Reality TV: All Aboard the Scam Minibus from Koh Chang to Siem Reap.
Only 300 Baht – what a deal!
Not all scam minibuses are the same. There are a couple of tour companies running the services, some sell cheap tickets in the hope of scamming passengers and some sell even cheaper tickets and will try even harder to scam passengers. There are no ‘Scam Free’ minibus services between Koh Chang & Siem Reap. However, if you know about the potential scams in advance you can avoid them.
The Getting Here section of this site has a detailed explanation of what to look out for and how to avoid it when travelling from Koh Chang to Siem Reap. I added this page to show a few videos that an English couple just uploaded to Youtube.
- The ‘Get an over priced Cambodian visa before you exit Thailand’ scam – The official price is US$20; an Evisa online in advance is US$25; Get visa at border after exiting Thailand is US$20+100 Baht or 800 Baht. The scam price, from 1,200 – 1,500 Baht ( US$40-50) depending on how gullible you look.
- The ‘Exchange money into Riels’ scam – No requirement to do this and no need to do it either.
- The ‘Bus leaving now, pay extra to get through Cambodian Immigration quickly’ scam – Just bull, as there’s no bus waiting for you when you exit Cambodian Immigration
- The ‘Try to get you to take a taxi rather than a bus’ scam – What would you expect from a bus station run by a taxi mafia?
- The ‘Drop you off at bus station after dark a few Km from Siem Reap and then put you in an expensive tuk-tuk’ scam – You will never arrive in Siem Reap in daylight. And you will never be dropped off at the public bus station close to downtown Siem Reap. Think of it as punishment for taking the bus rather than a taxi like the taxi mafia guys suggested you do.
It isn’t just the newbies falling for these scams. They are in every guidebook and on every travel site that deals with overland travel between Thailand and Cambodia and have been going on for years. So you’d think seasoned travellers wouldn’t fall for it.
Yet they do, as the short videos made by an English couple in Jan 2013 show. Looks like they didn’t get the exchange money into Riels scam, but experienced the others. 4 out of 5 isn’t a bad effort on behalf of the scammers:
’ Get an over priced Cambodian visa before you exit Thailand’ scam
‘Bus leaving now, pay extra to get through Cambodian Immigration quickly’ scam
‘Try to get you to take a taxi rather than a bus’ scam
‘Drop you off at bus station after dark a few Km from Siem Reap and then put you in an expensive tuk-tuk’ scam
1) Get an Evisa online from Cambodian government site: http://www.mfaic.gov.kh/evisa/
2) Use the cheap minibus to get from Koh Chang to the border. There won’t be any unnecessary delays on the way and there’s no direct public transport as an alternative. But as soon as you stop for lunch, say your Goodbyes, and grab a tuk-tuk to the border crossing for around 50 – 100 Baht max. You might not know exactly where you are but jut tell the tuk-tuk driver ‘Rongleua Market (Talad Rongkleua ) and you will be dropped at the border market adjacent to the crossing.
3) Cross border, into Cambodia, ignore anyone who tells you you have to wait for free shuttle bus to Poipet Tourist Transportation Terminal. In fact, ignore anyone who speaks to you and who isn’t behind either a Thai or Cambodian immigration desk. ) First Cambodian guy you make eye contact with after crossing the border, smile & tell him you want a taxi. If he isn’t a taxi driver he will know one. Agree price for taxi to your hotel in Siem Reap – no more than US$35-40, pay when you arrive at hotel.
4) Sit back & enjoy the ride – expect a lot of horn usage.
5) Arrive at your hotel in Siem Reap by 4pm, while others on the scam minibus are probably still being delayed somewhere near the border.