Hi Blog friends, this blog is all about our day of travel to the border of Cambodia and beyond. Interesting, I hear you all cry!! Why would we update you on our border crossing experience, well the answer is simple....Everyone you meet has something to say about it, the internet and guide books have loads to say on the subject so I wanted to get my 6 eggs worth in!
After much guidance from the above sources we decide on the most used border crossing Aranya Prather, in Thailand to Poipet in Cambodia. We then take from the mountains of info available that we have to book just this leg of the journey (watching out for the various scams), walk across the border, sort visa's with no help and then find our transport the other side. Sounds simple.
So our bus turns up, granted a little late and they then try to cross sell us visa services and onward journeys all at rip off prices (Lloyds take note the concept of cross/up sell is more effective in Cambodia as we the oinly group that didn't circum!!). The books are packed with horror stories about people turning up at the wrong borders and all sorts but due to us repeatadly asking which border we were going to and probably booking through the least dodgy looking travel centre in bangkok (this one ctually had it's own shop!) we arrive 4-5 hours later safetly at the border. (we even have air conditioning in our bus!!).
Then the STA mess up comes back into play, we all manage to leave Thailand effortlessly, getting visa's for Cambodia in I guess is what offically classed as no-mans land is a little bit more tricky.(especially given it is now middle of the day and extremly hot and we are carrying our backpacks). Me and Sharon have cancelled visa's in our passport for Cambodia already that we haven't used, this seems to confuse them no-end despite STA's insistance that they have phoned and checked it will all be fine! Anyhow after a lot of talking, pointing and pleading we manage to bribe them with an extra $5 each and we get in. Not bad given that people pay up to 5 times the visa price to get in, but we stick to our guns and it pays off!
So we walk into Cambodia in search for a bus, taxi or the rumoured pick up trucks that you can grab a lift in. Luckily we find a very nice taxi driver (doesn't speak much english mind) who agrees to take us to Siem Reap. Jackpot!! didn't fancy the pick up truck idea, hot and very dusty we would have been covered!! Plus the Poipet to Siem Reap rode is notorious and a taxi is the most comfortable, we soon found out why.. nicknamed the boulevard of broken backsides it's in really bad shape for a major route..we later found out this is due to an unnamed airline paying an unstated commision to an unnamed political party to indefinitely stall this roads upgrade.. so if you suffer with travel sickness probably best to take a plane for atleast the next 5 years!
Saying this, we arrive safetly in what we assume is the outskirts of Siem Reap and are transferred into the back of a Tuk Tuk (bags and all!). 10 Mins later we arrive at our guesthouse a very quaint little place 5 mins from town. The tuk tuk driver clearly wanted to be our driver for our stay, but tired and weary we couldn't think about what we wanted to do. We felt bad at the time, in hindsight this was good as otherwise we wouldn't have met possibly the best tuk tuk driver in Cambodia. Introducing Vother, the whistling, smiling, happy bloke that made our touring of Cambodian countryside that much more pleasurable. We soon found out he was quite representative of the Cambodian population who are all very nice people.
Exhausted we collapse into bed! Exploring left for tomorrow...