looked around to check if there were still people from our group (ones with the blue diamond stickers on) and there were a few, but they were ahead of us. It probably took each person 5-10 minutes at the counter. It must be because of the VOA (visa on arrival). At this point, I was already worried that we were left by the bus because it seemed everyone from our group had already passed the border.
Finally it was my turn and the procedure was the same as when we entered Cambodia. The immigration officer got the departure card and asked me to place my hand on the scanner; right hand, right thumb, left hand, left thumb. After getting our passports stamped, we had to walk several meters (on the left side) to get past the Poipet arch and walked some more until we reached the Thai immigration building.
We went straight inside and filled up arrival cards, lined up, and got our passports stamped. When we reached the exit, we saw the same people from our bus and it seemed they had been waiting for us (and a couple more people) for a while now. As soon as everyone was there, the Capitol staff led us to the terminal.
It was a few minutes walk to the terminal where they split our group into two since they only had minibuses available. Each minibus can only accommodate 12 passengers. Shortly after we left the terminal, we passed by a checkpoint where an officer (he was in a military uniform) asked for everyone’s passport for inspection. Overall, the trip from Aranyaprathet to Khao San Road took about four hours with two 20-30 minute stop overs at gas stations. Thailand has good roads so the journey was smooth.
Prior to the trip I’ve read several unpleasant border crossing experiences so I’m thankful that we had a hassle-free one.