This story was posted on Facebook ‘Expats in Cambodia’ group, and describes the current process a traveler faced entering Cambodia from the US via Korea.
“I just arrived in PP after being away for 9 weeks and wanted to share my experience. On May 28, I flew from Denver to LAX on Southwest. LAX to Seoul, Seoul to PP on Asiana Airlines. In LAX, they checked my passport and visa, my negative Covid test document, and my health insurance document before I could check in. Both airports in LAX and Seoul were ghost towns. The business class lounge at LAX was closed. The flight itself was very routine and wasn’t as empty as you may think. From Seoul to PP, mostly Cambodians and a handful of foreigners with about a dozen Koreans. In total, about 100-120 people.
Upon arrival in PP (about 11pm), we were guided downstairs to the immigration area. The visa office was closed and everyone should have known that. I heard some dude didn’t have a visa and expected to get one upon arrival—this guy was not seen later in our group. Anyways, my documents were checked (visa, Covid test result, and health insurance) and was directed to the immigration officer who did the same. He kept my passport and said it would be returned later. I then proceeded to collect my luggage as everyone else. From here, we all got on a bus with our suitcases and were taken to a facility just 5 minutes from the airport (it was actually on the airport premises I believe). This is the facility that someone mentioned on a previous post.
Imagine a high school gym that is converted for homeless people during a natural disaster. There were cots laid out in an organized fashion. Out back, there were port-a-potties with flushing toilets. This was not a nice facility. It was about 12:30am when we got to this facility. Each cot had a small pillow and a blanket (wrapped in plastic). It was air-conditioned, and very bright. There were moderate amount of mosquitos. It was also very loud in there because every noise anyone made was echoed throughout —great acoustics for a concert but not for sleeping.
Next morning, breakfast was given out at around 7am. Cambodian food (rice with chicken and pork). The Korean association in PP brought Korean food for the Korean nationals both breakfast and lunch—a huge THANKS to them. At around 10:30am, we were finally tested for the Covid. Our passports were returned to us during this process. Then we waited around all day. The facility was very hot with lots of flys and gnats. It was very unpleasant. At around 7:30pm, someone came and made an announcement where everyone cheered and started packing their bags. When I asked, they said everyone tested negative so we can leave to our respective residences. Walked out the gate with my luggage. Called a tuktuk on GrabApp and came to my apartment.
My thoughts and complaints:
First off, I’m thankful to be back and I don’t want to offend any Cambodians who could easily say “if you don’t like it here, get the f*ck out”. Again, I’m thankful they opened for US nationals to come back.
1–WiFi was not working.
2–why didn’t they test us upon arrival? If they had, results would have been back in the morning the next day and would have saved about 10 hours of sitting around. I’m sure they have their reasons but not the best use of time.
3–Communication was terrible. And one of the most frustrating parts of the whole thing. I wish they had a hand-out (in English) outlining what will happen next and the timeline of everything. I was prepared enough by information sent to me by my Cambodian friend and colleague but information upon arrival and during the process would have been very helpful.
4–no instructions were given when we were released. My understanding (because of my friend) is that I am now on a 14 day home quarantine and that I will need to be tested again in 13 days. But no one has said anything to that effect. I’m not even sure about the “rules” of home quarantine. Or where am I to go to get tested again.
Anyways, this was experience and thoughts of my trip. If you are planning to come to PP, I would recommend that you wait a little longer and see if the process improves with time. With that said, I doubt things will change anytime soon. If you must come or really want to come, just be prepared mentally for the next 24 hours upon arrival. For me personally, I found it difficult because of a lack of information, the heat in the facility, and the bugs flying around. And after traveling for 24 hours, everything seems that much more painful. Let me know if you have any questions—I’ll be happy to answer.”
(Photos from KHMER440)