Any foreigner who has lived in Thailand for any length of time will find that eventually, a Cambodia visa run is essential. Various visas for Thailand can be obtained at embassies in countries around the world, but sadly, they eventually expire. In most instances, it is necessary to leave Thailand to obtain a new visa. This may mean flying to a different country and visiting the Thai embassy, or simply flying out and flying back again. The nationals of most countries entering Thailand by air without a visa are granted a ‘Visa Exempt’ stamp, which grants a stay of 30 days. In some cases, you can get a further 30-day extension.
- Cambodia visa run buses run every day from Pattaya & Bangkok
- Luxury buses are available for your Cambodia visa run
- Average prices are 3500 THB -4000 THB
Cambodia Visa Run – Pattaya
Anyone entering on a visa exemption and planning to stay more than a month will have to do a visa run of some sort. Often, though, the easiest and most economical option is the Cambodia visa run. This is especially true for those in the Bangkok and Pattaya areas. Although it is possible to do a Visa Run privately, it is quicker, easier, and more hassle-free to utilise the services of one of the many Visa Run companies. One of the most popular Thai visa runs is the one from Pattaya to Ban Laem, on the border with Cambodia.
The Cambodia visa run starts with a visit to one of the numerous agents representing the Pattaya visa-run company. These may be plush offices or roadside booths. They are numerous and very easy to find. Most hotels will arrange a visa run on your behalf, but some will add on a hefty premium. Typically, the cost of a run is 4000 Thai baht. If you are lucky, you may find an agent who will charge you a couple of hundred Baht less. There are ‘luxury’ visa runs that offer more comfortable seating and DVD movies.
Visa Run To Cambodia – From Pattaya
The agent takes details of your name and address and tells you the time that you will be picked up. They should also tell you to bring two passport photos and a photocopy of your passport details. If they don’t tell you, do it anyway, because you will need them. It will prevent grief later on. The minibusses used are all modern, clean, and in good repair, and most are fitted with seat belts. They will normally hold up to fifteen passengers. As to how many passengers there actually are, it will depend on the day of the week, the time of the year, and the company you use. Sometimes they will be full, and at other times they will have just three or four people on board. The number of people will affect the time that you actually set out on your journey. You will, however, be given a time of collection that you must adhere to. This could be any time from 06.30 to around 08.00; a Cambodia visa run generally starts at this time.
There is an advantage to being one of the first people to be collected, and that is that you have a choice of seats. It is best to ask the driver at the time of collection How many people?”. If he says 4 or 5, then choose the back seat, and you can sprawl out and sleep. If there are more than five, then choose one of the two single seats. At least then you won’t be sharing a seat with some unknown; if you have previously done a Cambodia visa run, you will be aware of this.
Don’t Forget Your Visa & Passport. On collection, you will be expected to hand over your passport, a photocopy of your passport, two photographs, and the receipt from the Cambodia visa run booking agent. Choose your seat and be ferried around while others are collected. Not everybody is nice. Some are still in bed when the minibus arrives; others have forgotten. This can necessitate some lengthy waiting, and if you were picked up at 06.30, it may actually be an hour or more before you actually hit the road towards Cambodia.
Service stop for toilet and snack. The road to Cambodia is in good repair, and travel is quite safe and comfortable. Halfway there, or approximately two hours into your journey, there will be a stop so everyone can use the toilet, smoke a cigarette, or have a quick snack and a drink. These stops are usually at a modern service station with clean toilets and excellent facilities. They cater to people on visa runs to Cambodia, so everything is available; don’t worry.
Leaving Thailand On A Visa Run To Cambodia. There are two border posts in Cambodia used for visa runs. You do not get a choice of which to go to. The main one in use is Ban Laem. Depending on the journey, people collected, and other circumstances, you can expect to arrive around noon. When you arrive, you will be handed your passport back, and you will queue to approach one of four immigration windows. Here, your passport will be scrutinised, and you will be stamped out of Thailand. The visa-run company generally should deal with this.
