Poi Pet Departure
What happens when you travel from Cambodia to Thailand through Poi Pet border and you will be denied visa and entry in Thailand by Thai Immigration? First let’s start at the beginning. You reach Poi Pet border, usually by bus from Siem Reap. Every bus passenger needs to get off the bus with all the luggage they have with them. You walk 50 meter from the bus to the small departure building of Cambodian immigration. Above the entrance on green board you’ll see the text departure. Get inside and wait in one of the three or four queues. When it’s your turn you hand over your passport with the small departure card, written. You put your four fingers of one hand on the device and then the thumb. After that the same order with your other hand. You get back your passport with departure stamp and get on to the Thai immigration building after 200 meters.
Thai Visa Denied
You can read in the post “Thai Tourist Visa rejected – Thai immigration” more about what can happen and how at the Thai immigration. You can be denied visa and entry into Thailand for whatever reason. What will be next as a result of that? It turns out that you won’t be allowed to walk out of the Thai building yourself after your bad experience with the Thai officials. Even though on paper you would be in no men’s land, or in between land. It’s unclear who rules there, if anyone.
You’re not free to do whatever you want to. No, a Thai official walks you out of their building while they keep your passport together with the official document they gave you for denying entry. Downstairs outside she hands it over to a guy in casual clothes and orders you to follow him. He walks somewhat suspiciously around, picking up trash here ‘n there to throw in a dustbin. Excuse me? An official picking up trash? No, don’t have any illusions. The Thai official just forced you in the dodgy bribe and corruption situation and you know they feed you to the wolves.
Where do you go
The first wolf that picked up trash then orders you to follow him. But that’s just a 15 meter or so before at least one other wolf got to him and takes over your passport with document. Now you gotta be on alert, but no need for panic. You can only hope for a low cost solution to your problem. The wolf can actually turn out to be a friendly guy who explains you the procedure, just when you wonder what’s next. You follow him back to the Poi Pet, Cambodian side, as that is the only option left to go.
Rules or Laws
The official rules or laws for these kind of situations are unclear to us. Is Cambodia obliged to let you back in by their law, by international law, or by Thai pressure? Under which circumstances? It might be a part of your speculation while walking. The dodgy circuit has been started by the Thais. The last guy explaines you that your Cambodian departure stamp, which you got when leaving Cambodia about two hours earlier, has to be cancelled. Sounds logic if you wanna get back into Cambodia. The other imaginable solution is to buy a new Cambodian visa on arrival, but it’s unclear to us if that’s possible without having a departure stamp of another country that you came out from.
A little whispering here ‘n there to some Cambodian official in uniform with a smile, somewhat different from the Thai smile. Just take one of the seats in the Cambodian arrival building and wait patiently, but keep an eye on the guy who guided you and still has your passport. By now your passport is handed over again and it’s no longer clear who has it or where it is. In this building it’s not allowed to make pics. It might be smart to take a pic at some point from the guide or others involved. Just for your own convenience.
Within 10 minutes another casual guy turns up and comes to get money for cancelling your departure stamp. The cost for that is $20. If that’s a fixed price for every victim of the Thais, is not clear. A new visa visa cost you $35, so this $20 dollar seems reasonable to us. Who gets how much you will never know. Within 30 minutes you have your passport back with an official departure canceled stamp. Even your turned in small departure card has been found back and stapled in your passport.
The guide takes you out. Here he repeatedly talks about a taxi back to Siem Reap, but he can also let you know about a bus option. It probably depends on which guy you got stuck to. When you walk out of the building and turn around, looking to the Thai side, you will see the buses that are waiting for their passengers who are on the way from Bangkok to Siem Reap. You can easily walk to one of them and explain your problem and ask if you can get on the bus. It’s more waiting and therefore later back that day in Siem Reap, after an already unexpectedly tiring day.
Taxi & Tips
The so called taxi, a private car, cost around 1300 THB ($40) for the 2,5 hr ride, while the bus ticket for a full trip BKK-SR cost $23. This means that the piece from the border might cost you max half of that. You might opt for the car to get out of that situation and ordeal as soon as possible. Pay the 1300 baht to the driver, before or after the ride. You might be able to bargain on that price.
Only then, when stepping in the car, the guide who took you by the hand and helped you and/or explained you asks for a tip for him. Not a pushy guy, but you might get to deal with another one. What would be a reasonable tips? It’s all up to you how much you appreciate things or value things. He possibly has a minimum in mind, but is obvious glad with $20. When you ask him, you get to know more about what he knows about the Thai side, the why’s, as he hangs around there daily. He can also tell you about how to get a long stay Cambodian visa. He can give his number and be of some help in the future too.
This post is not about Thai visa overstay. Just to inform and warn you we added this picture of a sign at the immigration office.
The above mentioned is what has happened and will happen with travelers. The taxi option comes to the point that you left Siem Reap by 8 am and you’ll be back in Siem Reap around 4 pm, depending on how long the queues were at the Thai Immigration for both the normal line and the interview queue. A video of the complete process can be seen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W50wWy7pJPs&feature=youtu.be