Phnom Phen to Siem Reap

On the way we stopped a couple of times for rest breaks (no WC on the bus). There was a huge storm as we were driving with lighting strikes causing fires on our route.

There was this smell of burning plastic on the bus and then we stopped!

Broken down!!!!

A little panic swept over us….but about an hour later, and one very soggy driver we were back on our way. He had to get under the bus in the pouring rain…didn’t quite get that picture but this one is him at the back trying to fix it at first!

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We were exhausted when we arrived in Siem Reap and pissed off as usual as the driver refused to let us off where we asked (he let all the locals get off outside their doors) and drove us to a tuk-tuk station. Anyway in bitterness we decided to walk instead of paying someone which took us about an hour as we got soooo lost! we were staying in siem reap pub hostel which is really nice but hard to find, its down a little muddy dirt track, just about wide enough for the tuk-tuks.

Crossing the border – Vietnam to Cambodia via bus

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 ;

  1. Do not give anyone your passport!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.