March 2nd Aranyaprathet to Sisophon 58km
We started out just after 8am and cycled the 6km to the border. Here a large market has stall holders from both sides of the border. Cambodian traders bring their wares on had carts, some are so large they need a team of people to move them. We don’t have room to carry anything else and as we will be back this way, we went straight through to the crossing.
The first step is to get a stamp to show you have left Thailand, they just check you haven’t overstayed and stamp your passport. You can then go through to the next area where casinos and hotels dominate, here you buy the Cambodian visa, we got a 30 day tourist visa for 800baht. You need a photo, fill in a simple form and pay your money. The room seemed half full of people waiting but we walked in and waited no more than 2 minutes before we had our visas. The officials seemed very interested in our cycling, maybe this speeded up the process or maybe it just broke up their day as for came outside to look at the bikes and chat.
So we thought we were done but no one more stop. These guys check your visa and do the finger print and picture thing you get at most immigrations nowadays, somehow it seemed out of place here. The officials outside seemed to be taking wads of cash of random people walking by, I don’t know what it was for but it seemed to go in his pocket!
So on the road again but this time riding on the right hand side! The town on the Cambodian side is similar to the town on the Thai side not surprisingly. Following the road for about 50km brings you into Sisophon, the driving style on this side of the border is worse for sure. Some scooters are so heavily loaded you can’t even see the scooter. The most random however were several scooters coming the other way with 3 large pigs on the back, they were wrapped in what looked like a wooden corset and lay on their backs. I figured they were dead until I saw them wriggling!
So into the town, hotels are a little rough but ok, no 7/11 or Tescos but we had a good lunch and then dinner from the street stands. We took US$ out of the cash point at the border so currently trying to get our heads around using all 3 currencies at the same time.
Wasn't expecting Casinos and hotels between borders!
Huge TV screens and hand carts
Not seen any westerners here, it is more of a place you pace through or at most overnight. We will be back here as this is where the highway 6 and 5 meet. We are going on the 6 tomorrow to Siem Reap about 110km. Today the road has been in good condition, 2 lanes with a shoulder, lets hope it stays that way.