Journey Battambang - Nakhon Nayok

Trip Start Aug 01, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Wednesday, November 3, 2010

To go from Cambodia to Thailand coming from Battambang is not the easiest border crossing. There is no direct train or bus service to cross the border.

But we realise that it is not so much of a problem. Locals know that and there is a service of shared taxi organised from Battambang to the border that cost US$8 per person (we end up being only 3 people sharing the taxi). The drive is around 90 kilometres long and it is done in two hours. On the way, we notice a lot of traffic police and speed check cameras between Battambang and Sisophon. After Sisophon, the road is fairly empty as it only leads to Thailand. Suddenly, the driver totally ignores the speed limits and starts beeping every time he takes over a car just like in Vietnam. On the road, we notice a lot of people travelling on trailers dragged by tractors.

The taxi drops us where the road stops. But then it is not very clear where the actual Cambodian border is. There are a lot of people and we can see lots of trade going on here. The border officer desk is kind of in the middle of a street and we don't really see it until we are told by some random guy where to go. Nobody is queuing but there is quite a few people here waiting for – we don’t know what!?!

Once our passports have been stamped ok, we enter the 'no man’s land’ in between the two borders. There are actually quite a lot of people for a ‘no man’s land’, we can even see a casino in that area and children begging on the street!?! There are many people crossing the border with trolleys pilled up with sacks of things that explain the trading business going on earlier. One surprising thing that we cannot really explain is that children coming back from a school are crossing the border together with us but they do not seem to go through the border office though!?! They sing or play happily and we can see that they are used to this crossing.

Once we arrive on the Thailand’s side, we are unexpectedly invited to walk on the left side instead of the right. Yes, to our surprise Thailand is one of these countries that drive on the left for some reason :)!! In the Thailand border office it is all well organised and we proceed as usual.

We are now in Thailand and the next town with a train station is a few kilometres away from the border. Taxi and tuc-tuc drivers are obviously waving at us but as usual we try to ignore them and decide to walk away from the border and get one on the way. However, we don’t have the local currency and only a US$20 note that is difficult to be accepted. It is very hot, and quickly our bags are becoming heavy but we are ready to walk till the town. Luckily, after 15mins walk, a tuc-tuc driver with a local person in it is stopping for us. After explaining the money problem, he is happy to take us to a bank in the town.

There is not much to see in Aranyaprathet, so we walk to the train station where we enjoy our first Pad Thai in Thailand for 50 pence!! We already notice that some men and women are chubbier than what we have seen in Cambodia, Vietnam and China.

After a couple of hours waiting for our train, we finally enter our last transportation mode to reach our destination. The train is old, running on one track line and there are oscillating fans on the ceiling of the carriages. The journey is two and half hours long to Prachin Buri and the ticket costs 50 pence. Prachin Buri is in the central east of Thailand and is the closest train station from where Natta lives. Many of you must wonder who is Natta? It will all be explained in the next entry…

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