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What is the latest info regarding taking a Thai car across to Cambodia via Chong Chom/O'Smach


Tomtomtom69

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Hi,

As I have never been to Chong Chom nor attempted to take a car across there I was wondering if, as has largely been mentioned here by members such as Phuketrichard and Khwaibah, it is still possible to easily take a Thai car across to O'Smach and travel around Cambodia (I am heading to Siem Reap for a conference).

My understanding is the following documents are required:

1. Original blue book for the car

2. Power of attorney from the owner, authorising the car to travel to Cambodia and ID card or passport copy/house registration copy of the owner (only required if the owner is not present) - these won't be needed this time, as I'll be travelling with the owner of the vehicle

3. Need to fill out the usual 2 customs documents: 1) temporary export forms; 2) information of conveyance

4. Passport of the driver and passport(s) of any accompanying passengers

The purple international transport permit is apparently not valid (although I have it). Insurance on the Cambodian side is not available at the border crossing.

Have I missed anything?

Also, can someone guide me through the procedure after crossing the Thai-Cambodian borderline? If you have any pictures too, that would be great.

Given the extremely low volume of vehicles that cross this border, there probably aren't any signs or markings indicating where you switch to the right hand side of the road. I assume all you do is gradually move to the right after crossing the gate onto the Cambodian side. Is this correct?

Once on the Cambodian side I would stamp into the country using my passport (I will probably already have a visa) and will be accompanied by my Thai fiancee (who doesn't need a visa for a stay of no more than 14 days).

Then what happens with customs on the Cambo side? Do I need to get any documents from them, or just tell them where I'm going? Also, where is customs located on the Cambo side, right next to immigration?

Can I exit at Poipet?

Border crossing opening/closing times at Chong chom/O'Smach? Are they the same as the other crossings, i.e. 6am to 10pm? Having said that, I don't want to drive in the dark and I have some people to meet in Siem Reap for dinner, so the absolute latest I'd want to arrive at the border would be 2 or 3pm.

I am familiar with the Koh Kong crossing, but that is too far away from Bangkok for me only to have to go all the way up to Siem Reap. Also, based on my personal experiences there they don't really want you to leave Koh Kong province. So that's why O'Smach would make much more sense.

Thanks for all your advice.

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O'Smach border (at least it was a couple of months ago when I was last there) consists of a modern hut on the Thai side, a 10 meter break and than a wooden hut on the Khmer side. They're friendly and competent (though expect to pay a small bribe to facilitate things on the Khmer side - almost everyone crossing is a Thai heading to the casino... so the rare moments that a foreigner actually enters Cambodia is a cause for celebration for the bored and poor guards there).

There's a car park right next to the Cambodia visa hut... so you'll probably be asked to park up and then do the paperwork. I really liked using the Northern borders much, much more pleasant than Poipet and actually, surprisingly even more efficient than on the main border with Vietnam (which in itself is also very good). As long as you have the right paperwork, I wouldn't expect too many hassles.

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O'Smach border (at least it was a couple of months ago when I was last there) consists of a modern hut on the Thai side, a 10 meter break and than a wooden hut on the Khmer side. They're friendly and competent (though expect to pay a small bribe to facilitate things on the Khmer side - almost everyone crossing is a Thai heading to the casino... so the rare moments that a foreigner actually enters Cambodia is a cause for celebration for the bored and poor guards there).

There's a car park right next to the Cambodia visa hut... so you'll probably be asked to park up and then do the paperwork. I really liked using the Northern borders much, much more pleasant than Poipet and actually, surprisingly even more efficient than on the main border with Vietnam (which in itself is also very good). As long as you have the right paperwork, I wouldn't expect too many hassles.

I'm assuming that almost none of the Thais drive more than 1km inside the country though and the vast majority just wouldn't even bother doing the paperwork to drive their cars a few hundred meters to a casino they could just walk to or catch a tuk-tuk to anyway. Wouldn't make much sense.

I took a look at Street View and the road down to Siem Reap is almost completely empty. Not a single Thai car can be spotted anywhere along the road there, barely even any Cambodian ones either (only saw like 3 Thai ones right next to the border gate and the casino).

