updated July 17, 2008
These are reports detailing experiences traveling independently between Thailand and Cambodia by way of Phsa Prom and Daun Lem. These are new crossings connecting Cambodia with Thailand in Chantaburi province. If you'd like to share your own experiences, please e-mail them to me.
Onward tickets (July 2008):
Just wanted to give an update as I found the info useful before we crossed the other day (9th July 08). We left Battambang at 7.00 am in shared taxi and made it to Prom by 10.30 am. Both the Cambodia immigration and Thai immigration asked to see proof of onward travel from Thailand. Luckily I'd read about this and so had booked a flight on the Thai Airways website - and selected the "pay at travel agents within 72 hours" option. I then just printed the front confirmation page. They were happy with that and we were waved through.
We then got a moto to Khlong Yai, a pick up bus thing to Chantaburi, a bus to Ban Phe and made it to the island of Koh Samet by 15.30 pm. So we were stoked.
It would have been a pretty miserable day if we hadn't had proof of onward travel however. Don't leave home without it!
Bangkok to Battambang (January 2008):
I arrived in Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) on Saturday 22 December 2007 at approx. noon.
Arrived Chanthaburi at approx. 19:00 hrs, night had already fallen and it was too late to make it out to the border. 20 THB motosai to River Guesthouse, where I spent the night. Decent room with A/C and hot water for 350 THB. This change meant that my first night in Cambodia would be in Battambang instead of Pailin as previously planned. Note to future travellers on this route: You'd want to leave Bangkok by about 10 am at the latest in order to be in Pailin before nightfall.
The ride to Pailin took about half an hour, as soon as I arrived I was accosted by 5 or 6 taxi touts all offering a ride to Battambang. Bought 2 front seats for USD10. Had an 'ace' driver who drove like a speed demon to Battambang but somehow it felt like he was in complete control. Route is unpaved the whole way. The roller coaster ride itself was worth the price of admission. Made Battambang in record time, definitely not the 4 hours mentioned in some guidebooks. I was checked into the Royal Hotel in Battambang by about 14:00 hrs. Booked a ticket (USD15) on the 7 am boat to Siem Reap departing the following morning.
Another scam warning (December 2007):
If you travel overland from Thailand to Cambodia, the border crossing at Ban Pakkard/Prum (from Chanthaburi to Pailin) is arguably the friendliest place to get into Cambodia. I have never been overcharged or cheated in any way by Cambodian Immigration officers at that border. No scams, no hassles but always lots of friendly smiles. Unfortunately this can not be said for the reverse trip from Battambang/Pailin to Chanthaburi.
More onward ticket problems (December 2007):
Had the same problem as the guy in October. No onward ticket - No visa. Had to head north for 2hrs including stops to buy the bogus bus ticket.
Thai onward ticket scams (October 2007):
I was recently on a visa run to Prom, near Pailin, with the hopes of spending a few days in Thailand and returning to Cambodia and obtaining a business visa. It was the last day of my Cambodian tourist extension visa and I was promptly stamped out of Prom. I walked over to the Thai immigration, had my bags searched by the military and continued over to the Thai border. There I was met by the Thai representaive who instantly asked to see my return ticket out of Thailand. Thinking that a quiet border such as Prom would be easy to cross, I knew instantly I was mistaken. He took no excuses and sent me back.
After a minute or two of shaking my head , getting the thoughts of pad siew gai out of my brain, I returned to the Cambodian border, told the men that the Thais are crazy, and requested my business visa. They however said I couldnt get a new visa without a Thai stamp, Catch 22. They sent a guy back with my passport to see if something counldnt be done. He returned to say that I could get my Cambodian exit stamp cancelled, have my departure card returned, rent a motodop, and head to Daun/Lem. I had no other choice and spent 300 baht on a moto for a 90 minute tour through the back roads of Pailin. It was a very enjoyable trip despite the downpour and inconvenience.
Upon arriving in Daun, I had to purchase a return bus ticket for 200 baht, to show the Thai immigration. I was sent to what was called the casino, saw a sign for bus ticket, and was greeted by 2 very nice women. They gave me a Thai-Cambodian Cooperation Bus ticket, photocopied it along with my passport, and I had to provide one photo. I enquired where this bus ticket would take me and after a pause and a smile, they said, no place. I said fine, thank you and headed to the Cambodian border post. I was swiftly stamped out, walked to the Thai side and displayed my new bus ticket which they happily accepted and gave me 30 days. I then had to find a mnivan which leaves every 90 minutes to Chantaburi, paid my 100 baht and had a nice sleep at the River Guest House.
