Friday, February 1, 2013

Cambodia, Pt 2: Arriving At PNH International, Phnom Penh

I flew into Cambodia from Suvarnabhumi International in Bangkok. Not because I didn't want to make the trip by bus from the border, but because of time limitations. One of these trips I'll make the overland route instead of the over land one, because you do see much more by car, train or bus than you do from a plane.

If you fly, you'll have to decide for yourself which airline you choose to deal with. Bangkok Air long had a lock on flights from BKK to Siem Reap (currently between $123 and $241 round trip, depending on the type of ticketing), but now there's also Cambodia Angkor Air (between $100 and $390), so Bangkok Air has had to compete.  Flying into Phnom Penh from Bangkok adds the possibilities of Air Asia and Thai Airways, too.

I flew into Phnom Penh with AirAsia to avoid the (then) high Bangkok Air fee into Siem Reap, but they now fly from the old Don Muang airport and still only into Phnom Penh... but things can change... so unless money's no object, shop around.

My AirAsia flight was on time and comfortable, and my Thai friend was pleased I'd bought the better seats so he could stretch out while watching the clouds roll by. The food was basic, but decent. I don't remember much about it, to be honest. We arrived on time, and it was a quick trip across the tarmac from the plane to the arriving area.

Leaving Phnom Penh International, looking for a taxi

There are two ways of going through Immigration at PNY, Phnom Penh International: prepared in advance, and at the arrivals counter.  My guess is it's much the same at the Siem Reap airport or at the border if you're arriving by land.

If you decide to take the easier route, you can go to their Ministry of Foreign Affairs e-visa page and take care of it before you go. That's what I did. As it turned out there was quite a line, so it saved me a lot of time. You upload a photo when doing the e-visa and print the thing out to bring with you.

If you want to fill out the form like the one below (or something similar) when you arrive, just make sure you have a passport-type photo along with you and be my guest. My Thai friend held up his Thai passport and was processed almost immediately, no extra photo was needed.

The "On Arrival" Cambodian Immigration Visa form

While there is (naturally) a Cambodian currency, you're not likely to need much of it, as the US Dollar is not only widely accepted, it's often preferred. The country runs on them, if I may generalize.  ATMs give you US dollars, but do some research on banks and ATM fees. I've heard some horror stories from folks from Australia, Canada and other places, so read some travel forums and be informed.

Personally, I brought US currency from home for anything I figured I couldn't use a credit card for.  As always, I'd suggest notifying your card issuer before you travel the dates they may see charges coming in from a foreign country.

OK, so that puts us on the ground in Cambodia. Have a good weekend, all.  Super Bowl Sunday coming up, and I intend to catch up on some reading!


Anonymous said...

Great articles, thanks for posting them.

I recommend the e-visa, just for the speed of entry.

khunbaobao said...

...And thank you for seconding the motion to file for the e-visa, too.

We've had others on getting to Thailand and dealing with the airports both ways, too. I hope they're helpful.

If you're a new reader, welcome!