I went on the run from Bangkok to Ban Laem border crossing today. I have done it many times before and it used to be very quick, a small mini bus taking 6 - 10 people. We used to leave at 10.00am and were back in Bangkok before 6.00pm.
Now the run to Ban Laem is getting popular as more people hear about it - today we left at 9.30am and didn't get back until after 7.00pm ! I know, all good things come to an end, but the extra couple of hours makes it a real drag. Traffic was not to blame - it was the fact there were 38 of us which clearly takes time to process at the border. At least I will not have to do it again for 7 months as at the end of the current 90 days I am off back to England for a couple of weeks.
The Thai / Cambodian border at Ban Laem
For this run you have to go to the coffee shop at the corner of Sukhumvit Soi 63 ( right next to Ekamai BTS station ) and Sukhumvit Road. The organisers and 'runners' congregate at the tables outside the main coffee shop building. One thing though, it is best to phone a few days before you want to go to check on availability - their phone numbers can be found here
If you arrive at about 0850hrs you will have plenty of time to complete the documentaion and have a coffee. The coach leaves at 0930 on the dot. If you are late you will miss it even if you have booked a place.
A couple of movies are played on the coach during the journey, but to watch them you really need to be in sat in the first 8 rows of seats. Naturally these are the first to be taken - seat positions are not bookable so it's a bit of scrum getting on the coach. The cost is 2000 baht which includes a Thai lunch, and all visa fees. If you are an overstayer your fine has to be paid seperately at the border post. As of February 2009 the fine was 500baht a day overstay.