Busses, I am not so fond of

Vagabond Tim
It started out well enough, I was picked up by a guy on a motorcycle at my hostel, and with my backpack on proceeded to ride across town as a passenger on the back of the bike. Riding as a passenger is not overly fun, it is far less fun with a backpack on. I can’t blame the driver though, he did do his best to make the trip as safe as possible.

From there I was dropped onto a bus heading toward the border. I had applied for an E-visa to Cambodia the night before. I strongly recommend doing this as it really minimizes the border hassle. Now assuming you aren’t in a hurry or a moron you will want to apply a week in advance. Being that I was/am both I applied less than 24 hours in advance and was very very lucky to receive my conformation email en-route to the border.

The trip to the border was in a packed minivan, they told us there would be a bus waiting for us at the other side of the border. The border was six hours away. This wasn’t a very pleasant trip but the promise of a bus with A/C waiting for us made it better. It would have been much better if there actually HAD been a bus. There was not.

About five minutes from the border we arrived at this little stop where they tried to convince everyone they needed to apply for a visa. Luckily for me I already had my E-Visa taken care of, although I did need to pay them 100baht (about 3$) to print it for me though.
After we had waited about an hour at this outdoor sweltering area we were piled into a truck (the flatbed specifically) and driven to the border, or rather NEAR the border. A twenty minute hike in the sun later we arrived at the first of many baffling checkpoints.

It wasn’t so much confusing as annoying, since we had all assumed we were going from a bus to a building to another bus no one had really arranged their gear for a hike. When we finally emerged on the Cambodia side we were offered dozens of tuktuks, cabs, vans and other options (all with additional costs) however we had paid for a bus and intended to take it. After about 45 minutes we were advised it would be another two hours waiting for the bus, but we could hop in another minivan instead at no cost.

The driver decided to nearly double the speed limit on dirt and mud roads while passing everything he could. He spent more time in the oncoming lane than his own, which was in a word… thrilling. In another word terrifying. Somehow we arrived at a random location in Siem Reap, one without phones or nearby shops. There was a veritable army of tuktuk drivers offering to take us to our hotels, more likely to whatever hotel they work for actually.

I had previously arranged a pickup from my hostel, but needed to contact them with my location for this to work. Unfortunately where I arrived was not where I was supposed to be.
After convincing the numerous drivers that I was in fact fine and did not need a ride I hiked to a nearby hotel that I found based on their wifi signal. Once I had wifi I emailed my hostel and was picked up in just over an hour.

All in all I wasted an entire day to travel what amounts to about seven hours, and was harrassed by quite a few people along the way. However, it was, as I am, cheap. I spent just over 50$ for the whole trip, visa included. I did survive, and while it sucked, I would actually do it again.


A significant part of the bus trip was actually in the back of a pickup truck


See how happy I was to leave Bangkok. It was almost 40 degrees, I hadn’t slept in a few days, and when I took this photo I swear I was attempting to smile


After finally making it across the border we had another six hours of driving ahead of us


  1. Claire
    May 12, 2014 at 20:52

    Should have stuck with plan A and come ‘home’!! It probably would have been quicker!!

    • Vagabond Tim
      May 13, 2014 at 03:55

      Yeah but honestly going home. Even a little. kinda freaks me out.

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