There are loads of stories about scam buses between Siem Reap and Bangkok, and although the worst of it is actually in the reverse direction, we were still keeping our eyes open.
The bus itself was shocking of course, as was the organisation of getting people on to it. There were actually two buses, and oddly one car. But they packed as many of us as they could onto the first bus, leaving the second one half empty. Ahh the logic.
Ian was quite happy to just have his ipod back, but we were really jammed in. Right at the back, a wall of bags behind us threatening our neck and spine alignment, and the isle full of bags. They also wouldn’t allow us to open the windows because they wanted to use the air-con, which was questionable as to if it were even turned on let alone cooling the bus down or make it anywhere near us at the back!
Apart from the packed bus it wasn’t that bad a trip. As usual the best way to deal with these rides is to see the funny side and joke about it the whole journey.
The Cambodia / Thailand border of Poipet is quite interesting. The wait wasn’t too bad to exit Cambodia and they didn’t try to charge us like Vietnam, but once you go through it’s a kind of no man’s land, containing shops and, a CASINO! Officially, Gambling is illegal in Thailand, so this Casino lets rich Thais blow their Baht just across the border.
It’s funny that I was being warned from afar about H1N1 in South East Asia, (which I of course shrugged off) because while re-entering Thailand, their security was well on top of it, using some kind of laser temperature readers to our forehead, and gave us information and emergency contacts for H1N1. At the time there hadn’t been a single case of it in the area, yet multiple in Australia, UK, USA etc. Ahh the irony.
Ian and I picked the wrong que to join for immigration though because the girl up front was clearly going for a record of the least number of people processed in a day. Busloads off people were passing through either side of us, we should have changed lines but oh well.. Eventually we got through and the typical Thai Bus shamboozle commenced with multiple mini vans and buses before finally dropping us back at Bangkok!
Note, if you are going in the opposite direction, be prepared for a much worse time. Do NOT listen to anything they say about speeding up your visa for Vietnam, do not hand over any extra cash! Only pay the actual officer processing your visa in Vietnam (cost varies on nationality, day of the week, time, colour of your eyes, weather etc) You will also arrive very late to some dodgy accommodation, don’t stay there either!