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Inquiry Submission By bills_pix

Arrived on a tour with 16 others from Thailand. 1 person’s passport was mistakenly stamped earlier on the trip on her last blank page. After much negotiation, the immigration agent said $20 US would “take care of the problem” which he promptly put directly in his pocket.

On leaving Siem Reap for Ho Chi Min city my Vietnam visa was checked and verified by airline staff at baggage check-in. At the exit counter for Cambodia immigration I handed the officer my boarding pass, Vietnam visa, and passport. Unbeknownst to me, he kept the Vietnam visa. While seated on the plane and nearly ready to taxi I realized my Vietnam visa was missing. The staff of Cambodia Angkor Air (the national airline of Cambodia) forbid me to search for the visa and took me and my wife and luggage off the plane. The rest of our group continued to Vietnam.

We were told by Cambodia Angkor Air airline staff they had no solution for us and they couldn’t have cared less that we were stranded. The immigration officer denied being the one who earlier stamped our passport and stole my visa. After much arm-twisting, the only solution the airline manager could come up with was to take us to a questionable looking guy with a cracked cell phone outside the airport, who, for $200 US and my passport would get the necessary paperwork for Vietnam from “a guy on a scooter”. This was a completely unacceptable solution. What were the chances I would ever see my passport again?

Luckily I was able to find a Vietnam visa website (vietnamvisa sitet.vn/) using the airport WiFi who, for a fee of $17 plus the $20 letter fee, got me a letter of introduction within 45 minutes by email. I have zero relationship with that site as I am only a satisfied customer.

The staff at Siem Reap airport were USELESS in helping and only when we slipped a $10 bribe to an airport manager did we get a boarding pass for much later that evening. Also, my checked bag was rummaged at Siem Reap, the only time in 30 days of travel and 11 flights.

With thousands of travelers to Vietnam every day, is it believable the airline staff had no idea the visa would be replaced upon landing at Ho Chi Min city for $5? I do not believe they were unaware of this option and were sharing in the $200 “fee”.

There are many more details left out for brevity, but the morale of the story: check your paperwork whenever you get it back and especially, be prepared to bribe government officials if anything is needed or there are “problems”, real or manufactured in Siem Reap.