Phuketrichard in numerous reports went through without problems...but unfortunately there are no recent trip reports and various other forums (including Thai ones) state various things, much of which has been reported to be false.

In any case, I have contacted a travel agency who can help me with the permits and organising insurance. Doesn't seem to be too expensive and will provide peace of mind. Surprisingly, the ministry only needs 3 working days to issue the permits but the clock is ticking as I'm heading over there next Thursday.

I would prefer peace of mind having official documentation than just showing up only to be told "sorry you can't enter, new regulations, blah blah blah" and then have to catch a cab and go back out through the same border (in order to pickup my car) thus causing considerable inconvenience and extra expense. If that were the case, then I'd rather just catch the international bus from Bangkok. But while it's probably open without any problems like you say (and based on other reports from members here) in the absence of an official agreement (like the Thais and Laotians have with each other) you know how it is, nothing is set in stone in this part of the world and the interpretation of the law is often up to the official in charge.

Did you notice many Thai cars crossing though?

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When I was there, I was the only person who actually crossed into Cambodia of the 200 or so people who left Thailand. It's a very, very quiet route. Great road and almost no traffic. So sorry, can't offer a first hand account of successfully bringing in a car there.

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Seems u have it all covered, The tourist visa online is no good at Osmach so just get your visa on arrival

last entry i made there was 2013 an exited at Pailin

Previous to that I exited 3 times at Pailin and Poi Pet twice

Heard from one guy that paid an "agent" to get thru an it cost him $300 for what i never paid anything

After u enter and have your passport stamped you travel past the casinos an down the hill to the customs, (small hut on the right-

no paperwork and one time he took a photo of my license plate ) than thru the archway where they sometimes stop you and ask

where you are going.

I have never paid more than the $20 for a visa there ( before they raised it to $30) or asked for any "Bribe" there

It takes me about 4 hours from Surin to Siem Reap with the border an lunch stops

BUT I strongly suggest u turn off at Samrong an head towards the temples at Banteay Chhmer, will add a few hours but nice to

visit the temples and be the only one there.

Leave Surin at 8 and u will still be in SR by 4 or so.

You seldom see thai cars in Cambodia, (only have seen a few in SR)but never south of there

Drive safe , your steering wheel is on the "wrong "side LOL

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Excellent account Phuketrichard, thanks for sharing your report. Yes I'm familiar with driving on the right I.e. steering wheel on the 'wrong' side as I've taken my car to laos 4 times this year already.

Banteay chhmer thanks for the tip I'll look into that.

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Thanks.

A couple more important questions about the border crossing.

Looking at Google maps street view, all I can see is a hut on the Thai side. One in the middle of the road, one on the right. The one on the "right", appears to be the one used for inbound travellers since Thailand drives on the left.

Where do I do my outbound paperwork? Do I drive up to the hut, park just before the barrier, get my passport stamped in there, get my temporary export papers done, then drive across to the Cambodian side?

I can't see any proper building on the Thai side. Nearly every other border crossing, even smallish ones like Phu Doo on the Thai side have proper buildings in place, but Chong Chom appears to have only a series of tiny huts.

I presume I gradually move to the right hand side of the road as soon as I get across the border gate.

From what I've seen on Google maps, it appears that the Cambodian border post is both larger and more modern than the Thai one!

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Dont worry, when u get it there its all easy

google is not ALWAYS your friend

I'm sure it is, but why are you being so secretive?

If you could kindly let me know which hut I have to go to, that would be most helpful. As you are probably aware, there can often be mass confusion even for regular border hoppers at some crossings. Nong Khai/Vientiane for example, require you to run back and forth between 3 or 4 booths.

How about at Chong Chom?

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To clarify PhuketRichard's comment, e-Visa does not work going into Camby, but you can exit to Thailand with one.

For completeness, the other Northern border - at Choam Sa Ngam (SiSaket province) / Anlong Veng - has the same eVisa going-in-but-not-out restriction. Cars cannot go through that border - though locals clearly have 'an arrangement'.