The good news is that Prom is hoping to get this bogus bus ticket thing going on their border, it will save us all a 300 baht trip around the Cardamons. The other news is I met a guy who just came from Koh Kong at the River GH and he was not asked for a ticket out of Thailand. So it looks like this is still the best bet for a visa run, for now.
Hopefully a new government in Thailand will get things back to the way they were, but I doubt it, welcome to the world of air tickets and bogus buses.
Slower but more relaxing (August 2007):
After experiencing the notorious Bangkok - Poipet - Siem Reap bus trip with my girlfriend three years ago, I had reservations about using this border for my second trip to Cambodia. After reading on this site about the charmless touts and the extortionate demands of the Poipet taxi mafia, I made the decision to avoid the Poipet border altogether and use the border crossing at Ban Pakard/Pailin instead. Although this is a longer route to Siem Reap than the more direct approach through Poipet, we were in no rush and didn't mind taking an extra day.
The bus trip from Bangkok's Eastern bus station (Ekamai) to Chanthaburi took four comfortable hours and cost around 150 baht. After spending the night in the main guesthouse by the river, we made the short walk over the bridge the following morning to catch a 10am mini-bus to the Ban Pakard border, about one and a half hours, 150 baht. The border itself was a very quiet and relaxed affair, a complete contrast to the squalid tout infested Aranyaprathet/Poipet border that I crossed three years earlier. Due to the small number of people passing through this border, we spent at most a few minutes queuing. Getting our visas proved to be relatively straightforward ; the border guard did ask us for $25 but when I repeatedly insisted that the visa was $20, something like "map-payee" in Khmer, with as much affected politeness as I could stomach, he quickly relented, returned our passports with new visas in place, and we were on our way. The whole passport/visa process took a mere five to ten minutes.
From here we found two moto-drivers, actually they found us, who agreed to take us the to Pailin for 100 baht each. The moto trip to Pailin was a delightfully scenic twenty minute journey. We did have a 'where are they taking us?' moment when our drivers turned off the main road and took us down some very narrow lanes - it turned out to be a short cut and we eventually rejoined the main road. On arrival in Pailin our moto-drivers, with cheeky grins, decided the price was now 150 baht, the cheek! Naturally we didn't pay the cheeky price but I had already decided that I wanted to add a tip for such an enjoyable journey and they were happy to accept - smiles all around. After a half-hour iced-coffee break in the first restaurant we could find, we headed out into the main street to look for a taxi to Battambang. Once again little time was wasted, within five minutes we had secured a taxi for $25. Our taxi was the ubiquitous Toyota Camry and our journey through more lush green countryside, took two and a half hours, and not the three to four hours quoted by out of date guidebooks and websites. By 4pm we were checked in at the highly recommended and very friendly Royal Hotel in Battambang and enjoying a late lunch plus cold beers on their roof-top restaurant.
Our onward trip to Siem Reap involved taking a 5/6 hour Rith Mony local bus for $5 or $6. Overall our route from Bangkok to Siem Reap involved a few more travelling hours than going through the Poipet border but I am very glad that we opted to use the Ban Pakard/Pailin border as it gave us a much more scenic and less stressfull introduction to this fascinating and beautiful country.
Bangkok to Battambang via Chantaburi and Pailin (May 2007):
Woke up early (8 am) and got on the skytrain to Ekkamai bus station. Got a ticket for Chanthaburi for I think about 4 dollars. Buses appear to leave every hour from 7 am till about 1 pm. I arrived at the bus station in Chanthaburi, took me about three minutes to brush off the moto drivers and found someone who was willing to take me to the Riverside GH (per prior travelers instructions I read on this post) for I think about 100 baht (actually might have been less). I found it to be a nice GH, that was reasonably inexpensive and clean. Not much to do in Chanthaburi, but I did find a pretty nice restaurant that was across the river and off to the right (a woman named Apple at Riverside GH showed me where it was on the map she gave me – maybe a 7 minute walk). The food was good.
The next morning I made it to the mini bus taxi right across the river and they will drive you to the border for 150 bht. I think they start at 9 am and leave every hour till 1 or 2. Once there I thought I was going to have a problem because on the Thai side they said I needed to show a onward flight before they'd let me leave. I was told these are new rules, but they did accept my eTicket without any problem. On the Cambodian side I ran into a small issue because I didn't have a photo. The immigration officer said that he could fix it for me for 100 baht. Here is where my negotiating skills came in very handy, because I simply said "Okay". I thought he was going to take my picture and this seemed a reasonable price, but no it was just a bribe or what ever you want to call it. No one tried to over charge me for the visa (standard 20 bucks) and everyone was very friendly (on both sides) and the whole process took about 10 minutes. There was literally no one in line except me.
