19.10.11 - Bus Journey from Sihanoukville to Bangkok
Right on cue to the bus arrived at 7.15am outside Reef Resort to take me on my journey. Some of the navy lads were round the bar area eating breakfast so I said goodbye, thanked them for a lovely evening the previous night and I climbed onboard the bus.
I think it took about 5.5 hours to get to the border. Im not really sure what I was expecting to be honest in that i've never crossed a boarder on land before. I sure as hell wasn't expecting this though. You know the barrier which hold you back from leaving or departing a car park, well it was on of them - and it was even painted in red and white stripes just like ours too. i think they only thing which I did expect and didn't disappoint was the amount of security and armed guards.
So at the border on the Cambodian side (Koh Kong) we had to wait in line after we got off the bus and approach our turn at the front desk when we were called forward - much like going through passport countrol at an airport really. i had already completed my departure card so they stamped me out, not before taking my photo, and finger prints on both hands and towards the control shack I approached. funny thing was, with all that security and amo they had, they didn't even bother to check my passport!!! Perhaps it's the intimidation of their precense which deters people from trying to pull a fast one - I dunno.
So as I literately walked around the 'car park barrier' it was a short walk, maybe 50 yards with more guards pointing me in the right direction as I walked, before I saw another building which I had to enter. I had arrived on the Thai boarder at this point, merely 50 yeards apart from each country. Again, much like going through passport control i had to complete an arrivals form, hand them my passport and get stamped in, this time into Thailand. So job done - the first part of the journey was complete and the bit i was most nervous of went smooth as a babies bum ;-)
Brilliant - now what. For the bus which we were all on is of course Cambodian which can't come through the border,so after talking with others on board I later learnt that now we wait for a minibus to take us the final hog of the journey. Those who all crossed the boarder at this point were all going to different destinations in Thailand. It turns out that actually only 9 of us were headed for Bangkok. As we waited (for over an hour) for the minibus to arrive i got chatting to three other lone travellers. Woody was from Reading, and heading back to Bangkok for he was going home after 3 months out following his graduation. Olly was from, can you believe it, Leigh-on-Sea and was headed for Bangkok in order to get down to Southern Thailand. And finally Tom, from north Devon who was headed for Bangkok to meet some mates before heading to Laos with them.
All three were really lovely guys. Woody and Olly were both graduates taking time out after studying. Tom, not really sure... think he was around the 30 mark probably similar to me and just taking time out to be alone. Either way the remainder of the journey with them was great fun, for the minibus was of course much smaller than the big aircon buses which take you from place to place. The five others who were heded for Bangkok all sat at the front for they were all Norweigen whose English wasn't great.
When I purchased the ticket, they said the journey would take around 12 hours, but since we were travelling from the Southern most part of Cambodia, right up to bangkok, I anticipated it'd take longer. All in, and after finally finding the airport hotel i'd booked myself into (there was no way I was staying in a crappy hostel on Koh San Road the night before flying to NZ), it took about 15 hours. Not bad condidering really, and with all the reports of the devastation from all the flooding around Bangkok that i'd seen on the news (which FTR I didn't see any of) I didn't think it was too bad. And not least the minibus part of the journey went quickly when the four of us in the back of the minibus were geeking off, having a laugh and desperately trying to pass the time.
Something which made me cry with laughter was as it got later naturally after travelling for so long we got tired. Tom decided to lay out on the back row (as there was noone next to him) and catch forty winks. I think it must have been about 20 minutes in and the bus took a steep and sharp right turn down this bend. OMG Tom was obviously fast asleep and the next thing I knew I felt a thud on the back of my chair. As I looked around he was stuck on the floor between his seat and the back of the chairs, Woody, Olly and I were sat on!!! As you can imagine I lost it. Proper screaming with laughter as I looked at him wedged between the seats. Seriously, I actually haven't laughed like that for 3 whole weeks!!! And my god was it funny!!! Woody and Olly couldn't believe how much I was laughing. They said they thought I was mean. Poor Tom just went bright red with embarressment as I desperately tried to compose myself, forgetting that these people don't even know me and i'm sat there belly laughing at this guys misfortune. I reckon it took me about 10 minutes to control myself in the end... all i kept picturing was this fella's face squahed up against the back of my chair..... !!! F8cking funny!!!! And as horrible as this sounds... it made my night!!! LOL