This is one of the most surreal travel experiences I have ever come across.
I was once denied access to Thailand because they thought I might be a terrorist. True story! But let me give you a little bit of background.
Back in 2016 I took a trip to South East Asia. My plan was to visit Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia and Hong Kong and then return to Mainland China, where I lived at that time.
Struggling in Cambodia
Cambodia turned out to be a bit of a letdown. Extremely interesting country but not very tourist-friendly. Everything is overpriced for foreigners, so I found myself spending more than budgeted. That’s why I decided to change my itinerary.
Imma go to Thailand!
But yes, I heard Thailand was more tourist-friendly than Cambodia so I didn’t think twice and took a bus from the capital Phnom-Pehn to the border with Thailand.
At the border
I went through the Cambodian customs office and got to the Thai one, but then I was denied the visa because I didn’t have a flight out of Thailand. I told them I could book a bus ticket back to Cambodia, since I was going to fly out from there. They were not satisfied with that and after trying to convince them for a while, I understood there was no way they were going to let me in.
Back to Cambodia
I went back to the Cambodian office and asked if I could get back in. They were surprised that I wasn’t allowed to cross the border, so one of the Cambodian officers took my passport and went to talk to the Thais. After a few minutes he came back and the conversation went something like this:
Immigration Officer: Sit down!
Nomad Dummy: *I think this is getting serious*
I.O.: See, you have a Tunisian visa on your passport.
N.D.: *puzzled* Yes, I worked in Tunisia for a while. What does that have to do with Thailand?
I.O.: Tunisia is a Muslim country and the Thais are afraid of terrorist attacks.
N.D.: But I’m a Christian!
I.O.: I know but there are many young men who look like you, but then they are actually terrorists.
N.D.: *what in the world…*
I.O.: And your passport is Romanian. Romania is on the black list for fake passports.
N.D.: *say that again!?* What?! My passport is not fake!
But yeah… there was nothing I could do. So I had to pay for the Cambodian visa again and go back.
I was really angry at first but I got over it. But the day will come when Thailand will ask me to go visit and I’ll be like: “Maybe.”
- Sustainable Tourism: Going Beyond the Triple Bottom Line
- Tourism Must Change!
- Prisoner of Hope
- Chieri, Italy – Lesser Known Places
- Safety in São Paulo