When I Was a Terrorist…

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!

Dumb idea!

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.”

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