From there I got a moto driver to take me to Palin for I think about 2 US (can't remember actually, wasn't much). He dropped me off to a taxi buddy of his who charged me 6 US to take me to Battambang. For some reason because I paid in baht it I ended up paying 8, not sure why it turned out that way – either I screwed up on the conversion or he just upped his exchange rate. The taxi was packed with people, four in the back four in the front. He was trying to tell me before we left to buy two seats, but I wasn't sure what he was talking about till it was too late. This sort of sucked and if I do it again I will buy two seats. From there he dropped me off at a taxi station a little outside of town and a moto driver drove me to the main market for about 25 cents. That's it. If I really wanted to I could have probably saved 5 or 6 bucks via harder negotiation. Also so much easier then Poipet (though I did that crossing 4 years ago – I doubt it's any better). I don't remember the exact details of how much this cost me and these are rough estimates so don't quote me on the exact the prices. All in all, it was pretty cheap and an interesting way to go.
Battambang > Pailin > Bangkok > Chiang Mai (March 2007):
-From Battambang to Pailin/Phrom
Siem Reap to Battambang to Thailand (March 2007):
We took the boat to Battermbang from Siem Reap and spent almost 12hrs to get there. The boat is stuck at the narrow river because the dry season and there is a 1.5hrs drive of completely off-road after we got off the boat.
The road from Battermbang to Pailin is quite scenery, and the road condition is almost the same as to Poipet. It took about 2.5hrs to get Paillin and costed THB$1300. Although people always tell you the road is much worse than to Poipet, I think it's quite not true. After crossing the border, you can take a motorbike to the main road, then it's easy to get a bus to Chanthaburi. We passed this way on 2/23 without any problem.
Battambang to Bangkok (November 2006):
We paid $22 for a private taxi from Battambang to Pailin - two places in a share taxi would have been $10 but we didn't want to wait for the taxi to fill up and wanted the extra leg room! The trip took about 3.5 hours - the road was pretty bumpy but ok (dry and bridges intact).
In Pailin we paid $5 for two motos to the border. Trip took about 25 minutes, again the road was ok, not great but ok. Worth checking out the suspension of your moto before heading off! Very scenic ride as the hills rise up around you.
The border was quick and easy, no queues, no scams, no other Westerners, Thai entry stamp available for free.
The minibus park is on the left about 200m after the Thai border. The guy at the desk told us we'd have to pay 1200 baht to hire a minibus to ourselves, or we'd have to get a moto to the nearest town (Klong Yai) for 30 baht and get a songthaew from there. Just as we were about to do that… a minibus was suddenly leaving to Chantaburi and tickets were 200 baht. In fact there are plenty of minibuses leaving to Chantaburi but no English signs to identify them - just walk round the carpark and ask for Chanthaburi. Ignore the guy at the desk.
Trip to Chanthaburi took about 90 minutes. The minibus dropped us at the bus station and there were plenty of buses leaving to Bangkok. The trip to Bangkok Mo Chit took about 5 hours (bad traffic into Bangkok).
Total time about 12 hours from Battambang to central Bangkok.
A quick lowdown on getting to the border (December 2005):
The 10 A.M. express bus from Ekamai, for Ko Chang, stops in Chanthaburi. Three hours, 180b. River G/H has o.k. rooms up to 350b, a decent restaurant, but lacks info, however just over the bridge, same side as g/h, is a covered compound with a fleet of mini-vans that do the border/casino run every hour for 150b, first is 09:00, around one and a half hours. border is a breeze, no punters and lots of o.k. staff. bike into Pailin 80b. A share taxi to Battambang $5, JOURNEY TIME ONE HOUR. The latest L.P. guide has it as four hours ????.
Siem Reap to Bangkok via Battambang and Pailin (November 2005):
Boat from Siem Reap to Battambang: Lovely 6 hour trip, my favourite one in Cambodia so far. Very scenic and great fishing people along the way, plus the floating villages and kids waving at you everywhere, lovely. The already low water which makes it very difficult to navigate though, especially in the small "canals" about half way. Almost hit another boat coming from the opposite direction because there was no space for two boats and of course both were too fast!
