Day 50 - travel day ... from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

Siem Reap Travel Blog

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Today was another travel day, this time we were catching the express bus from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, a 6 hour journey in total.

Having arrived late in Phnom Penh and struggled to find accomodation in the area we wanted we took the 8:30 express bus in the morning. The bus was a very comfortable air conditioned bus that also supplied a sandwich for breakfast and drinking water to us, all for $8. There was one stop about 4 1/2 hours into the trip as well for anyone that wanted to eat. The only downside was what could be called a bit or a scam when we arrived into Siem Reap. We were supposed to be dropped off in town but instead we were dropped off at the bus station about 5km outside down. As soon as the bus stopped there was a swarm of about 20 tuk-tuk drivers crowded around the door of the bus all vieing for our business. Some of them even had signs with peoples names on them, strange given that we hadn't actually stopped where we were supposed to.

Seemingly the scam is that if you book a guest house in Siem Reap and are arriving by bus, the guest house will sell your name to a tuk-tuk driver so when the bus arrives the tuk-tuk driver has already got a customer, of course they offer to take you to your guest house for free where they then will try and talk you into taking a 3 day trip around the temples with them, setting a person back about $8 a day for 1 person or about $15 - $20 a day for 2 - 3 people.

If you don't get caught by this scam, then the bus company has a similar one, showing you to 'their' transport into town, a tuk-tuk as well, with the same setup. We got caught in the bus company scam, and from what I could find out, all the bus companies to Siem Reap have a similar arrangement so its really hard to avoid. Its not really a scam either as the costs... the free trip into town then the $8 a day per person is about normal anyway, but this way you don't really get to pick your own tuk-tuk driver.

After getting our free tuk-tuk into town, we were dropped off at the guesthouse we were looking for, 'Popular Guesthouse' again recommeded by lonely planet, where a twin room is from $6 up and a single from $4 up. The guesthouse is very clean, tidy with really friendly staff, a definite good spot!

Later that evening, after settling into our rooms we headed into Siem Reap center to take a look around and to get something to eat. We ate at 'The Red Piano', a medium priced restaurant on 'Bar Street' which was very nice and we headed back to the guest house in anticipation for our first day at the Angkor Temples.

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Siem Reap
photo by: genetravelling