The moral of this story is don’t lose your Australian passport. But give me a minute and I’ll get to that.
We found ourselves in Phnom Penh for a couple of days to see the genocide museum, Tuol Sleng (S21), and the Killing Fields.
Despite visiting these two sites before I was still amazed at the sense of sadness this place evokes in me. Up to 12,000 people were tortured and murdered in S21 and Choeung Ek (one of many killing fields in Cambodia). These two places are must-dos when in Phnom Penh.
After two days in the capital we got a bus back to Siem Reap and I got to meet the biggest shit-for-brains person I’ve met in Cambodia and quite possibly the entire planet.
Then to top that off my bag was stolen with my phone, Go Pro camera, iPod, glasses and passport in it. Well, what a happy ending to a great week.
It cost around $80 (American) for losing the passport and another $250 to replace it. So if I put that into beer terms, that’s about 700 schooners during happy hour I will never have the pleasure of consuming.
This also meant another trip to Phnom Penh on a bus, to fill in paperwork to get a new passport at the Aussie embassy, only to find I had to have a copy of my birth certificate, which is at the Journo’s parents’ place in Perth.
So it turned out, I spent 13 hours on a bus – including an overnight bus (those who know me know how much I hate buses) – to do a return trip from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, with no results.
JD and JM (Journo’s dad and Journo’s mum) made a trip to their local post office in Perth to fax a copy of the birth certificate to the embassy for me. Thank you very much (or in Khmer: ahkun charan). One two-page fax cost 20 Australian dollars.
And when we contacted the embassy they confirmed they had received it but Australia Post had not verified that it was an original copy. So JD and JM had to go back to the Post Office and do it all over again – with verification.
With all that finally sorted I had to do another trip to Phnom Penh this week to officially lodge the application with all the relevant documents filled out and then I have to apply to Cambo immigration to get an exit visa to leave the country and then get another visa to come back in. I opted to fly there but spent another six hours in a mini bus doing the return trip from Phnom Penh. Did I mention I hate buses?
In short, don’t lose your passport or visa – it’s a pain in the arse.
Keep your documents safe, and as the sign on Marom’s tuk tuk says – happy trip.
What to do if you lose your Australian passport in Cambodia
- You must report a lost or stolen passport to the embassy straight away. There is an online form you can fill out.
- You have to report it to the police so you can present the embassy with a police report, whether it is lost or stolen. If you have a tourist visa you need to go to the tourist police. If you have an E-visa you need to go to xx police.
- The Australian embassy is in Phnom Penh. You will need to take documentation there. If you have a postal address, the embassy can mail you the document to fill in.
- You will also need a copy of your birth certificate. This can be faxed from an Australia Post outlet. Australia Post needs to verify they are sending a copy of the original.
- You will need to have passport photos, taken within the last six months and printed within the embassy’s strict guidelines for passport photos (you can find details on the embassy website).
- The passport photos need to be signed on the back by an Australian resident who has known you at least 12 months and is not family or someone you are in a relationship with. There are also certain Cambodian officials who can sign them.
- You need to fill out the paperwork and take it to Phnom Penh.
Costs of replacing your lost Australian passport:
- To discourage you from being lax about your important documents the Australian government has introduced a “lost fee”. Essentially it is a fine or a slap on the wrist for not looking after your passport and documents. Apparently this fee varies, depending on how many important documents you have reported lost or stolen in the last five years.
- The cost of replacing the lost passport is $250 (again, it must be paid in American dollars).
More information about lost Australian passports: