The Far East will never seem as far as it does when you suddenly find yourself having to relocate there with your family and pets. As a specialist of the Eastern Europe & Asian relocations, I have had some very strange requests come across my desk. I am currently researching a move of two small Boer goats from California to Vientiane, Laos and another move of a horse from Moldova to Azerbaijan. These relocations take careful planning and a large amount of lead time.
I was contacted in July by a woman named Marie who wanted to move her two dogs, Princess & Gabriel, from Atlanta, GA to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. My initial response was “Where?” Phnom Penh is the capital of Cambodia, which is located just east of Thailand and west of Vietnam, residing along the Gulf of Thailand. It is a politically turbulent monarchy and makes most of its revenue off of tourism and garments. Phnom Penh itself is the most populous city in Cambodia and is home to more than one million Cambodians (also sometimes known as Khmers).
Sisowath Quay in Phnom Penh.
Sisowath Quay is the main street in Phnom Penh and runs along the Tonle Sap river.
As is the case with many of the smaller, more obscure countries, I was unable to find a flight suitable for pets that would fly directly from the US to Phnom Penh. So I had to spend several days researching available routes. Marie worked for the US government, and this made it even more difficult as she was required to fly on an American carrier as far as possible before switching to a foreign carrier.
I decided that the best way to send Princess and Gabriel would be by sending them into Hong Kong. We have a wonderful agent in Hong Kong named Louise who speaks fluent English as well as her native Chinese, and I work with her a lot when sending other pets to Hong Kong (as it is one of PetRelocation.com’s most frequent destinations). Continental Airlines, an American carrier, has a daily direct flight from Newark, NJ to Hong Kong and because of their program which keeps pets in climate control the entire time, I use the flight frequently. Keep in mind that we were going to try to send Princess and Gabriel, two black labs, over in September, which is one of the hottest times of the year. So an airline that put the pets’ best interest first was key.
Gabriel in his new travel dog crate.
I had Marie send me pictures of her dogs in the dog travel crates so I could make sure they were the suitable size for travel. Animal welfare laws require there be 2-4 inches of clearance over an animal’s head when standing.
After several months of paperwork and careful planning, the dogs left Atlanta on September 14 on their first domestic flight. They arrived in Newark safely, where they spent the night. Our agent in Newark made sure they were fed, watered and exercised before their next flight. The following day they departed on their sixteen hour flight to Hong Kong. Marie was in the cabin above while her dogs flew in the cargo area below. They arrived in Hong Kong late in the evening on the sixteenth of September. Louise had pre-arranged a transit permit for them and the dogs spent the night at the airport quarantine facility, as pets transiting through a country cannot leave the airport. The next day, Louise met Marie at the Thai Airways check-in counter with the dogs.
Louise with the dogs in Hong Kong at the Thai Airways check-in counter.
Then Marie, Princess and Gabriel flew on their third and final leg from Hong Kong to Phnom Penh. Upon arrival, Marie was greeted by the US Embassy and they handled the customs process for her pets.
Marie reports that the guards in Phnom Penh seem to enjoy the dogs’ company.
It has been a few months now since they all got to Cambodia and Marie was nice enough to send us pictures from her their new home, in our PetRelocation t-shirt!
Marie, Princess & Gabriel at their home in Phnom Penh.