Sakeo / Thailand


Sakeo / Aranyuprathet

A little nest around highway 33, Sakeo is also the capital of Sakeo Province. One wonders that such a little place is a provincial capital, but there is really in the wider surroundings nothing bigger. The town lies about 52km west of the Cambodian border at Poipet / Aranyuprathet. Aranyuprathet is a district town in which a lot of trade is going on and the Thai immigration office of the province is located.

'Sakeo Downtown' by Asienreisender

The largest road in Sakeo, splitting of the highway. Image by Asienreisender, 4/2017

Since Sakeo's town center is placed along the busy highway 33, it's coined by heavy traffic. The place of Aranyaprathet is, due to it's vicinity to Cambodia, a trade knot between the both countries.

Having a few smaller walks around, I could't see anything of historical significance in town or any remarkable building. It's just a typical modern Thai town, and that means the ever repeating egg-carton concrete building style who is so pit-ugly. In stark contrast to that stands the friendliness of the people here.

However, in the past there was a long-lasting Khmer influence over the area, which is documented by a number of Angkorean buildings in the province (but not in town). Sakeo came finally to Siam after the conquests of general/king Taksin in the late 18th century.

Sakeo Bus Station
'Sakeo Bus Station' by Asienreisender

Image by Asienreisender, 4/2017

The border at Poipet / Aranyuprathet is the most notorious border-crossing between Cambodia and Thailand. It's well known for it's hazardous touts on the Cambodian side and the terrible rip-offs who happen there. That comes because the bulk of tourists who come from Thailand and travel towards Siem Reap (in the vicinity of Angkor Archaeological Park) and Phnom Penh pass through here. On the Thai side the situation is much better, it's just pretty crowded and a lot of traffic. Many Thais come here to cross the border for going gambling in the casinos in Poipet.

Aranyuprathet district is, with it's officially 85,000 inhabitants, surprisingly big. After the Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia from 1979 on, a huge number of Cambodian refugees crossed the border here. The number of Khmer refugees in camps around Aranyuprathet is given with 300,000 by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Aranyuprathet Community Center
'Aranyuprathet | Community Center' by Asienreisender

That here is a kind of an administration center of Aranyuprathet, with a number of offices who are located here. Image by Asienreisender, 4/2017

There is an old railway line, linking Bangkok Hua Lamphong Railway Station with Aranyuprathet, which is still running. In the past it was connected with the Cambodian railway which ran via Battambang to Phnom Penh. In 1975, the line was interrupted on the Cambodian side by the newly ruling Khmer Rouge. (See also: 'Nory, the Bamboo Train').

Both places, Sakeo and Aranyuprathet, lie in flat, green plains. Agriculture is the main economic drive. In the north of the province are rising the Sankamphaeng Mountains and in the northeast the Dangrek Mountain Chain. The south is coined by the offshoots of the Cardamom Mountains, who are here already completely deforested.