The airport & immigration of Siem Reap has been mentioned in old posts on this site. The chaos and unorganized way things were happening. The unfriendly employees/officers and missing arrival cards and something to declare cards. Have things been improved by July ’19?
Visa on Arrival
In the past it was common that passengers were searching for immigration arrival cards and something to declare cards in the airport arrival terminal. This issue seems to be solved by giving the passengers those cards already in the plane before landing. Just as that’s the case when you fly to Thailand or other countries. This speeds up the whole process at the visa on arrival section at the airport. At Siem Reap International Airport you walk out of the plane to the arrival hall. No bus takes you there.
When you enter the terminal you see immediately on your right hand side three ATM’s of different banks. There you can get your cash in USD to pay for your visa on arrival. That visa cost you $30 for a tourist visa and $35 for an ordinary visa. What’s the difference? A tourist visa is valid for one month and can be extended only once with one extra month. An ordinary visa has a same validity of one month but after that can be extended to a 3 months or 6 months visa of different types. One type is a long holiday visa and another type is a business visa. Both those types of visa need to be extended after the one month that you get at the airport. For business visa you need to show paperwork related to it once you apply for it.
You might look full of disbelief at the line of 9-12!! officers. The first officer takes your passport and in case you apply for an ordinary visa asks you what you do (or plan to) in Cambodia. He might discuss with his superior and takes a copy of your passport. You pay the $35 and are ordered to walk to the point of the last officer of the 12.
The one who returns your passport with visa sticker. From there you turn 180 degrees and walk to the immigration officers who give you an arrival stamp. Once you’ve passed that, you’re at the baggage claim to pick up your baggage in case you have that. There you walk to the right side to get out of the building.
Once you’re out of the building you will see the kind of chaos that every airport has. Screaming and waiting locals, guides or others who are looking for the right person with name signs or just for any customer for their taxi or tuktuk. You can either go into discussion with one of them or ignore them and walk to the left. The exit gate of the airport is just a minute walk and you can get tuktuk’s there too for $4 which is a reasonable price and not a rip off. In case you prefer first to buy a local Cambodian sim card for your phone, then you walk out of the terminal to the right hand side. There you find a few small places of different phone company’s to buy a sim card. Smart is one of them.
Departure is somewhat more simple and fast than arrival. You enter the small departure terminal and get to check-in. After that the usual immigration check point and stamp out. There they take the stapled departure card out of your passport and give your departure stamp. Following is a small area of shops. They are called duty free worldwide but in the case of certain products you can buy cheaper or for a same price in town or at one of the duty free shops in town. Some alcoholic drinks are not cheaper on airports than they are in shops in town. The same counts for some tobacco products.
You wait at your gate for departure. There are coffee shops and shops where you can get a bite and a beer. Delays in flights can happen. Especially when you fly with Cebu Pacific. As the airport of Siem Reap is small, you don’t need to be there 3 hours before your flight departure. 2 or 2,5 hrs will do for sure. No walking distances, no airport express trains whatsoever. All in all there isn’t much to say about the luck of the day or an officer in a bad mood, as you can have them at any airport around Asia.