In Battambang share taxi to Paillin, road in good condition, only 2 hours, 5$ per seat. Motorbike to the border, 2$, about 20 minutes for the 25 km. Share taxi was 2,5$ if I understood them correctly, but you have to wait of course.
Border crossing very quick, no touts, no hassles, I was the only foreigner. The only thing the Thais try to do is to make you take a private taxi by saying it is the only option, especially when you arrive late as I did. The taxi driver sat down with me from my arrival on and helped me to fill out the visa form to introduce himself already. Pretty typical.
So, I sat down beside the immigration officer, had a drink and a chat, and, as I was just about to take a motorbike to the next city, suddenly there was a minibus leaving to Chanthaburi for 100 baht! Surprise!
You can just go there at once, the parking of the minibuses is about 150m after the immigration point to the left. The immigration guys drove me there (nice one!), but I think u can just go there directly and ask for Chanthaburi, there are always Thais there heading to or leaving the Casino as in Poipet. One of the guys of the bus took me to a simple but nice thai hotel in Chanthaburi and then the bus to Bangkok the following morning for 173 baht, 5 hours, leaves every full hour.
Bangkok to Chantaburi to Pailin and beyond (September 2005):
I did the crossing from Chantaburi to Pailin in Sept. 2005. I took a bus from Bangkok to Chantaburi. I stayed in Chantaburi overnight. I took a van to the border from next to the Bangkok Bank in downtown Chantaburi. The van was supposed to leave at 8:30. But, it left at 9:00. It was 110 baht. It took about an hour to travel to the border at Ban Pakkard. The van parked at the parking lot. The Thai immigration is to the right. I walked to the office and was processed fairly swiftly. I then walked over into Cambodia. It was a short, 10 minute walk to Cambodian immigration. There was a visa on arrival service available. However, I had a visa from the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok. I was stamped in, pretty quickly. I then got a moto to Pailin. The moto was 100 baht. A taxi was availble for $5.00 or 200 baht. It is a 20 kilometer ride to Pailin. I stayed at the Krong Meas, to the right, as you enter Pailin. They have nice, quiet rooms. There is some cheaper accomodation near the market. Later, I took a taxi to Battambang for 200 baht. The road was so-so. It was passable. I later went from Battambang to Poipet, two different vehicles for 160 baht. The Sisophon-Poipet road is bad.
Bangkok to Battambang (December 2004):
This details the journey from Bangkok in Thailand to Battambang in Cambodia
by way of border crossing at Pha Khat in Thailand via Pailin in Cambodia.
Stayed one night in Chantaburi as I arrived in the early evening. I stayed
at the River Guest House (very highly recommended place if you need to
stay the night. 350B with shower & A/C).
Battambang to Bangkok with some funny minibus prices (August 2004):
Fares are same as always, 200B for front seat in a taxi from Battambang to Pailin and then 200B for the vehicle to the border. Onwards I got a songtheaw from the crossing to Chanthaburi as despite information from others I could not get the minibus from border to Chanthaburi. Was told first by an agent and then by the immigration official that a SEAT in the minibus was 1,000B per person. Despite my protestations (in Thai) that I'd been told there was an hourly minibus for 100B, they continued to say the only way to go was the 1,000B seat bullshit. I was in a hurry and got bored with their crap, and so got a moto to Ban Khlong Yai (20B) and then the songtheaw into Chanthaburi (35B and 1.5 hours) onwards to Bangkok by bus - be sure to get the express bus (that doesn't go via Chonburi town). Overall trip was Battambang-Bangkok 10 hours.
The road from Battambang to Pailin has deteriorated badly. Luckily it had been dry for the previous couple of days and so we had no bogging problems, after rain, this trip would be very time consuming. As it was it took 3 hours instead of the usual 2. My driver said a week ago the trip has taken 7 hours (yes seven) including a two hour stop where the road was totally blocked by a bogged lorry. If you're in Battambang and it's raining heavily, I'd strongly suggest considering heading up to the Poipet crossing via Sway (Sisophon). Road from Pailin to border was ok, rutted in places, but no big deal, though another bridge is about to go - I give it a month. The worst stretch of road is oddly towards the Battambang end of the trip.
Bangkok to Battambang (August 2004):
Phnom Penh to Bangkok and back by way of Pailin (June 2004):
Started at Phsar Thmei at 6.20 am entered Bangkok apartment 8.30pm so it took just over 14 hours to do the whole trip.
