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legendarysurfer

Choam Sa-Ngam / Chong Chom Border Crossing

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Any info about this border crossing would be appreciated. Is it reachable by sawng theaw from Surin or do I need to go from Surin to Sangkha and then to the border crossing? Does the crossing support visa-on-demand and can I reach Siem Reap all in one day from Surin?

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There is a continuous flow of minibuses coming out of Surin taking gamblers to the border casino at C Chom. You can get a visa at the border but don't forget 1) photo& $20 or 1000b and 2) the implications on your Thai visa when leaving the country.

There are buses and many Cambodian taxi men waiting at the border for trips to SR.

All easily done in a day.

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There is a continuous flow of minibuses coming out of Surin taking gamblers to the border casino at C Chom. You can get a visa at the border but don't forget 1) photo& $20 or 1000b and 2) the implications on your Thai visa when leavng the country.

There are buses and many Cambodian taxi men waiting at the border for trips to SR.

All easily done in a day.

60 baht from Surin Bus station to Chong Chom Border Crossing by van. 2000 to 2500 baht by taxi to SR in 2 hours from the crossing. Evisas are not accepted at Chong Chom or Choam Sa-Ngam. With any kind of luck you can be on Pub St in 3 hours after you leave Surin.

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I can also confirm that it's almost exactly 2 hours from Chong Sa Ngam to Siem Reap. Did it last month. There are no bathroom breaks so take a leak at the casino if you have a small bladder. :)

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And for the avoidance of doubt in other readers OP, your post did mention two different crossings but then just asked about the Chong Jom crossing.

For the avoidance of doubt, the two crossings are often officially referred to as Chong Jom/O'Smach (the one south of Surin) and Choam (or Chong) Sa Ngam/Anlong Veng (the one south of Sisaket).

Chong Jom/O'Smach is much better connected by public transport on the Thai side, though I have seen mention of minivans from Ubon to the Choam Sa Ngam casino on another ThaiV thread. There is much more info knocking around the internet and ThaiV threads about the Thai connections to Chong Jom from Surin and I don't know too much about that crossing, other than that Cmby border guards tend to rip you off a little bit coming back (I wrote a thread about it once - google for it using "thaivisa.com chong jom santisuk", whereas at last count 12 months ago this pernicious habit had not afflicted their colleagues at Anlong Veng. Also Chong Jom has a large Thai market of moderate interest and mixed Thai/Camby content (great for football shirts of a type I cannot say much about on ThaiV!) Not as comprehensive, nor as exhausting, as the one at Arranyha Pratet, but I find it useful to potter around it for half a day at least once a year. Bought some good value curtains last time.

I do know more about the Choam Sa N'gam border, since it's only one hour from me (we live amphur Kantharalak) and I've used it several times, but always being dropped/collected by family. I have friends who have come back on foot from Camby through Choam Sa Ngam and they reported it as being very hit and miss to get to Sisaket (sometimes the border guards will line you up with someone going to Phusing or Khu Khan, otherwise they might call up a motorcy to take you there. From Phusing (less frequent) and Khu Khan there are songthaews that go to Sisaket. Alternatively take whatever available vehicle/motorcy you can get 25 clicks up to highway 24 if the driver knows where there is a hailing point for coaches plying Highway 24. Coaches regularly pass by that will pick up even if long distance and take you to Kantharalak and/or Ubon. If there is any such body as a Sisaket tourist authority they are not doing their job as Choam Sa N'gam has not been thought through as a tourist resource for the province.

I seem to recall that the taxi I took a couple of years back, from the Anlong Veng side of the border to Siem Reap (cost $50) was only a one and a half hour ride whereas Ubonrthai makes it 2 in a van from the casino. whatever. The border guards or their acolytes will ask whether you need a taxi if you pitch up on the Thai side obviously on foot. Might be more than $50 going rate, and I think I was quoted that rate without negotiating it down from memory (I do bargain, but not when I think I'm being given a fair deal by someone who earns a hundred times less than me smile.png )

Your alternative if you are minded to go cheap and dirty (often much more fun if you have the time) is to go the previous day and get a motorcy from the Anlong Veng side of the border to Anlong Veng itself (5$ - maybe I would negotiate for $3 on that!) about 10 clicks away from memory and to the cheap but reportedly clean/value-rich and English speaking guest house - you can't miss it, its on the main through road into town. Spend the night in town, get up early and catch the dirt cheap public bus that goes to Siem Reap (and thence to Phnomh Penh, but you'd need strong buttocks for that amount of punishment - far better to get a luxury bus to PP for $8 -$12 from SR).

