We were slightly concerned about heading into Cambodia. Kim had lost our bible (Lonely Planet) in the changing room of Tesco in Bangkok(!) and various internet sites had described the border crossing as sheer hell - bad roads, corrupt border officials and taxi mafia who controlled transportation and raised the prices sky high....
Our journey started haggling with a taxi driver to take us to the bus station...he wanted to charge the exorbitant price of 4 pounds - much too expensive (scam no 1). Kim got him down to a quid...far more like it!
The bus to the border town of Ananya Prathet was fine and after 6 hours we were met by hoardes of tuk tuk drivers wanting to take us the 4km to the border. We got there ok despite him trying to take us to the Cambodian Embassy to get our visa where you would be massively overcharged (scam no 2). We were prepared for this and we yelled "'carry on jeeves!''
At the border we got a bit lost and were directed by a legless landmine victim who was very helpful and didn't want anything from us (the only person that day that didn't!) We found the visa desk...a visa costs $20US but the corrupt border official wanted 1000 baht ($33)...(scam no 3). Kim refused and he said we couldn't enter the country. Fierce negotiations ensued and we finally agreed on $25 and we got our visa.
In the meantime a rather too helpful man adopted us showing us where to go and giving helpful advice... what was his game? We found out later he wanted a large tip for his help (scam no 4)- we didn't oblige!
Arriving in Poipet (Ca,mbodia) - a dirty, smelly town full of casinos - we got on a free bus to the government bus depot where we could get onward transportation... instead it took us to a tour agents office (scam no 5) where you could pay $14 for a seat on the bus that would arrive in 3 hours or pay $60 to hire a taxi - we had met the taxi mafia!
The tour people said if we paid up front they would try and find another 2 people for us to share a taxi with...Kim smelled a scam and refused to pay (scam no 6). Instead she paced outside until she spotted westerners and convined 2 Americans to share a taxi with us. (Mark was gormlessly watching Thai TV while this was going on).
The roads from Poipet were seriously bad...dusty tracks, large puddles, huge bumps...we thought we were back in Africa! 3 hours later we arrived at the edge of Siem Reap where we were told the taxi could go no further and we must get a tuk-tuk from there. Kim was slightly mortified when the tuk tuk toppled over when she got in...Mark tried to convince her it was because of the muddy ground rather than her large posterior....!! The tuk-tuk was free but then they did the hard sell to try and get you to hire them to take you to the temples and suggested you had to pay for the tuk-tuk if you didn't (scam no 7). Ha - as if!
Instead of taking us where we wanted to go the tuk-tuk took us to various hotels where he obviously got a commission (scam no 8). We wouldn't have minded except these places were grim - down smelly alleys with naked children playing outside...
Anyway after 8 hours travel and 8 attempted (largely unsuccessful) scams we arrived a decent guest house. Job Done!