Cham Yeam not recommended for Upon Arrival Visa

  • If you want to come to Cambodia expecting to take your visa Upon Arrival, avoid the Cham Yeam International Border: they will overcharge you more than 100 USD visa.
  • If you complain, they will close the window, meaning pay or go back. 
  • If you don’t have a previous visa, prefer the Poipet border from Thailand. 
  • If you are a victim of corrupt authorities in Cambodia, don’t speak in English. Use a third language or do as you don’t understand English, it will help you – although it is valid for citizens of Non-English-Speaking countries… it would be unbelievable a Briton saying they can’t speak English :) Still the option to say “I don’t understand your English.” 

If you don’t have a previous Cambodian visa (such one taken in an embassy, consulate or e-visa), avoid to enter the country through the Cham Yeam International Border. The authorities there will overcharge you. Citizens from 9 countries of the planet need to take a visa in a Cambodian consulate before traveling. They are not allowed to take e-visa. Those countries are Afghanistan, Algeria, Arab Saudi, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Nigeria, this last one was recently included. The rest of the world can come to Cambodia just with a valid passport, two photographs and 30 USD dollars. You can make your visa just Upon Arrival and it is really efficient. But it is not the same in Cham Yeam, the crossing from the Thai province of Trat to the Cambodian province of Koh Kong. If you don’t have a previous visa, the authorities will overcharge you with fees until 100 USD for a visa! The worst is that if you complain, they close the window and you are finished. It is like “pay or go back.” In order to avoid this situation, if you intend to enter Cambodia by land expecting to make your visa upon arrival from Thailand prefer the Poipet International Border.

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The routes between Cambodia and Thailand using the Cham Yeam International Gate. It is very practical if you go from Bangkok to Sihanoukville, however, use it only if you have a previous visa already. Taking an Upon Arrival visa this point makes you victim of overcharge, especially during the high season.

One strategy that has worked with me before when one meets a corrupt authority in the Cambodian streets is to express that we don’t speak English. Speak in Spanish, French or Arab and they will lost patience and let you go. However, this would not apply for citizens from English-speaking countries. It would be funny to hear an Australian, Irish, English or American saying they can’t speak English. Still the possibility to say “I don’t understand your English”.

Foreigners in Thailand

If you are traveling to Thailand in this moment or you are there, it is appropriate to take some security measures. Keep contact with your embassy. Traditionally, Thai political turbulences keep distance from the tourist industry, but be aware of incidents. Here some recommendations:

- Keep your passport and all travel documents with you all the time. Provide it to any authority if they request to see them.

- If you are travelling in group, please stay all the time in connection with your agency and the tour leaders, especially passing any security checkpoint.

- You have to know that the taxi services at the Suvarnabhumi Airport are available 24 hours. The taxis have a sticker displayed on the front windscreen as Suvarnabhumi Taxis. Please use them, because officials will allow access for those vehicles only.

- If you need any other information or assistance, contact the Survarnabhum Airport Call Center (number phone: 1722).

- Keep with you the number phone of your embassy or consulate and follow news.

- The press has been restricted (censorship). Please don’t take photos or videos of sensitive areas. Stay aways from political gatherings of security checkpoints.

- The army announced a countrywide curfew from 10PM to 5AM. Please follow instructions by the authorities.

Other interesting links:

Why Cambodians migrate to Thailand

Phnom Penh. CARAM Cambodia, USAID and WINROCK International celebrated a forum directed to the private sector at the Cambodiana Hotel on Friday with about 50 participants from government, private sector, NGOs, migrant workers’ representatives and stakeholders. Sam Somuny, the CARAM’s project officer said that the forum was promoted by the official National Employment Agency of the Ministry of Labor and his NGO. The event was also attended by ten workers that were deported from Thailand for illegal employment in that country.  Continue reading

The son of the snake, an erotic Cambodian symbol

Puah Kong Kaep

Cambodian beauty Ampor Tevi as Noun with Thai star Winai Kraibutr as Mek, the snake’s son in 2001 Keng Kang Snake film by director Phai Somang.

There is currently an authentic explosion of the Cambodian cinema and it can open the doors to a new golden time for national filmmakers, as it was before the wars of the 1970’s. Cambodians have the talent, creativity and willing to produce their own movies and, with a best investment and support from national and international sponsorship, it is possible to guarantee a successful film industry in the Kingdom of Wonder. However, all these national productions go unreported either inside or outside Cambodia. There is a lack of film criticism, an element that is very important to discuss about what we watch and create.  Continue reading

Elephants recovery from global warnming

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Visiting the Central World Plaza, the sixth largest shopping center of the planet at the Bangkok downtown, you cannot skip to admire the bronze elephants’ sculpture at the side of the Ratchadamri Avenue. It is not possible to see who’s the artist, but it seems to keep an influence by Colombian international recognized sculptor Fernando Botero. Thinking on it, I looked for the author and it is not a Boteros’ work, but it is named Elephants recovery from global warming, a gift by Central Pattana and Thai Beverage Public Company on December 2009 (2552 in Thailand.) It is made by three elephants: mother, father and a baby searching for water, represented in the beautiful fountains at the site. The art calls the attention on global warming and the need to preserve our planet. The elephant is a national symbol in Thailand.

An apostle of the refugee camps to honor forever

Fr Pierre Ceyrac at the Khmer Refugee Camp Site II in Thailand by 1985. Photo courtesy websitesrcg.com. 

Too many organizations must receive recognition for their commitment to the people during the most troublesome moments of the Cambodian history like the time of civil war and conflict. The Cambodians of the unforgettable refugee camps in Thailand keep by sure a good memory of those institutions and their members spending their times and resources to support the most needed. Continue reading

Lonely… ‘Khmer’

Hua Hin. Visiting ‘Amazing Thailand‘ from the ‘Kingdom of Wonders.’ I got the 2010’s edition of Lonely Planet about Thailand (13th edition, January 2010) to read in my 12 hours bus travel from Sihanoukville to Bangkok. I have to recognize that I admire the work of Lonely Planet. It is real original and well documented. Then it is made upon the research of writers living or working in the country. The history of Thailand, according with this 2010 edition (p. 29-40), is a complete resume. I noticed only a great absent: Cambodia. Actually, it is a pity that the use of references is poor in the article. It is  said, for example, that a ‘modern linguistic theory and archaeological evidence‘  – which ones? – ‘suggest that the first true agriculturists in the world, perhaps also the first metal workers, spoke an early form of Thai and lived in what we know today as Thailand (p. 29).’ How can Lonely Planet say it? From where this conclusion came?  Continue reading