So, anyone that is going to SR from one of these two borders without their own transport is probably best advised to use the Chong Jom/O S'mach border. Those who might want to use Choam Sa N'gam/ Anlong Veng in preference could be:

* been there/done that (Chong Jom route) before - something different this time please

* travel/backpacker junkies. Choam Sa N'gam is 'real travel' and the border is rustic and a travel experience. My experience was going out of Thailand at 8:30 courtesy of a friendly Thai customs guy who seemed to want to make sure I was sorted for the trials of 'that very poor and dirty' Cambodia 'come back soon' and 'oh - the lazy Camby border guy will not be in his hut yet - I'll send someone to wake him up'

* those who hate border rip-offs, even if they are hardly going to trouble your wallet

* those coming from the very South East corner of Issan

* those who have found out how to access the minivan form Ubon

* those who want to maximise the efficency of an essential 2-day Angkhor Wat trip and 'do' the delightful and very-appropriate-as-a-starting-point Banteay Srei temple on the way to Siem Reap (your taxi passes it by) rather than travelling one hour and back in a tuk-tuk from Siem Reap. You might have some explaining to do if an Angkor Archaelogical Park staff member challenges you for a ticket though; these passes of variable length are normally purchased from the main gates near Siem Reap (maybe you can get them, or a special ticket, at Banteay Srei).

* those who want to stop in Anlong Veng, from where Khao Phrar Vihear (the lovely hilltop temple on disputed land) and Phol Pot's grave (spit on it for me pleaselaugh.png ) can be accessed

I fall into many of the above categories and the Banteay Srei reason would be compelling for me if I was first tripping it. I'm a real fan of Choam Sa Ngam - maybe I should offer my services to Sisaket Tourismfacepalm.gif

Edits:

I just re-read my prior ThaiV posting about rip-offs at Chong Jom. I see that someone has subsequently responded that the 300 baht extra I had to pay was kosher and was because I was only a day tripper (visa run). Probably also applies at Choam Sa Ngam, where I always pass through to visit Camby properly. Sorry Camby border-guards!!

Comment on E-visas: I think you can go out of Cambodia at these 2 borders with an e-visa, just not in with one. Check it out at www.mfaic.gov.kh

Other resources:

http://www.canbypublications.com

www.khmer440.com. Ask questions to gain confidence in your travel plan research

I now realise you are probably border running only, so at least half of this could be surplus to your requirements. Never mind, someone else might find it relevant or it might stimulate a thought to visit what is a fascinating country that needs your tourist ackers much more than Thais do!!

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Thank you, everyone and especially SantiSuk for replying and my apologies for the confusion. I plan to cross the Thai/Cambodian border at Choam-Choam Sa Ngam north of Anlong Veng around the 26th of this month on a visa run to Siem Reap and Ankor Wat. I'm not in any rush and plan to make it a week's trip all total. My goal, as always, is to go cheap and local. I have traveled in Thailand and Lao, but this will be my first time to Camby. I'm coming from the Nong Bua Lamphu area, so figure on an overnight in Surin going in and playing it by ear coming out.

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Went to the e-visa site and found out that at both Chong Jom and Chong Sa Ngam the e-visa is only good on exits. Does this mean there is no visa-on-demand going in?

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Went to the e-visa site and found out that at both Chong Jom and Chong Sa Ngam the e-visa is only good on exits. Does this mean there is no visa-on-demand going in?

30 day Cambodia visa is 20 USD or 1000 baht at both crossings.

Cong Sa Ngam Thai Immigration Departure. Taken 9-01-13

post-157194-0-98644600-1378440374_thumb.

Surin Bus station to Chong Chom Border crossing 72 km. Transportation excellent.

Surin Bus station to Chong Sa Ngam 102 km. Transportation spotty.

