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Thailand - Cambodia
(Aranya Prathet - Poipet)

Thailand (Time to process: 20 minutes)

The customs office is on the right-hand side, with a "customs" sign on the top. Carnet stamping takes place here.

The immigration office is on the left-hand side of the road. This is setup as a walk-through affair. However, as your vehicle is behind you, you'll have to swim against the flow of both fellow border travellers and verbal instructions from the immigration officials. Wave your car keys at the latter to achieve a silent understanding.

Back to the truck, and drive through the gates and over the bridge into Cambodia.

Cambodia (Time to process: 40 minutes)

It starts from minute-one... "You give me tip."

The immigration office is on the right-hand side as you enter. A guy will bring you the Arrival/Departure card, which are freely available, and stacked up to falling over in the corner of a table. "You give me a tip." Note that this is not a question - more a statement of instruction. I passionately hope that he wasn't expecting anything from my wallet.

I purchased my visa on the border. If you do the same, just go to the counter, hand over your passport and completed Arrival/Departure card, your visa money, and then wait.

Visa issued and entry-stamped, it's back to the truck to find the customs office.

This border is here for two purposes, of which one is far more significant than the other. Angkor Wat tourist traffic, and gambling. But not neccesarily in that order.

If you are in any doubt though, open your eyes and take in the scenery. The Las Vegas strip should watch out - this place is bristling with both casinos and casinos-under-construction. Gambling in Thailand is illegal, as is shopping in north west Cambodia. The Khmers thoughtfully provide casinos on their side of the border to assist in sating a requirement, whereas the Thais have a market the size of a minor galaxy system for the benefit of their neighbours.

Drive down the strip, and emerge at a roundabout. Cross the roundabout, and stop at the customs office on the opposite side (at 11 o'clock as you approach the roundabout). There are approximately 3,859 charitable people around, who all insist that they should show you the way to the customs office.

Drive into the customs compound, wander into the building, follow the snoring, wake up a few uniforms, and have your Carnet stamped.

Now leave, passing all the 3,859 charitable people on the streets with their hands out, who claim to have helped you find the customs office.