Bus to Phnom Penh from Ho Chi Minh City
Phnom Penh Travel Blog› entry 1 of 8 › view all entries
January 31st, 2008 – by: stephandadam
Being ripped off is a fact off life travelling pretty much anywhere but whenever it happens it sticks in your throat badly. This was our fault for trusting a local so really we should have known better but going through life trusting no one is a pretty sad way to live so sometimes you have to have faith in others. We stayed at Guesthouse 70 also known as Phan Lan Hotel in 70 Bien Vien HCMC. The woman who runs it is incredibly friendly and like all good thieves, robbers and con men lulls you into a false sense of security. We had researched what bus company we wanted to use as its a big trip to Phnom Penh with a border crossing and visa issue to negotiate as well so a reliable company is best. We wanted to use Sapaco Tours whoses buses are new, have on board toilets, big comfy reclining seats and aircon. The woman at the guesthouse even had their advertising up so when she offered to book our Sapaco tickets we figured we'd trust her and save ourselves the walk round to their offices. Big mistake. You cannot trust the woman at Guesthouse 70!! As we found out the next morning when the bus which was due to pick us up at 8am arrived at 8.45 and was an old run down Highway One Company Bus whose toilet packed up after an hour!! Great for a nine hour journey!! On top of that the driving staff tried to tell everyone that they had to arrange their Cambodian Visa through them at a cost of $25 which was a blatant lie but some people did it anyway. We did ours ourselves for just $20 as did several others. As usual the stops are at pre arranged places where the drivers get a kick back, the food is always swill and at one they even tried to charge for using the toilet (which was a hole in the floor over a field) despite the one on the bus being broken. A few angry six foot westerners soon changed the four foot two inch Cambodians' mind on that one!! Our bus went at a snails pace most of the way and three Sapaco buses sped past which only rubbed salt in our wounds. The scheduled five hour journey had stretched to nine by the time we eventually arrived which made it hard work finding a guesthouse with a vacancy to round off a perfect experience. Thing was we wern't the only suckers who'd been caught out so our advice is to book direct with Sapaco tours as there are other unscrupulous thieving guesthouse owners doing the same. We've e-mailed our woman telling her of our dissapointment but we arn't holding our breath for a reply.
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