Cambodia overland from Thailand
Cambodia Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
March 31st, 2004 – by: aquaholicme2
Food and Drink:
Dangers and annoyances:
The obvious danger are landmines, we saw many warning signs on the way. Also there were posters warnings tourists, not to wander around other than normal tourists routes and places, particularly after dark.
After crossing the immigration on the
Inside the immigration building things are much simpler, need to fill the immigration form, if already have a visa then can get out in 5 min. Else if applying for visa at the border then might take anywhere between 15 to 45 min depending on the number of people in the queue. Once outside the building I was immediately surrounded by moto drivers everyone shouting at the top of their voices which i could not understand a word of. From the border there are various options to go to Siem Reap like the tourists buses, KSR buses, pickup truck, Toyota Camry shared car taxi which was recommended. I looked around for the taxi and found one guy, negotiated the price of 20USD. I kept my luggage in the car and took my seat next to the driver and soon as we drove like 100 mts away from the chaos, he started asking the money in advance, saying he needed to fill petrol.
So i declined to pay the money upfront for which he asked me to get out of the car and pay him 50 baht for the 100 mts drive. A pickup truck stopped close by and agreed to take me. There were 4 tourists and 6 locals in the truck so I felt this might be a good choice. Unfortunately I only had 100baht which the car driver happily pocketed and drove off without giving back the change. The pickup truck asked me 150baht for a drop till Siem Reap. I specifically asked for Siem Reap and even checked the 4 tourists. They too mentioned it was going straight to Siem Reap, which was not the case as I found out later.
The pickup truck kept on stopping along to way to pick up more passengers and finally we were a total of 16 persons cramped in the back of the truck. I would never forget this ride in my life. The road was full of potholes and still the driver refused to reduce the speed. We had to grab on to something and pray, all through the way. There were a few supply trucks plying too and forth on this same road and they refused to give way to other vehicles. So rest of the people had to go around the truck off the road. And finally it happened, there was a truck coming straight towards us, neither our driver nor the truck was willing to budge. Sitting at the back i could see the truck coming at full speed towards us and became really uneasy and shouted loudly as the truck came really close. Finally the big sized truck won and our driver took a sharp turn off the road, lost his balance. We had no choice and all the passengers jumped off from the truck screaming, the truck hit a tree and tilted sideways, luggage was lying scattered on the ground, all passengers sitting wide eyed.
We continued our journey and reached Sisophone where suddenly over 15-20 people started running towards our truck, everyone shouting, screaming and making all sorts of noises. The local people from our truck coolly got down and walked away, but we 5 tourists grabbed our bags and were sitting tight in the truck, wondering what's going to happen next. The truck driver came and announced that this is where he is stopping and we need to board another truck to reach Siem Reap.
Rest of the road journey went without any incidents, with the taxi driver telling us how lucky we were to get out of there without anything happening to us. He went on to explain that tourists sometimes are intimidated; luggage's stolen, asked to pay extra, pinched at etc. We thanked our driver again and he took us to Siem Reap, the 4 other tourists checked into one hotel and i asked him to take me to another one. All in all this was the most exciting trip of all my travels. I even agreed to let the driver take me around Siem Reap the next day.
The driver came in sharp at 8 o'clock, and we proceeded towards the Angkor Wat temples.
Next day another early start, and off to Angkor Wat to take a look at the rest of the temples. This time i took a moto driver who asked for 2USD to drop me at the temples site, there I hired a bicycle and went around the temples on my own in the hot sun. Evening went to the main temple called Bayon to watch the sunset and again the site was marvelous.
Back at the hotel i checked my boat ticket for the next day to
We reached Phnom Pehn in 5 hrs and the moment we got down from the boat, we were surrounded by the moto drivers and hotel touts, everyone screaming on top of their voice. I caught hold of one moto driver and asked him to take me near the central market. After a quick shower in the hotel, i took the same moto driver to take me around the town.
Yet another early start, for my return trip back, to the central market to get a taxi to the
Before taking off, i exchanged some currency at the local stall in the market and went about looking for the shared taxi.
Well got hold of one taxi at around 8am, put my luggage in and off we went, total of 7 people (4 passengers at the back, myself and the driver sharing his seat with another boy in the front). My other passengers were one monk, 2 ladies and a gentleman and a boy who was sharing the drivers seat. The distance from Phonm Phen to border town Koh kong is around 300Kms and takes around 6-8 hours by taxi. The border crossing is open only untill 5pm, so i had plenty of time, that's what i thought. This was another memorable trip i would never forget. The taxi was running smoothly and covering good ground fast for some time as the road was pretty good. Only when we moved on rough mud road we were slowed down and when there was a river crossing we need to wait for our turn.
We might have traveled for some 4 hours when the sky started becoming real dark with clouds gathering around.
But to my utter surprise, the driver got out, asked the gentleman in our car to hold an umbrella, took out some tools and went below the car.
I ran to the
From Trat i had to catch an overnight bus to
It was around 2am in the morning and i walked around looking for a cheap hotel to crash. I had around 500baht on me, hotel cost 200 bath, road side noodles 200 baht and rest 100 bath kept for the ride to airport the next day. Found one hotel just off KSR road, away from the loud music, had some noodles and dozed off after a very exciting
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