Bad news at Cambodian border

Well I am sorry to say it was bad news when we did reach the Laos/Cambodian border, just like I said in my least report the Cambodian customs officer asked for our Carnet only this time he would not let us through the border without it so we had to turn round and head back to Paksie, (only 150 km from Paksie from the border) I must say at this post that the road conditions from Paksie to the border are very good other than us getting a puncher on the way back from the border in 1 of the brand-new tyres.

Although we thought it was possible that we would no be allowed to cross this border point it now left us with the problem of not crossing back into Thailand from Cambodia at the crossing where we normally get the 6 months for Plodd, so anyway we headed back to Paksie and then to the Laos/Thai border, the time was about 4pm (16.00). The Laos side was very quick then for the Thai side we new that we should ask for 6 months for Plodd so I got out the copy of the last temperary importation  application with the 6 months previous on it and asked for the same again, the officer said yes no problem and stamped a new form, then asked if he could have a photo of us, him and Plodd, that done we shook hands and we gave him a small gift to remember us by, we was now on our way, we then decided to cut the trip short and head for our home just outside Pattaya.

Below is a copy of a letter I have sent to the Minister of Tourism in Cambodia, I hope that any response will clarify the situation for all who follow us.

Dear Sir,


I am writing to you with regards to our refusal to enter your wonderful country on the 11th August 2015 in our UK registered car. 


You may remember that you and your office assisted my wife and I in 2012 in taking our Thai registered car into Cambodia for a wonderful holiday touring the whole country and we did not need a Carnet. This time after driving our UK registered car for 5 months over 25,500 km from England through 29 countries without the need of a Carnet De Passages En Douane in any of them we found to our surprise that your border crossing from Laos into Strung Treng Province would not let us pass without a carnet so we were turned back from the border by your customs officer ID number 0724.


Before leaving the UK I did check with all the relevant authorities in all countries (inc for example Ukraine, Russia & China) what documents would be needed to enter and exit there relevant countries and none including Cambodia said we would needed a Carnet so we did not apply for one before leaving the UK.


When we arrived at the Laos/Cambodian border I did indeed show the officer at the

border the correspondence between you, your office and myself from our previous trip and he told me to telephone you directly. I told him I did not have a Cambodian Sim card so I could not call you. The problem we had was that we had already crossed into Cambodia previously twice in the past month when no Carnet was asked for or needed, this was however at a different border but should the requirements at all your borders not be the same ?  

After recently talking to many other overlanders on the internet it is said that generally they do not have a problem crossing any border into Cambodia without a carnet other than the Cambodian/Laos border in Strung Treng Province where on many occasions people have been turned away because they do not have one. This is happening to the point that now on leaving the Laos side of the border the Laos customs officers tell you (without processing your departure) to leave your vehicle on the Laos side of the border and walk to the Cambodian customs office on the opposites side of the border to confirm that they will indeed allow you to take your vehicle into Cambodia. Laos customs officers appear to know you will not be allowed to cross without a carnet so there is no point in them pocessing your departure only for you to be refused entry on the Cambodian side and for them to have to re process your return back into Laos. 


My Wife and I are planning to start overlander trips from early next year with as many as 8 vehicles (20 persons) at a time from Thailand into neighboring countries we are hoping that this will be on a regular basis with Cambodia being our main destination with these visitors to South East Asia coming from all parts of the world. I would like to ask you if you could be so kind as to clarify exactly what is needed to take a none Cambodian vehicle through any Cambodian border in and out,including Strung Treng.


Thank you for your time and assistance, with kind regards


David & Lesley Goodchild


Our web site for our UK to South East Asia is or