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Actually Google maps was my friend and what I could identify from the images shown was exactly what I assumed but Phuketrichard didn't want to tell me Lol. Hut in the middle of the road does the information of conveyance form - hut on the right does customs including stamping your car passport and issuing the temporary export form. Immigration (passport control) is where pedestrians go through. There is no dedicated passport control for drivera unlike at the Lao or Malaysian borders. In fact, no Cambodian crossing offers a dedicated channel for drivers compared to pedestrians. So you always have to get your passport stamped at the same place as all the people arriving by bus or just walking across. O'Smach immigration took ages due to 20+ rowdy British backpackers on some kind of study tour from Surin to Angkor Wat crowding around the visa on arrival counter. No attempt was made to extract more than the official price I think they are starting to crack down on that BUT Thais, Vietnamese and other visa free ASEAN citizens will be asked for 100 Baht which should be bargained down or not paid at all. Also check your passport to make sure it's stamped properly. My fiancee got stamped for 2 days luckily this was noticed by customs at their hut down the road after which we got it corrected to the 14 days Thais are entitled to.

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its not i didn't want to tell you, its i couldn't be bothered to, as when u get there its all quite obvious ( at least it was/is to me)

Glad u made it in

"including stamping your car passport"

this is new to me, i once asked them to stamp my cars passport ( i just wanted to see the stamp in it) an they said no

ONLY Laos is it needed as u cant use it for Malaysia

"To clarify PhuketRichard's comment, e-Visa does not work going into Camby, but you can exit to Thailand with one."

PS

E-Visa works for Poi Pet, Koh Kong and Svay Rieng land borders

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Fyi the Cambodian government has concluded bilateral agreements on the cross border movement of private vehicles with Laos and Vietnam. Laos came first, earlier this year followed by Vietnam 2 months ago. A car passport issued by these countries is all that's required. Thailand will be next very soon reportedly around the time of AEC implementation though possibly before. This means you will soon be able to use your car passport to enter Cambodia at any checkpoint including possibly from Laos and leave at any checkpoint. Insurance is currently not normally offered for private vehicles registered in Laos, Vietnam or Thailand if you're only transiting the country. However, insurers are in the process of implementing an agreement soon. So expect Cambodia to implement an official system for the entry of Thai registered vehicles soon.

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its not i didn't want to tell you, its i couldn't be bothered to, as when u get there its all quite obvious ( at least it was/is to me)

Glad u made it in

"including stamping your car passport"

this is new to me, i once asked them to stamp my cars passport ( i just wanted to see the stamp in it) an they said no

ONLY Laos is it needed as u cant use it for Malaysia

"To clarify PhuketRichard's comment, e-Visa does not work going into Camby, but you can exit to Thailand with one."

PS

E-Visa works for Poi Pet, Koh Kong and Svay Rieng land borders

Just to clarify, only the Thai side stamps your car passport. The Cambodians did stamp my Thai paperwork but as you have mentioned many times do not issue any paperwork of their own (yet).

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its not i didn't want to tell you, its i couldn't be bothered to, as when u get there its all quite obvious ( at least it was/is to me)

Glad u made it in

"including stamping your car passport"

this is new to me, i once asked them to stamp my cars passport ( i just wanted to see the stamp in it) an they said no

ONLY Laos is it needed as u cant use it for Malaysia

"To clarify PhuketRichard's comment, e-Visa does not work going into Camby, but you can exit to Thailand with one."

PS

E-Visa works for Poi Pet, Koh Kong and Svay Rieng land borders

Just to clarify, only the Thai side stamps your car passport. The Cambodians did stamp my Thai paperwork but as you have mentioned many times do not issue any paperwork of their own (yet).

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  • 3 weeks later...

car passport is ONLY for Laos,

Cambodia does not require anything.

Last time i entered at koh kong ( 2011) after you leave Thailand, Cambodia customs asks for your thai temp export doc an than ask how many days ur going to stay in Cambodia and charge you 100 bat/day they TAKE the temp export doc an give u a red plastic plate for ur dashboard,

they also tell you that you can ONLY drive in Koh Kong province but i always drove all over , always left at another boarder, ( Poi Pet, Pailin, Osmach)

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car passport is ONLY for Laos,

Cambodia does not require anything.

