Border Bandits a go go
15.11.2008 -34 °C
We decided to go overland to Siem Reap from BKK as we were both very exited to see Angkor Watt.
We researched the border muchly before we went as had heard many horror stories of scams.
Thanks lordy we did. We booked our guest house before we went and they kindly hire us a babysitter to do the Cambodian side of the border with us!
We got to Arranyprathet on the Thai side very smoothly, then the scams began!
Our TukTuk Tuk us to the first tout who was dressed in a suit (so instantly recognisable as a con artist!) (SCAM 1)
"Hello sir maam do you have your visas border closed for visas today"
"Yes have visas we are meeting friends" We lied,
"Are you sure no possiblity to get visas elsewhere today"
At this point we started chanting "Straight to border" (repeat) to our TukTuk bloke, this seemed to work as he Tuk us straight there after that.
We got through Thai immigration ok once we had been moved from que to que a few times.
We managed to meet our very starry eyed babysitter no probs, we got the impression that if we hadn't had him things might have been different!
The man outside the window at the visa office claimed it was 20dollars and 1000baht for our visas (SCAM 2!)
Thanks to our trusty Asia web research we knew it should be 20dollars plus bribe of the hour.
We lied again and said "sorry no baht"
"But you must have Baht he said"
To cut a longish story short we got away with 20dols and 200baht each - it seems we got let off lightly after hearing other travellers tales.
We then got on the free tourist bus and our Babysitter turned into an expert on current exchange rates,
"Soon we will get to the last Thai bank in Cambodia" (SCAM 3)
"No changing of baht ANYWHERE other than this bank" he said.
"Ohhh how much is the exchange rate?" we said
""well thanks to America exchange rate VERY bad only 3200 to 1dollar""
He proceeded to usher the poor guy we were travelling with into the bank/guesthouse/corner shop/pet shop/
To loose several thousand baht - luckily we didn't bother (do I sound smug?)
We then got into our wonderful air CON (pardon the pun) taxi and off we went to the loverly GH on a VERY BUMPY road.
Pardon us if this tale has bored you but we hope it might save some other travellers.