- Do not overstay your visa. You may end up with a ban for overstaying your visa in Thailand.
- If you have overstayed your time allowance in the country, you can be expected to pay 500 Thai Baht per day for every day you are over. Don’t do it. Not only can it be expensive, but it could get you locked up as well.
- Do not be late for your Cambodia visa run; you may have to wait overnight.
If you decide to do the visa run yourself, please be aware of the border opening times, or you may have to find overnight accommodation.
- Second Stage of Visa Processing on the Thailand Side –Just a short walk through immigration and your agent will take your passport from you once again and also have you sign the few pieces of paper needed to process your visa for Cambodia.
The new bridge over the river to Cambodia. With papers signed, you then walk over a very plush new bridge and into Cambodia. As recently as early 2010, this bridge was a rickety construction made of bamboo. On the bridge, you are likely to meet the first of a number of Cambodian beggar children who will pester you continuously for a few Thai Baht. Most are good-natured and friendly. They have very little, and some may lack even a single item of clothing. These are what you can expect to see on a visa run.
Welcome to Cambodia. As with the Thai people, the Cambodians are very friendly, and should you travel to the country at some later date, you will find it a rewarding and interesting experience. Cambodia, though, lacks much of the modern infrastructure that visitors to Thailand take for granted.
The Kingdom of Cambodia. There is a beautiful new gate to match the bridge. But that’s where the beauty ends and the truth begins. Go no further; this is the real Cambodia, just beyond the bridge. All the paved roads stopped in Thailand; here it is just beaten earth, and when it rains, it is thick red mud. There are good roads in Cambodia, but not here. This is a very dirty and unattractive little place.
Here you are in a sort of ‘No Man’s Land’. You are in Cambodia, yet you are not. You cannot pass under the red and white bar into the country properly because you do not have your passport. You are able to enter the plush, modern casino. Here, it will be busy with Thai people playing cards and roulette, as gambling is illegal in Thailand.
Here too, you can take advantage of duty-free. Duty-Free in Cambodia is the usual cigarettes and alcohol but with the added interest of Viagra, Cialis, Kamagra, and similar. Usually hidden under the counter in a pharmacy, here the range of sex products is on open display. There are some sex toys too, but caution is advised. The dildo is illegal in Thailand, so it may well be confiscated. The Thai authorities are also quite strict on the amount of alcohol and tobacco you can bring into the country.
Shopping in Cambodia-There are around nine shops here, all selling much the same thing. In Cambodia, various options may be presented by your agent. It may be simply a case of shopping, the toilet, and back to Thailand, or you may have a set or buffet meal in the casino.
Visa Processing: Cambodia Side –Your agent is now busy processing your Cambodian visa. This takes up a full page in your passport. When you do get your passport, you will be expected to sign an entry form for Thailand. Here, they want the address you live at and your telephone number. With your passport in hand, you will note that you have already been stamped into and out of Cambodia.
Welcome to Thailand. You then walk back over the bridge into Thailand. Once again, you line up to go through immigration. Depending on the type of Thai visa you have, it will determine how long you are granted. It will not be less than two weeks with a visa exemption stamp, and with any type of ‘real’ visa, it will be more.
The border area can be chaotic. The area around the border can be very busy. There are trucks leaving the country, and others are leaving. There are also people bringing produce from the fields, families on the move, and contingents of Cambodian workers heading off to work in Thailand. Then there are all the other people in other groups on visa runs. Depending on the efficiency of the staff and the number of people at the border, you could start your return journey a little after noon. If you did not lunch in the casino, then you will lunch on the way home. Again, there is a choice of food that is good to excellent. You also get the opportunity to visit the toilet yet again. You can expect to arrive back in Pattaya any time between 15.00 and 16.00.
We do not offer a visa-run service. But a simple Google search should guide you in the right direction.