After a bit of trouble with money seeking taxi drivers we arrived at our hotel just of Khao San Road where our plan was to spend 2 nights in Bangkok and then head to Cambodia before the Songkran festival. We spent the first day catching up on sleep following our bus journey and spoke to a few people on Skype. We had a laugh as we spoke to Phil but the Mother in Law was at work so he videoed our conversation so he wouldn't get in trouble for not passing on all the important information! It kept us entertained, especially when he left the room at one point and we had fun pulling silly faces at the camera!
We also spoke to my Mum and Dad who were back in New Zealand and finally, my Brother. A lot of talking!
On our second day back in the Capital we were feeling much more refreshed so got a taxi to MBK shopping centre to do a bit of much needed shopping before walking around to the Pantip Plaza (a phenomenal shopping centre on 5 floors dedicated to cheap electronics) for another external hard drive to back up all our photo's.
Finally we were exhausted and broke and we headed back to Khao San Road in a tuk tuk. It was our first trip in this iconic mode of transport as we had been avoiding them in favour of air conditioned taxi's but it was certainly cheaper. We also thought it might be quicker but it wasn't. We had good fun though and the driver was a bit mad at times but that's just part of the appeal.
That night we packed our stuff once again and went out for a bite to eat. It was all quite boring as we bought some books to read and a DVD to watch on our little laptop and went to bed early to watch a film. We hadn't booked a trip to Cambodia as everything we've read says we just need to go to the bus station and the buses run hourly to the border.
We got up early and made it to the bus station for 9am hoping to catch a bus at 10am or 11am at a push. As it turns out most of the services are not running for some unknown reason and the next available bus would be at 2pm. It's a good job we bought those books!
We settled down for the wait as best as we could in the dirty, smelly and overcrowded bus station and began to read. It wasn't too bad in the end, I think we're getting used to all this waiting around and the time soon flew by.
Once we got going the journey was average, although longer than expected, and we arrived at the border post at around 5pm. We knew the border would close at 6pm and we knew that if we didn't hurry we might be looking for accommodation here despite the hostel in Cambodia expecting our arrival at 4pm this afternoon (I was overly optimistic).
Once off the bus we were accosted by tuk tuk drivers and one woman promised that if she hurried we could cross today. It turns out the bus actually stops about 5km from the border, convenient!
So we jumped in the tuk tuk and drove the 5km and the lady dropped us off at an official looking building. However, we were suspicious, we couldn't see the border and something was ringing alarm bells!
Once inside an official looking gentleman produced some official looking forms and told us that we would need to buy our Cambodian visa here. We were still in Thailand!
I smelled a rat immediately having read something about this somewhere and signalled to Sarah who was also very wary and we walked out. Just as we were leaving a minibus pulled up full of tourists who were possibly in their 50's-60's. I hope they didn't fall for it.
Anyway we remembered that there are plenty of warnings about this particular scam. The Thai locals have set up this office selling "Cambodian Visa's" for the same price as a real visa. You pay them and head off to the border only to find out when you get there that your visa is useless and you have to pay twice. It seems quite a lot of people fall for it every day!
A very helpful Thai guy saw us leaving and gave us directions to the border and we managed to get through before it closed!