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Cambodian idiocracy

Cambodian idiocracy

Traveling to Cambodia means that you are going to get engaged in bureaucratic procedures. Usually there is always an immigration form to fill out, but on our flight to Phnom Penh we got three questionnaires asking for the same details that you have to rewrite four times.

Once you are done you are about to land :) The forms are not even looked at by immigration authority by the way.


At the visa counter passport and filled out forms are received by two Cambodian visa staff, are then passed on to another six Cambodian employees sitting behind the counter in a row, working their way through each passport from left to right. The price for a tourist visa is 20$, Tomek was made to pay 25$ but after we questioned staff we got 5$ back again. We were told that 2$ extra apply if you don’t have a photo for your visa application. Tomek brought passport photos, however, I didn’t have a picture but somehow didn’t have to pay either :)

At the very end of the visa counter ready passports are held up one at a time and each name is called out loudly into the waiting tourist crowd. It is amusing to watch Cambodian personnel yell out mispronounced first names and then see who the lucky recipient will be :)

After that it is time for the passport control counter, were both hands and right and left thumb prints are taken and where you definitely ‘do not have to pay’ for that service as reads the big sticker – just put your money back into the wallet :)

That sticker on the passport control counter makes me wonder, is corruption an issue in Cambodia?

Hm. At the airport we received a big yellow note from a taxi booth that reads the rate (9$) to Phnom Penh centre and is countersigned when booking a taxi. We had to present this to the taxi driver outside the airport. The same procedure applies to the alternative rickshaw ride for 7$.

Driving through Phnom Penh we passed the unit of anti corruption that caught my eye because it was brightly lit up with over-dimensional portraits of (fighting) corruption representatives. Having only just arrived, my first impression is that Cambodia has an issue here.


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