Last time i entered at koh kong ( 2011) after you leave Thailand, Cambodia customs asks for your thai temp export doc an than ask how many days ur going to stay in Cambodia and charge you 100 bat/day they TAKE the temp export doc an give u a red plastic plate for ur dashboard,

they also tell you that you can ONLY drive in Koh Kong province but i always drove all over , always left at another boarder, ( Poi Pet, Pailin, Osmach)

Thanks for the info, if they take your temp export doc and give you a temp plate do you not need the doc if you exit at a different border? Also I have 60% tinted windows, what about them, any info on this car passport as I will be going to Lao as well. Cheers.

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Cambodia. Laos do not care about tint

even thou in Cambodia tint on the front window is a no no

When i left twice without the temp export doc they asked me where it was, told them i had lost it . Once they filed out a new one for me an stamped i had entered the day before ( had been in Cambodia 6 months) the other time they didn't do anything.

For laos, make sure ur car passport is stamped leaving Thailand, entering Laos, leaving Laos an entering Thailand.

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where ever u get ur yearly tax sticker

you will need ur passport,

copy of index page

copy of ur visa

ur cars blue book

here in phuket takes a day and costs 50 baht

They are only good for one year and have to be renewed. In my area the first year is 250 baht.

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where ever u get ur yearly tax sticker

you will need ur passport,

copy of index page

copy of ur visa

ur cars blue book

here in phuket takes a day and costs 50 baht

They are only good for one year and have to be renewed. In my area the first year is 250 baht.

Proof of residence (from immigration or your embassy/consulate) is almost certainly required too.

I was required to get this before my local LTD would issue the translation of my green book for my motorcycle (vehicle registration certificate), and I was told it would be the same for the car passport. In the case of my car passport, since the vehicle is currently still only registered in my fiancee's name since we paid off the loan (I will eventually add my name to the registration next month or so) only her docs were required i.e. ID card and house registration.

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Yes, the 250 Baht price is actually 255, you are asked to pay that because you are paying 200 Baht for the international number (licence) plates that you don't need.

It's 50 Baht for the car passport, 5 Baht to make the request, 200 Baht for the number plates and in my case the English translation of my registration was done too for 20 Baht, so all in all 275 Baht.

So it's not as if Kwaihbah was charged 250 Baht just for the car passport. It was either 255 or more likely 275 for the whole "package".

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Cambodia. Laos do not care about tint

even thou in Cambodia tint on the front window is a no no

When i left twice without the temp export doc they asked me where it was, told them i had lost it . Once they filed out a new one for me an stamped i had entered the day before ( had been in Cambodia 6 months) the other time they didn't do anything.

For laos, make sure ur car passport is stamped leaving Thailand, entering Laos, leaving Laos an entering Thailand.

That sounds like a bit of a hassle though.

ANyway, did Thai customs comment on why your vehicle spent so much time outside of Thailand?

Did you get a fine? Because normally Thai vehicles are only allowed to be outside of the country for maximum 30 days, otherwise a fine of 1000 Baht / day, up to a max. 10,000 Baht is levied upon return. Unless you made prior arrangements with customs to allow your vehicle to spend more than 30 days outside of the country, which I would imagine can only be requested at customs in Khlong Toei, Bangkok. Haven't heard of anyone doing this though.

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PHUKET

i have been getting a car passport and letter translation for my car ( to go to Malaysia) for the past 4 years,

never been asked for proof of res

Its no hassle getting stampedy

first time i left Thailand for Laos was in Chiang Khong b the ferry ( before bridge was built) forgot to get the car passport stamped, i had to take a local boat back an get it stamped before they would allow me to enter the car into Laos so DONT forget to,

not a big deal

I kept it in Cambodia for 6 months once, he asked me why and i told him , i liked it there. :-)

No fine

Note; i got those english lettered plates an they are no good for Malaysia, u still have to have the sticker

they just sat in my trunk

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