Saturday, 27 August 2016

Cham Yeam to Baan Hat Lek border crossing

Cham Yeam (Cambodia) to Baan Hat Lek (Trat Thailand)

Wed 10.08.2016
Check at Sorya: no buses to Koh Kong any more (and new table with destinations without Koh Kong, while the picture I took in January still had Koh Kong). Lady at counter recommends I take taxi, but then I can find someone else who points me to G.S.T. (about 50 m south-east of Sorya) where I get a ticket to Koh Kong for 9 USD (staff tells me to be at G.S.T. bus station 7:00, departure will be 7:30 from in front of bus station). Furthermore check Mekhong Express and Capitol Tours: no buses to Koh Kong! (I didn’t check with Giant Ibis Transport, Tep Sokha Express and Virak Bothan Bus.)

Thu 11.08.2016
Arrive at G.S.T. bus station 6:45 and show staff my ticket to Koh Kong, then have breakfast around the corner. Then back at 7:25, they put me on a tuk-tuk with two local passengers to drive us to Olympic transport (Olongpich transport, street 217 between street 328 and 338, 11.554733,104.9056134),

where we board the bus and depart 7:42. It takes a while to get out of Phom Penh (slow traffic). Stop at Phnom Penh Bakery 8:23-30, stop for toilet and lunch 11:01-28, arrive at Koh Kong bus station (just a field and a roofed waiting area at 11.6195648,102.9857148 about 1km by road to the bridge) 13:31. Apart from aircon too cold, a quick and pleasant ride that was not delayed by medium rain. (Insert is information table I saw at the bus stop, don't know if this information is correct and complete.)

At the bus station get a motorbike for 3 USD to take me to the border crossing (11 km, 13:34-51), after original asking price of 5 USD. Toll for bridge (1400 Riel) included, don’t know if there is any parking fee as he said, well then that’s included as well. After about 1 km and some small talk in good English, change to another mocy and driver who takes me the rest of the way to the border. Maybe they have only one who speaks good English and approaches foreigners?

View from Cambodian side:

Immigration departure Cambodia 13:54-56, immigration arrival Thailand 14:04-07. The fastest and most pleasant land border crossing I have experienced in South-East Asia (comparison with Nong Khai to Vientiane twice, Vientiane to Nong Khai, Sadao in both directions, Poipet to Aranyaprathet, Luang Prabang to Chiang Rai, Phnom Penh to Saigon).

View from Thai side:

On the Thai side, there are vans (6107 Trat - Khlong Yai - Hat Lek) at the border, they will leave when full (which might take an hour judging by low traffic). Approach mocy taxi drivers and get to narrowest point of Thailand for 60 Baht (about 7 km ride, 14:22-33). After walking around there, hitchhike to Khlong Yai (lady who stops for me even calls songtheo in Khlong Yai and delivers me to their stop – such acts of kindness by strangers happen to me all the time when I travel in non-touristy areas in Thailand, having a good command of Thai probably helps), 60 Baht to Trat (15:09-16:40).

Side note about google maps: Cambodia is not available for download for offline use. But when I zoom in and move around the areas I need on my phone, it saves these areas in cache and I can navigate without internet connection. (I don’t want to buy a SIM card for 3 days in Cambodia, but I want to use google maps.)

For my questions before the trip and report as above but without pictures see here:

Update 6sep2016: just learnt of 
who give Rithy Mony and Virak Buntham as bus companies that run Phnom Penh - Koh Kong buses (with times and prices).

Copyright 2016 ChristianPFC


  1. "After about 1 km and some small talk in good English, change to another mocy and driver who takes me the rest of the way to the border. Maybe they have only one who speaks good English and approaches foreigners?"

    that would be very clever and probably you are right, I has similar experience in Kars, Turkey

  2. 1.there are now 2 online booking tools for Khmer buses: cambus (ticket) and, so you can also see routes and timings. AVOID Virak Buntam-about any forum/expat tells so.
    That bus''station'in KK looks about the same as the one in Battambang for the bis buses.
    2.Yes, motodop drivers-or for that matter anyway offering servicesin KH, will approach barang if they have learnt english. In bigger towns they seem to have divided up their areas to prevent to much of competition and give anyone a reasonable share. Which BTW was also the case when I was kid for all the bakers and milkmen in the village.

  3. Is the amount of time that you get stamped on your passport different for a land border crossing versus arriving via air?

    1. People from most western countries now get 30 days regardless of land or air. Before 1 Nov 2013 it was 15 days on land borders.


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