Some Stranded Travelers Reroute to Cambodia

With an estimated 300,000 travelers stranded in Thailand from the closure of Bangkok’s Suvar­nabhumi Airport, some are taking to buses and vans to cross into Cambodia and fly out of Siem Reap and Phnom Penh international airports.

Cynthia Davies is one of them. The 27-year-old Briton flew into Bangkok on Nov 16 for two weeks of travel, rock-climbing and beach bumming on Thailand’s southern coast. But on Nov 30, when the anti-government protests in Bangkok halted all flights out of Bangkok, Davies found herself faced with an extended stay in Thailand.

Instead of flying from Phuket to Bangkok to New York, Davies opted Friday to bus 12 hours back to Bangkok, where she spent two nights before paying $42 for an 11-hour minivan ride to Phnom Penh in a seat with a broken backrest.

Several Bangkok bus operators were booked with people rerouting their flights, she said in Phnom Penh on Tuesday, and seven of the 10 other “cranky” people in her crowded minivan were also rerouting their flight plans to depart from Phnom Penh or Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

China Airlines sales representative in Phnom Penh Te Ann said Tues­day that 10 to 20 travelers from his airline had rerouted their flights to leave from Cambodia instead of Bangkok. And Veera­yuthi Phothi-at, Bangkok Airways’ Cambodia Country Director, said Tuesday that 10 to 20 people from his airline had done the same.

Ho Vandy, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents and co-chair of the government-private sector Tourism Working Group, said Tuesday that “some [people] are rerouting from Bangkok to fly out of Cam­bodia…but not many.”

Though some of Thailand’s stranded foreign passengers are crossing into Cambodia, the drop in tourists as a result of the turmoil in Bang­kok is causing $1 million in daily losses to Cambodia’s economy. “Maybe I’m making up for some of those people” who are now not traveling to Cambodia, said Davies, who spent about $200 in total on an entrance visa, meals, a massage, DVDs and the airport departure tax during her 36 hours in Cambodia.


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