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Poipet Location Profile

Poipet Location Profile
Poipet Location Profile

Overview

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Poipet is a well-known town on the Cambodian and Thailand border and is a key crossing point between the two countries. 

Located in Paoy Paet district, Banteay Meanchey Province, Poipet is adjacent to the town of Aranya Pratet on the Thai side of the border.

The Cambodian city is popular as a gambling destination as gambling is illegal in Thailand and it is illegal for Cambodians. The town is also host to a growing number of hotels, commercial centres, and residential developments.

Tourists traveling between the two countries often make a short stop in Poipet while most of the residents are Cambodian and Chinese.

Key Information

Poipet was one of the last strongholds of the notorious Khmer Rouge and it was only after the Cambodian Civil War ended in 1997 that the town experienced an economic renaissance of sorts.

It is now seeing increased importance as a trade, tourism and economic hub in Cambodia. The ongoing talks of the rail network being extended and connecting Phnom Penh and Bangkok via Poipet has stimulated investment in the area.

Poipet is well known as a gambling hub, with more than 10 casinos in 2020, Poipet is considered Cambodia’s number two casino destination after Sihanoukville.

There is a strip of casinos and hotels in Poipet, before the Thai passport control counters, enabling Thais and other foreigners to gamble in Cambodia without needing to go through Cambodian immigration. In Cambodia, gambling is illegal for Cambodian citizens but not for holders of foreign passports

Some of the casinos include Poipet Resort Casino, Crown Casino, and Star Vegas Casino. Before the banning of online casinos in Cambodia, thousands of Chinese moved to the town and either were involved in the construction or gaming industry, or staying as short-term tourists who visited Poipet for gambling.

In its peak, it is also believed as many as 2,000 and 3,000 Thais entered Poipet daily. At the time in 2019, Poipet had 22 casinos and employed about 10,000 Cambodians and more than 1,200 foreigners, mostly Thais and Chinese. Poipet casinos are believed to have accounted for as much as 22% off nationwide gaming revenue in 2018.

Poipet has been considered one of the fastest developing towns in the country, a boomtown with the  potential of becoming a centre for manufacturing, tourism, and real estate development. The cross-border activity has made the town grow to be larger than the provincial capital, Sisophon. The border between the two countries is open from 07:00 - 22:00. 

The town also hosts three special economic zones (SEZs): Poipet O'Neang Special Economic Zone (POSEZ), Sanco Poipet Special Economic Zone and the Poipet PPSEZ. In December 2019, Poipet’s three active SEZs had a total of 17 factories and 7,500 jobs. 

In 2019, Poipet Airport Investment (PAI) received approval from the government to study the feasibility of developing an airport in Poipet. The proposed airport site is located 13 kilometres from the town.

Poipet's population has increased from 43,366 in the 1998 census to 89,549 in the 2008 census, making it the 4th most populous settlement in Cambodia at the time and larger than its provincial capital Sisophon.

The boom in casinos and hotels meant that the population grew rapidly from 90,000 to 120,000 and it is believed there could be as many as 140,000 - 180,000 living in Poipet in 2020.

The results of the latest population census should be available in 2020-2021. It should be noted that during the casino boom prior to the restrictions of online casinos in 2019, estimates suggested that between 8,000 and 10,000 Chinese moved to the city.

It is believed that 41.09% of the Cambodian population are between 25 and 54 years old, with an average age of 25.7 years across Cambodia.

Things To Do in Poipet

There are no major malls in Poipet but many local stalls and shops sell goods in the city and Poipet is a major travel hub so goods from Thailand and Cambodia should be easily found here.

In October 2019, the Thai-owned, Big C Poipet Poipet Hypermarket opened and is a huge supermarket but also has a Major Cineplex Cinema, Pizza Company and Amazon Cafe outlet.

There are also pharmacies, corner stores and a range of Cambodian markets in Poipet.

Aside from the international border demarcation and the strip of hotels and casinos in Poipet, it lacks many major landmarks.

The Kbal Spean Traffic circle on the road before he passport/immigration control is often cited as a meeting and easy navigation point.

In early 2020, the construction of Sokha Residences Sanco, an affordable housing development in Poipet town with capital investment of around $151 million, was announced and is set to be completed in early 2023.

Most western food and beverage offerings in Poipet are inside the casinos and hotels with mainly Chinese or Thai food also common. Some of the casinos offer buffets with a mixed spread.

Other reputable restaurants include Destiny Café, Palm Coffee, Border Restaurant HARU, and Hangout Restaurant/Café. These restaurants serve a mix of Cambodian, Asian, and Western cuisine. 

Destiny Cafe (7am-7pm) is an NGO supported cafe with a range of breakfast options as well as lunch items.

Most other restaurants or food stalls in Poipet cater to travellers stopping for a meal on their way to or from Thailand.

Some more regional and international franchises have opened in Poipet including True Cafe, Amazon Cafe and The Pizza Company.

The casinos in Poipet offer a range of nighttime entertainment, but they each may have their own restrictions and dress codes. The entertainment may include live music, shows, and other events.

There are some local beer gardens and KTV which are popular with Cambodians.

Poipet does have a reasonable selection of accommodation and some hotels may also have music and entertainment.

The Poipet border is a terminus of the Cambodia railway system, with trains only reaching the station in 2018 after the railway line was reactivated. The train route will eventually connect Poipet to Thailand and could in the future carry passengers from Phnom Penh to Bangkok.

Tuk tuks or the remork-moto is a carriage attached to a motorcycle and popular in the major cities, while newer smaller tuk tuks have also entered the market in recent years and are popular with a number of ride-hailing apps which are commonly used in Cambodia.

The Poipet town is also relatively easily covered on foot and on bicycle.

Poipet is well connected with reasonably priced buses to various points in the country including Phnom Penh, Battambang and Siem Reap. The bus station is located in the city center near the southwest end of Pub Street. 

Taxis are another popular means to reach Poipet and can also be used to head to other Cambodian destinations for the northwestern city.

Poipet has good access routes and can be located on the fully paved National Highway 5 which runs to Sisophon and onto Tonle Sap Lake to Battambang and Phnom Penh. 

At Sisophon, National Highway 6 branches off and offers an arterial route along the north of the Tonle Sap to Siem Reap and onto Phnom Penh.

Poipet is largely a Cambodian city but some expats have relocated here for work in the casino and hotel industry and some also reside in the town to teach English.

More and more development projects are being announced for Poipet and if the international train starts operating between Thailand and Cambodia it will become an even more important travel and tourism hub.

Real Estate near Poipet


Sangkats in Poipet