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Published: September 19th 2014
Leaving Koh Chang, now being so close to the Cambodian border, I figured it was time for a quick visa run. And so it was back to Trat for a minibus transfer to the Hat Lek-Cham Yeam border in the Southeastern-most part of Thailand along the Gulf.
Based on my past experiences with various scams at Cambodian borders such as Aranyapathet-Poi Pet, I think I emerged relatively unscathed this time, hurt only by what I think probably was just a slightly overpriced (USD4) moto ride from the border to the nearest town of Koh Kong, some 10 km away.
Koh Kong, with its relatively untouched and government-controlled beaches, mangroves and waterfalls, is part of a larger designated national park, but is otherwise (yet another) rather sleepy riverside town. It had in fact been on my to-go list on my initial visit to the southern part of the country two years ago, when I found myself in Sihanoukville. But I'd looked at the map, and thought to myself, this would probably be an ideal visa run destination, given its proximity to the border, so maybe I could visit another time. Two years later, I indeed found myself doing exactly that!
I spent a half day checking out the Peah Kasaob Mangrove forest, but otherwise did not do much. Every time I make a visa run exiting Thailand into Laos or Cambodia though I am reminded again of the stark contrast in development between neighbouring nations. Sealed roads give way to dirt tracks, more cows and other animals start appearing on the streets, and the 7-11s and mega shopping malls melt away, though only fleetingly for me, as I soon re-embarked on my return journey back towards the Thai capital.
Stayed at Kolab Guesthouse.
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