We booked our bus ticket through a travel agent (Long Phuong) which is on backpackers road almost nextdoor to a great little cafe called the Luke’s cafe. They were very professional here with excellent English and gave us a great price for the Cu Chi tunnels (check out our Cu Chi page) and a bus ticket to Cambodia (520,000 VND for two people both trips).
We left Thao Dien Pearl 10:30 am and got a taxi to Long Phuong, this took about 30 minutes as the roads were pretty clear.
We waited for transport to the bus station which drove us 10 meters down the road to the bus station… It was pretty hilarious!
Got on the bus which was half empty, lots of boxes at the back as usual as they use it as a parcel service too. Got in our allocated seats and off we went.
Everything was running smoothly until the bus driver wanted money for visas and our passports. We handed over our passports as we thought maybe we all stay on the bus and the the police need to check the passports from the driver…anyway we then realised we’d been had as he then started to ask for money for the visa…more than the price the boarder control actually ask for.We had a bit of an argument with him at this point and asked for our passports back as we realised at boarder control you have to get out of the bus anyway as you have to go through security etc. He then refused to give our passports back and said if we didn’t pay him he’d drive off without us. The queue at boarder control really started to build up now and we were panicking. Luckily a local spotted the situation and came over to help….he obviously wanted money too but much less than the driver. So we paid him and he managed to get our passports off the driver and take us to the front of the queue. So in the end it was us waiting for the driver and the rest of the group! He wasn’t happy about us getting back on the bus but eventually gave in.
Anyway a few lessons learned ;
- Do not give anyone your passport!
- Always carry american dollars when going in/out of Cambodia (we didn’t have any which meant we were close to not getting a visa, luckily a nice Canadian guy on the bus had some extra and swapped some dong for us!). In Cambodia they only accept american dollars.
- Have a budget for money that you just have to pay to avoid stress….the saving of a few dollars probably wasn’t worth the massive argument and hassle.