I just crossed the border to Cambodia for a Visa run at the new Chong Sa Ngam border Post in Sisaket Province.
I haven't seen any trip report posted for this and have one if anyone is interested.
New Border Crossing to Cambodia from Sisaket Province.
Chong Sa ngam checkpoint, Phu Sing district, Sisaket Province.
This is a new crossing and at this stage (Aug 04) is not a viable crossing because of the road. It is not on the map. The road is good except for the last 17 km which is what puts it out of the question except for the brave. It winds through a forest and is unformed, dusty in the dry and a bog hole in the wet. There are also outcrops of shale which preclude grading and make for a rocky and sharp surface with some deep holes. It took us one hour to cover the 17 km. (In the Hi Lux because there were 3 of us)The Border Post is very primitive and consists of transportable huts on either side of no-mans land. There is some official discussion about where the border actually is, and work has been stopped on a new Casino. The officials on both sides were very helpful and friendly. I was there on Buddhist lent day and they were all on duty. They told me it was 30 km to Anlong Veng on an even worse road, and 3 hours to Siem Reap which I doubt. A fellow with good English who is trying to set up a travel agency to take people to Siem Reap said Chong Sa Ngam was the closest point in Thailand to Siem Reap and that all traffic from Chong Chom to Siem Reap had to go through Anlong Veng.Again I doubt this because the map shows a road direct South from Chong Chom.
To get there: Travel along Highway 24 and turn South on to 2201 just West of KhuKhan. Follow this for 24 km to Ban Phrai Patthana. Just South of B P P the seal ends and a new wide road to the border is under construction. Should be finished by April 2005. I won’t be going there again until that happens. The present road to the border is cleverly concealed behind a Police-Army checkpoint just off the road to the East about 1km before the end of the seal.
Been thru the Kap Cheong border crossing earlier this year, it is easy for bikes. The new one sounds like it is where Pol Pot had his last house on the border and where his grave is, rode up to the border there from the Cambodian side, a very rough rocky zig zag up the escarpment, they still had T72 tanks wrecked on the side of the hill 2 years ago.Then it was closed,and the Thais were agressive, sounds like it has changed, Anyone want to go check it out?
quote: Originally posted by BobS
Strange that they are putting in another border crossing there, when they have one about 60 KM west of there at Kap Choeng.
This excerpt from a Phnom Penh sourced article in the Bangkok Post in July 04 is of interest.
”Cambodia is turning the grave site of infamous Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot into a tourist resort by building a hotel, casino and duty free shop at the historical spot, an official said yesterday. Work has started on the complex about 500 metres from the grave, said the Deputy Governor.”
There was also some discussion as to the ethics of this type of exploitive tourism.
“Memory should not and can not be exploited and commercialized,” he said.
“The grave site is nestled in the mountains of Anlong Veng, the Khmer Rouge’s last stronghold, about 300km from the capital Phnom Penh."
I came through this crossing again yesterday - nothing much has changed since I posted that Lonely Planet Thorn Tree info except that the roads have almost completely dried out and there's no longer any chance of getting bogged down anywhere between the Anlong Veng and the border, and only a couple of remaining mudholes worth mentioning between Siem Reap and Anlong Veng
left Siem Reap at 13:25 by pickup truck, arrived in Anlong Veng at 19:20 (20 minute stop at Sre Noy; last 90 minutes or so in the dark)
next morning, Anlong Veng to the border in a very decrepit and patiently driven pickup - about 30 minutes to crawl to the bottom of the escarpment, about 20 minutes to coax it up to the top; from the border, the 16km of unsealed roads on the Thai side took just under an hour in a 4WD which rarely got any further than second gear
FWIW in the opposite direction at the beginning of April in a rapidly driven share taxi: left Anlong Veng at 12:50, got to where the sealed road starts at Banteay Srei at 15:20, arrived in Siem Reap at 16:00
Although this is a motercycle forum, just a quick report on my crossing here on a bicycle. I started off in Khun Han and and 80 km or so ended up at the end of the paved road. Once you hit the dirt road it is 16-17 km to the border. In hindsight the road was in good condition, while riding it it was very dust, not too bumpy but completely isolated, and army camp in the only civilization between the start of the dirt road and the border post.
Border formailites were very good. The thai immigration officer was very friendly and gave me some needed water and we chatted for a while. On the Cambodia side, they were a bit sloppier but still friendly and I got my visa for $20.00 USD not 1000 baht.
The road down the escarpment was much, much worse than the road on the Thai side. Very steep, lots of stone out crops, lots of dust, fortunately not much traffic.
Once to the bottom the road was good into Anlong Veng. Even better than the dirt road on the Thai side. It was maybe 15 km from the border post to Anlong Veng
I did a Visa run to Chong Chom(Kap Choeng) on 8 Apr and on the way back called in to see how the new road to to Chong Sa Ngam was going. From the Police Check point which marks the start of the existing road, the new road has been sealed for 6 km unsealed for another 1km and earthworks and bridgeworks in progress beyond that which clear the top of a hill. That sounds like about half way so at the present rate of progress it will be at least another 6 months before it reaches the border.
Brave boy Eastbaybob doing the old road on a push bike !
Some friends went to the border at Chong Sa Ngam last week and tell me the new road is finished and very good. Next time i'm down there i'll take some photos and post them - that is unless someone else is there before me.