The Bangkok- Siem Reap Scam
Siem Reap Travel Blog› entry 5 of 55 › view all entries
Right, so there aren't many words that can describe the change there is going from Thailand into Cambodia. First, we get up at 7, and set off from our hostel (which I can highly recommend) to go to Arunyaprathet at the Thai-Cambodia border. It takes about 3 hours, and is smooth, in a nice minibus. Just before the border, a guy comes and gets all our money off us for our Visa, which is now, not only not payable in US Dollars, but is significantly more expensive than it should be. Me and Burg don't have passport photos, sp paid 1500B, about 30 quid, for our Cambodia visa, when it should be 20 US. The American dude (who was a total dude, man) said it was a bummer, and should have hitchiked, man. But we paid, cos there's not much you can do in that situation.
Getting through the border is pretty easy, into Poipet. Let me put it bluntly, Poipet is a shithole. Seriously. Soon as you cross no-mans land (full of casinos, where Thai people bet) you can smell the deprivation and poverty of Cambodia. Our American buddy told us lots of stories of stray dogs biting people, beggars harassing you, and amazing temples, and cool beaches. So, it was good and bad.
So, we transfer in Poipet, and get on a shitty, old, clapped out bus. But it's OK, ços this bus only takes us to the official bus station. All this time, our guide (who ripped us off earlier) tells us constantly there are NO ATM's in Cambodia (LIE), they DON'T take Thai Baht (LIE, Everywhere west of Siem Reap does), in order to get us to change more money into Dollars. Not sure why, maybe he get a little backhander, seems to me. It all seems like everyone is out to rip you off. Like another traveller on the bus said, everyone here is friendly, but you can't trust a word they say...sad, but true!
We wait a little while at the bus station, then along comes a vehicle that shouldn''t still work, but somehow does, with even less leg-room than the previous one! So, this is to be our ride for the next 7 hours. And the road. Oh my. The road. It is the worst road in the world. It's a fact. I saw a sign advertising the fact. Well, I didn't, but I could have, it was TERRIBLE. Apparently, a certain airline pays the Cambodian Government not to do the road up, due to a monopoly held by them on Bangkok- SIem Reap flights.
So, the scam! It goes like this, they make the road as shit as possible, the ride as uncomfortable as possible, and as long as possible, then they take you to a guesthouse. No obligation. 99% of the people on our bus stayed there, except for me and Burg, and a brother and sister, we were chatting to. We both got tuk-tuks to other hostels. I have never been so relieved to see my bed, and it's a great place too, the Baca Villa, Siem Reap. 5.50 p/n, ensuite, awesome! AND, we have our tuk-tuk driver ready for tomorrow! Perfecto....now sleep....