Arrived at Phsar Thmei to get a share taxi, first timers may find the taxi drivers a little intimidating - just pretend they're not there and go to the fullest left-hand drive car and the driver will find you. Left Phsar Thmei at 6.30 and got to Battambang in an excellent time of three hours five minutes!! The road is excellent - sealed throughout, though four or five bridges were being replaced, one looked like it had collapsed. As is still very dry, this didn't cause any delays at all, though if they're not complete by the time the rains well and truly get started the trip could slow down a little. I had the front seat to myself $10.
At Battambang I had to get a motodop over to Phsar Leu, which is a small market/pickup station at the southern end of town (just past turn-off to killing fields). From here the share taxis to Pailin leave. Had to wait about 30 minutes for one to fill up, fare was 150B per person, trip took 2 hours. The road is not sealed - hardbase and bits of road all over the place, but after heavy rain can imagine it becoming quite a disaster area and the trip could easily lengthen to 3+ hours.
From Pailin it is 50B per person in a share taxi to the border which is around 20km away. There was no one else waiting and people said I could be waiting for hours, so I took a whole taxi (the same one I took from Battabang) it cost 200B. The driver offered to show me Kheiu Samphan's house, but I didn't bother.
Cross border no worries, though the Khmer authorities showed a fair amount of interest in my passport.
From the Thai side it is a 20B motorbike ride to the songtheaw station - it is too far too walk. I had to wait almost an hour before the songtheaw left. It took 1.5 hours to reach Chanthaburi and cost 35B. It drops you opposite the bus station.
Chanthaburi to Bangkok, there are stacks of buses, I took the 4 o'clock 2nd class one to Ekamai, took 3.5 hours and cost 148B.
Trip back (Bangkok to Phnom Penh) via the same route was pretty much the same.
Border officials will try for 1,000B, but will except USD20 no problems - all smiles.
Return trip Battambang to Phnom Penh leg took 4.5 hours (heavy rain most of the way) so seems the 3 hour trip I had on the way there was very out of the ordinary.
If you have money to burn you can get a taxi straight from border to Battambang for 1,200B for the vehicle, so if you're in a hurry and don't want to mess around in Pailin getting a share taxi (I had to wait an hour for one to fill up) then that is an option worth considering.
Arriving at Battambang at 4pm, no problems getting a share taxi to Phnom Penh, one was ready to go, and there were at least three others half full, so people don't seem to concerned about driving the road in the night. Had to haggle with driver though as he initially wanted $15 for front seat - I paid $10.
Battambang to Chantaburi (March 2004):
The Border Checkpoint has been opened officially for international tourist
on December, 28th, 2003.
How did I leave Cambodia:
From Battambang I took a shared taxi to Pailin which costs me 150 Baht. As the taxi was not full, I enjoyed a seat in the front for me only. The road from Battambang to Pailin is mainly not paved but was absolutely okay to drive in the dry season. A bit rough sometimes but definitely not worse than Kompong Thom to Siem Reap.
In Pailin a went by shared Taxi for 1.5 US$ to the border checkpoint. 20 km unpaved but pretty good road. See road Battambang to Pailin.
Border formalities took 5 minutes on each side of the border. I stayed another hour on both sides just talking to the officials and some locals. I paid nothing to the officials or anybody else.
From the Thai side of the border you go by motorbike for 20 Baht to the Song Thaew (Mini Bus) station which is 3 km away. There you easily get on a Minibus which brings you to the Central Bus Station in Chantanaburi for a fare of 35 Baht.
In case somebody plans to go into Cambodia using this border checkpoint I would recommend to be at the border by 4 pm. Formalities including the visa on arrival should be finished by a maximum of 30 minutes. This gives you enough time to discuss the rates with the drivers to bring you to Pailin. You can simply say "No Thanks" as there is still enough time left to negotiate with somebody else. If you are late, you need to go to Pailin, as the border village does not offer much more but 2 casinos, a small market and small shops. Let the driver drop you off at the main market in Pailin. There are some guest houses and hotels within 2 minute walking distance.
First confirmation (March 2004):
Just wanted to drop you a line concerning the Pailin crossing. Me and my friend entered Cambodia at Phsa Prum crossing on March 5. We got the visa on arrival without any problems. I paid 1000 baht, my friend was able to convince the officer to accept 20 us dollars. Overall a very pleasant and hassle-free procedure. Just a few moto kids and a taxi driver waiting on the Cambodian side.
Thanks. Keep 'em coming.
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