In the first 20 years of my life, I knew nothing about post office. I didn’t know how it worked, what I should send or receive, or what I should expect the post office could do for me. I was completely blank. I think some people are not familiar like I did, so I wrote this up. Hopefully, you will find it useful, and I try to be informative as much as I can.
In Cambodia, it’s quite hard to get something delivered to the place you stay. Some streets don’t have street numbers or names, house numbers are not known and we don’t have proper system for that. I understand that it is hard for post man to deliver it to your home, even if they do, it will take some time to do so.
When the mail was delivered to my house, the post man would ask for some delivery fee or they will tell you it’s the tea money or something like that. Normally, they ask for around $5 to $10 for one envelope delivered, I gave them the minimum fee they asked for. Actually, it depends on post man, some would ask for around 10,000 KHR (approximately $2.50), some would ask for 5$ or more, it may depend on how they think the envelope is important to you and how far your home is. Personally, I think 5$ is reasonable and you shouldn’t give them more than that.
My cousin is expecting to receive a mail from the US, and she addressed it to her hometown which is in Kompong Cham province (124 km from Phnom Penh). She was told that the mail was sent 6 weeks ago, and it took around 3 to 4 weeks to get to her, but even after 6 weeks she hasn’t received anything. She went to ask officers at the post office in Phnom Penh for several times, she gave them her contacts. She was told that they would be looking for her mail, and the next time she visited the post office, she was told that they hadn’t looked for her mail yet. That’s frustrating, but there’s nothing she could do except waiting for now.
When you buy products online and ship to Cambodia, there are several shipping methods offered. It varies from one online store to another. I bought Korean products, the common shipping methods are Express Mail Service (EMS) and Registered Air Mail (RAM). The shipping fees also varies from the two.
Express Mail Service (EMS)
I am satisfied with the shipment via EMS. They handle the items with care, and you can still see the sharp edge of the box when it’s in your hand. It takes around 7 to 10 business days for the products to arrive Cambodia excluding the handling process. When it arrives, it won’t be delivered to your home, instead the officers at the post officer would call you to pick up the products. When they call you, they will tell you which room you should go to, normally for EMS you go to room 33, the box number, what you should bring with you including a copy of ID or passport. Note down the box number, and when you go to pick up your box, tell officers your box number and they will get you the products.
An interesting yet quite frustrating thing is, before you can get the ordered items, you will have to sign on the delivery report with your name and phone number. And if you pick up goods on behalf of other people, you will be asked for a copy of your ID/passport. After signing the delivery report, the front desk officer will ask for a fee. I’m not sure what it is for, but I had to give them, and the fee varies according to the weight of your box. If your box weighs around 2 Kg, they will ask for around $3, if it weighs around 3 kg, they will ask you around $4. After you pay the fee, they will pass your box to the custom duty or tax officer who stand by at the front desk all the time.
What the tax/custom duty officer did with my purchase was asking me what was in it, and after that she opened the box and kind of scrutinized everything. She asked me why I bought so much and asked if it was my first order. I was startled. I honestly told her that I bought it with a few of my friends that was why it weighs more than 1 kg, we did the poll purchase to save the shipping fee, and it was my first purchase. After she listened, she told me about the custom duty or import tax levied on cosmetic products (which is around 65% of the total cost). My jaws dropped. I didn’t have 75$ with me at that time, and I thought that if I had to pay that much, I would let them keep what I bought. But finally, she said, because it was my first order, she let me get the products without paying the tax or custom duty fee, but next time I must.
Registered Air Mail (RAM)
The RAM shipping method is acceptable. I spent less than EMS method, got the item delivered later than via EMS, and I could ship for less than 2 kg if I choose RAM. The good thing about RAM is that officers are friendlier, you pay less when picking up your box (around $1.60 for 1.50 kg), and you don’t have to deal with the tax or custom duty officers. The process is the same as EMS. They will call you when the products arrive telling you the box number, which room you should go to, and what you should bring. And if you order items from Korea like me, you would get your products at around 2 to 3 weeks excluding public holidays and weekends. Normally it will transit via Hong Kong for products from Korea.
How To Track Your Items
After your order has been shipped, the online store will give you tracking code to track your ordered items with links and you can simply click on that link to view the details of your products, or you can copy the code and paste it into the track box in Cambodia post office website. Easy as that.
I hope this could help you. Let me know if it does, and if you have any questions about this, do let me know, I will answer if I can. Have a good day!