Ride To The Border
I started the day with a tasty noodle soup at Pu Noodle Shop Sukhumvit (ร้านก๋วยเตี๋ยวปูสุขุมวิท) and at 10 am I was on Road 3 toward Cambodia and my Visa Run.
There are a few petrol stations in the first 15 kilometers out of town. They become a bit scarce later on until you reach Klong Yai but still, you won’t run out of fuel unless you mean it.
The road outside Trat is awesome. Not much traffic and good surface, so I could cruise at the 90km/h that my 200cc bike let me do.
This got a bit trickier after when I saw the construction work appearing on the road. As of May 2018, construction is going on to widen the road. This means having to be careful about the big trucks on the road and the red dust.
Things got better after about 40km where the road switch into the jungle and widening it seems like a huge job that I doubt will be done. This went like that for 10 or so kilometers of fast driving. It’s interesting to think that behind those big mountains on your left is Cambodia and that even still in Thailand you are penetrating in Cambodia. Unfortunately, the road isn’t close enough to the coast to give you a pleasant view.
After that, the constructions re-appeared but the road was quite empty, so no problems to drive fast. The worst came for the last 10 km where they were rebuilding these nice big curves so you have to drive in the dusty dirt. The few views of the Gulf of Thailand were making it kind of worth.
I arrived at Hat Lek in an hour and a half and according to the road conditions and my bike, I think this is a very good time.
I parked my bike in a car park 50 meters from the border on the left side (turn left at the Green and Purple ATMs). This is a car parking, talking in Thai helped me convince the security guards to leave my bike near their booth for 20 baht. They only seemed concerned that I leave my bike there for an hour maximum.
The market area near the border don’t feel as dodgy as let’s say, Poipet, but as I didn’t want to bring my jacket and helmet to the border it was safer with these guys.
Leaving and coming back to Thailand
- Is it a scam? Kinda, but you get something out of it.
- Is it a corrupted 2-speed system? Definitely.
- Is it worth it? Up to you.
It has cost me a total of 2400 baht and 20 minutes while the backpackers were still in line applying for their visas. Then I walked back to the Thai “arrival” gate and filled the immigration card. The immigration officer was very friendly. He informed me that I will get a 30 days “stamp” that could be obtained only twice a year. It all went smoothly. This gave me plenty of time to stroll in the market to buy a Cambodian Banh Mi sandwich and some “balut” eggs, you know these eggs with the fetus inside. The ride back to Trat felt very quick and I was in town at 2 PM making the whole visa run a 4 hours journey. Then I was on my way to the Koh Chang ferry.
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