Monday, August 31, 2009

Experience at Siem Reap Airport

Its been more than 2 weeks that we returned from Cambodia and I didnt really get time to update about the trip. This post is about our experiences at the Siem Reap airport.

We landed in Siem Reap airport at around 7.45AM. We were given around 5 forms to fill before we go to the immigration. The people standing there were all from our single plane, yet the line was moving very slowly. Once we reached the counter we realised about the reason for delay. In all the airports where ever we went, there was one immigration officer who was taking care of everything related to particular passenger. It was a bit different here.

One guy took the passport and the forms and the money. Check the money and passed on the passport and the forms to the next guy.
Next guy checked the forms and passed the Passport and the Employment pass to the next guy.
This guy checked the EP and Passport and passed them to the next guy.
Now this guy would paste the hand written visa on the passport and pass it on to the next guy.
He is the final guy and calls our name and hands over the passport to us.

This whole process took around 1 hour. This is the longest time I have ever spent at the airport because of the delay in the immigration.

The other experience that I had here was while coming back to Singapore. Our flight was scheduled at around 7.40AM. But I misread the timing and told my friends that the flight is at 7AM. Keeping in mind the time taking immigration process while arrival, we thought we should be early at the airport.

We started off at around 4.30AM from the hostel. On the way I cross checked the timing and saw that it was at 7.40. Now we all knew that we had a long wait before we boarded the flight. We arrived at the airport entrance at 4.45AM. Tuk Tuk was stopped by the airport security and below was the conversation:

Security: Tuk Tuk cannot go inside the airport premises now.
Driver: Can the passesngers go?

Security: Yes
Driver: Why can't I come in?

Security: Airport is closed

What? Airport is closed! This came to all of us as a surprise. I have never heard at any airport being closed. We gave 5 dollars for tuk tuk and went into the airport. We wanted to check-in and then take some time to sleep. Once we reached the gate, security again stopped us.

Security: You cannot go inside.
I: Why?

Security: The airport staff has not yet come.

This time my friends gave me a scary look. I couldn't help it but have to deal with it. We had to sleep at the table outside the gate. Meanwhile Airport staff started pouring in and we saw the dress rehearsal that they do every morning. At around 6AM, we were allowed to go inside and at that time the check-in counters were not yet opened.

We each selected a bench and slept for sometime till the check-in counters open.