Claes Johansson Asia 2010 travel blog

The Thai immigration in Aranya Prathet.

23 April.

Early morning wake up and leaving the Rajah Mansion at 5 o’clock in the morning for a taxi trip to Mo Chit, Bangkok’s Northern Bus station. Bus stations are always a big thrill, because almost all information is on Thai language and script. However I managed to buy a ticket to Aranya Prathet on the Thai- Cambodian border 210 km away. Aranya Prathet is the closest border passing to Bangkok. 6 o’clock I was on my way to the border for my visa-run. After 4 hours, when I arrived to bus station in Aranya Prathet, the first thing I noticed was that the temperature was incredible hot. The temperature during the last days in Bangkok has been just below 40°C, but here it was at least a couple degrees warmer. From the bus station I took a tuk-tuk to the border some 5-6 kilometres further away. Now a circus starts. The tuk-tuk driver don’t take me to the border, instead he stop at a place along the way, on the sign I could read “Visa Service”. Inside there everything goes very fast, I was told different costs, like Cambodian visa cost, service cost and other costs. It smelled mafia and corruption long way and for a while I felt that my money was flying away. They took my passport and they filled in all documents, which I needed, the only thing I have to do was to write my signature in five or six times. After the paper work, I was given a “personal assistant” and then we continued the trip to the border. At the border, the assistant gave me my own passport and told me to go inside the Thai Immigration and check out of Thailand. After that I entered the sealed off transit area between the Thai and Cambodian immigrations, there my assistant show up again and take me across the road to the entrance of the Thai immigrations and there he told me to wait and he also taking back my passport and running over to the Cambodian side. About 10 minutes later he comes back and once again hand over my passport to me, now with all necessary Cambodian stamps and he told me to go throw the Thai immigration again. Back in Thailand again, now with 15 new days, I looked at my watch and noticed that I been here in Aranya Prathet lesser than 90 minutes and was already clear with all procedures. Aranya Prathet it self has nothing to offer a tourist except for a huge border market. For a while I had some ideas to have a look at it if I had some time left. But the heat made me to give up that idea. I also gave up the idea to take the train back to Bangkok for the same reason. An air-conditioned bus was the only reasonable alternative. 12.30 o’clock I left Aranya Prather for Bangkok.

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