June 13, 2004
While in Japan as my contract winded down I planned to do one brief trip
before going back to Canada and
back to school at UBC to do my MBA. I decided
to go to Cambodia and I decided to
go overland. I followed the advise I
found on the website and like their webmaster I recommend flying to
Siem Reap rather than busing overland. You'll save yourself a whole day and
it won't cost terribly much.
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- 6:00 Am got up and packed showered and walked to
Khao San road
Ate breakfast waited for the pick up at 7:30.
- Pick up was slightly late then only drove me three blocks to a big Mercedes
bus that departed at 8:00 am promptly. The bus had a bathroom but it was a
bit dodgy, it was AC though.
- We briefly stopped at 10:30 for unexplained reasons.
- 11:30 Arrive at the Siam Guesthouse. Official story: 40 minute break for
lunch and to get your visa. I had mine. They charged 1200 Baht and would
take your photo if you did not have it. Food cost was comparable to Khao
- 12:26 Back in the Air Con bus.
- 12:43 in line on the Thai side of border. The line is long.
- 1:58 through both borders waiting for our bus...
- 2:05 On the Cambodian bus it is the Korean bus (writing on side) but is a
Toyota, aircon no bathroom. We only drove a few blocks were we are given a
story about changing money I later learned the rate was 3400 riel to the
dollar. I just waited.
- Then we change buses drive another block to a waiting area. There are
people from another bus/tour that were in line with us. No reason is given
why we are here. There is a video playing, the place has a bathroom.
- One of the girls in our group traveling alone got to leave before the rest
of us on the bigger nicer bus. We later got ahead of them somehow and they
were at the restaurant before us after they passed us along the way. They
ultimately probably got to town before us but I'd wager not by much...
- At 3:09 we board the new bus. It is old and leaks with no AC.
- 5:06 we reach a restaurant "half way" The food wasn't good and despite the
story they take Baht, Dollars and Riel. The exchange rate here is 4000
riel to the dollar and 100 Riel to the Baht.
- 5:43 out of the restaurant.
- 6:30 we stop at the predicted toilet place. I told people sitting beside
me we would be stopping again having read about the journey several times
online at TalesOfAsia.com Our bus is surrounded by children asking for
money. Most including me do not get out...
- Officially we are to arrive at 9:00pm Apparently some people were told 6:30
by the travel agents...
- 7:39 Emergency restroom stop on the side of the road for a girl who didn't
go at the last place, though she did give money out the window...
- At 8:30 I abandoned everyone, liberating my own bag from the bus and walked
45 minutes back to Earthwalkers in the dark.
We were dropped off near
Peace of Angkor, but the actual spot was two places down something like
Pharanha Angkor, I didn't write it down. I ignored the waiting Tuk Tuks and
other Guesthouse people and persistant motobike drivers and
walked 45 minutes straight back to Earthwalkers.
- Maybe I should have done the share taxi, but I had horrible taxi experiences
in Bangkok so I knew at least the bus would get me into town. As luck
would have it I saw the Earthwalkers sign out the other side of the bus. I
never even bothered to listen to the final spiel...
- I was mocked for timing the distance between where we ended up and where I
wanted to be and no one seemed to think much of me bolting as soon as we
stopped. But I was happy when I arrived at Earthwalkers, though I haven't
had the best of times in South East Asia so far.
Words and Images © Andrew "Muskie" McKay.