I will be flying with Air Asia from Bangkok (DMK - Don Mueang International Airport) to Cambodia (Phnom Penh). I have purchased bus tickets from the Mekong bus company as a proof of onward travel. They have sent me an email confirmation.

The confirmation email looks like this:

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There's a word going around that bus and train tickets are not acceptable proof of onward travel and only airline tickets are.

Could someone confirm to have travelled with Air Asia and have used bus or train ticket as proof of onward travel.

  • 4
    Purely anecdotal: I flew a very similar itinerary about 2.5y ago, but wasn't asked for any proof of onward/return travel by AirAsia. As a matter of fact, I've flown with AA numerous times (often one-way) and have never been asked for such proof. Dutch national/passport holder. YMMV of course.
    – MH.
    Jan 20, 2017 at 7:17
  • @MH. another anecdote. A friend was not asked by the airline for onward travel for his flight to vietnam. Immigration officer asked and they deported him on arrival.
    – lalala
    Nov 24, 2020 at 11:39

2 Answers 2


I can't answer the general question, but for your specific case, at last check Cambodia does not require proof of onward travel at all.

  • How do you know? More to the point, how can we be sure that you're right? Sources? Jan 20, 2017 at 15:50
  • 3
    @NateEldredge Personal experience, Timatic and the general difficulty of proving a negative ;) Jan 21, 2017 at 0:03
  • 2
    Confirming, no one checked us (family of 4)... Mar 21, 2017 at 2:22
  • 1
    This was true when I went to Cambodia in April 2017. No need to prove the onward travel. Only when crossing the border to get out of the country authorities will check if you respected your VISA.
    – Kii
    Sep 5, 2017 at 7:57
  • I can vouch also. Cambodia didn't ask for stay or return tickets. Aug 3, 2019 at 4:01

Officially Cambodia's policy is possession of a "return ticket", which by definition means a ticket that takes you back whence you came on the same type conveyance. A "return ticket" is the most common specification for proof of exiting the country within the time allowed used by countries all over the world.

However, most countries will accept an "onward ticket" in lieu of a "return ticket", as it shows your exit plans from that country.

Unfortunately most airlines check-in policies mandate an air ticket as the only acceptable POOT (proof of onward travel). This is due in part to the fact that most buses or trains go to the border, you then cross on foot and pick up a different bus on the other side, so your bus ticket doesn't actually take you across the border (even though your reservation might). Whereas on a plane you clear immigration before embarking and can only disembark at the destination.

Also airlines have been in the game long enough to know that a $5 bus ticket to the border is a cheap way to try and get around the rules. And while people still buy cheap airfare as throwaways, the number of people scamming with this routine is much smaller.

All that said, it is really up to the check-in counter agent to determine if you meet entry requirements. Travelers have talked their way onto planes with only a bus ticket or a hotel booking. But likewise travelers have been left behind at the airport for the same reason. Do you feel lucky?

  • 1
    This answer is wrong. At least according to Timatic, which is what check-in agents use, no proof of onward travel is required except for a select few nationalities. And for those who do require it, an onward ticket will do
    – Crazydre
    Jan 20, 2017 at 4:09
  • 3
    As per the Cambodia Embassy in the USA website under information for VOA - "* Important: In order to be admitted into the country, tourists may need to demonstrate that they have sufficient funds for their stay and a return ticket." In other words a return ticket is required, but not always checked for.
    – user13044
    Jan 20, 2017 at 4:18
  • Embassy info is much more likely to be outdated, and since Timatic is more specific (it does state a return/onward ticket is required for some nationalities) it is likely the case here. Besides, OP asked about the rules enforced at check-in, which is certainly whatever's stated in Timatic
    – Crazydre
    Jan 20, 2017 at 4:27
  • @Crazydre - The question is "are bus tickets acceptable as POOT" and my answer addresses that question. The Timatic information does not address what is considered as POOT, it only says that POOT is required for some nationalities.
    – user13044
    Jan 20, 2017 at 6:44
  • Well, it does say "return/onward", meaning both are accepted. Edited my answer
    – Crazydre
    Jan 20, 2017 at 7:30

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