Thursday, May 2, 2013

Overland Border Crossing: Malaysia-Thailand And Thailand-Cambodia

Before I continue my travel stories in Cambodia, I'd like to take you to the issue of overland border crossing. As a citizen of a third world country, I have faced the problem of securing visa before entering first world countries. I'm sure all Indonesian passport holders who have been to many places would agree with me.

It was during this trip that I really enjoyed being a citizen of South East Asian nations. 

Indonesia and nine other countries (Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, the Philippines, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar) are members of ASEAN, a geo-political and economic organization. The ASEAN members apply the free-visa policy for intra-ASEAN travel, except Myanmar that still obliges citizens of ASEAN nations to apply for visa. This year, Myanmar becomes the ASEAN chairman, so perhaps there is hope for new visa policy.  

While other European/American citizens sat on the sideline, waiting for their Visa On Arrival procedure to complete, Aneen and I and other citizens of ASEAN countries literally walked past the borders easily that it felt like visiting the good-looking guy next door :).

I heart you, ASEAN countries that have opened the visa policy! (Dear Myanmar government, I hope you get the message. Sincerely, Future Visitor)

Let's start with the Malaysia-Thailand overland border crossing. Since we took a bus, we left Malaysia through Chungloon (or Changloon) and entered Thailand through Sadao. 

The bus driver arranged for the papers and we only had to show them to the immigration officers, who stamped our passports quickly. They didn't ask where we were staying at and how long we would stay, which you would encounter when visiting first world countries.

The bus dropped us in the border posts in Chungloon. While we walked to the posts, the bus rode past us on the left lane and waited on us

We handed over our passport and visa papers that we got from our bus driver, got our passports stamped and hopped on the bus again. The bus drove for several hundreds meters until we reached Sadao, where we repeated the procedure.
The Thai border posts in Sadao.

For the Thailand-Cambodia border, in which we also took a bus, we stopped at the Thai border in Aranyaprathet, walked for about 100 meters (yes, it's that close) to the Cambodian border of Poipet and had our passports cleared within minutes.

Thailand border

Cambodian border

Welcome to Cambodia!

Entering a country overland needs more time than going by airplane. But you get to see the scenery and glimpses of the people's daily lives.  

With the ease on visa requirements, other ASEAN countries could be my future holiday destination. The Philippines, Laos and Brunei, be ready to be my host :).

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