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Went to the e-visa site and found out that at both Chong Jom and Chong Sa Ngam the e-visa is only good on exits. Does this mean there is no visa-on-demand going in?

30 day Cambodia visa is 20 USD or 1000 baht at both crossings.

Cong Sa Ngam Thai Immigration Departure. Taken 9-01-13

attachicon.gif20130901_112123.jpg

Thanks, khwaibah. For a while there I thought I might have to go through Poi Pet. Thanks also for the image!

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Thank you, everyone and especially SantiSuk for replying and my apologies for the confusion. I plan to cross the Thai/Cambodian border at Choam-Choam Sa Ngam north of Anlong Veng around the 26th of this month on a visa run to Siem Reap and Ankor Wat. I'm not in any rush and plan to make it a week's trip all total. My goal, as always, is to go cheap and local. I have traveled in Thailand and Lao, but this will be my first time to Camby. I'm coming from the Nong Bua Lamphu area, so figure on an overnight in Surin going in and playing it by ear coming out.

Yeah - like to see a real traveller. Reports back in October please!

If I were going to Choam Sa Ngam from Surin, I would not bother with hopping on to Sisaket to get to Choam Sa Ngam. I would go to Surin bus station (or ask in Farang connection in case songthaew congregate somewhere else) and check whether there is a bus or songthaew to either:

Phusing (unlikely) - about 20k from that border

Sangkha (I'm sure there will be, probably quite regular) - about 35k from that border

Khu Khan is another potential but buses to there? - likely, but probably irregular and it is not much nearer the border than Sangkha

Perhaps some kind Surin TV member can give you better intelligence in advance

Once at Sankha I would negotiate for a motorcycle taxi or hired car/Songthaew, depending on my load and the weather. There maybe a public songthaew to Phusing

Actually I speak enough Thai and am confident enough about the geog that I would catch any coach going from Surin down to and eastwards along Highway 24 and get off where highway 2201 crosses highway 24 (highway 2201 is the direct route from Khu Khan to the border). I would then hitch the 25k to the border - as in offer passers by some money to take me.

Getting to Choam Sa Ngam sep13.doc

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Nice map, SantiSuk! Yeah, I figured on checking in at the Farang Connection and seeing what intel I could gather there before going further south. I'm guessing there's a songtheaw that goes to Sangkha and that something will be available there for me to make it straight to the border, but will keep in mind these other options... Oh, yeah, I always write about my trips. I just finished writing about my 4th trip to Lao, in 8 parts at: http://the-isaan.blogspot.com

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Edits:


I just re-read my prior ThaiV posting about rip-offs at Chong Jom. I see that someone has subsequently responded that the 300 baht extra I had to pay was kosher and was because I was only a day tripper (visa run). Probably also applies at Choam Sa Ngam, where I always pass through to visit Camby properly. Sorry Camby border-guards!!



This is a scam, there is mo extra charge for being a day tripper. I have done this crossing many times and only paid the extra once (first time). If you feel confident don't pay it, if you don't 300 baht is not a lot for the lack of confrontation. Personally I give them what I have to and stand my ground (though i don't like having to).


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Edits:

I just re-read my prior ThaiV posting about rip-offs at Chong Jom. I see that someone has subsequently responded that the 300 baht extra I had to pay was kosher and was because I was only a day tripper (visa run). Probably also applies at Choam Sa Ngam, where I always pass through to visit Camby properly. Sorry Camby border-guards!!

This is a scam, there is mo extra charge for being a day tripper. I have done this crossing many times and only paid the extra once (first time). If you feel confident don't pay it, if you don't 300 baht is not a lot for the lack of confrontation. Personally I give them what I have to and stand my ground (though i don't like having to).

Scam or not, the Cambodians will levy the 300 Baht charge if you are returning immediately to Thailand.

This is why the border runs cost 1,300/1,400 Baht. The visa desk will only accept 1,000 Baht in such cases.

I have never done a visa run, I have always gone on to Siem Reap. I have often thought that I would stand my ground with $20 in my passport (however long it takes), go over to Cambodian immigration to get stamped in and have a coffee/beer/water at one of the roadside shops, After about half an hour I would go back and, if asked) say I had developed severe stomach cramps and could not continue my journey and wanted to go home.....................

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