Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Trip Start Jan 23, 2013
181Trip End Jul 23, 2013
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We checked out of the Hotel at around 07:15 and walked across to the spot where we had to catch the bus. The lady who sold us the bus tickets invited us in the shop to take a seat; and it was a good job she did as the bus did not arrive until gone 08:15.
The bus wasn't as promised; it definately was NOT new, we were not given a cold towel and it did not have a toilet on board - we only hoped it would stop a few times during the 7hr. trip.
On the positive side, the bus did have air conditioning and a lot of leg room AND some of the seats reclined
It took the best part of an hour to pick up the rest of the passengers and what seemed like a couple of the drivers friends. After approx 3 hrs the bus arrived at the border crossing. We had already given our passports and $26 each to a guy on the bus who was sorting it all out for us. We knew the Visa only cost $20, but expected to be screwed over as everybody is. We read one horror story where a couple in the same situation as us said they would arrange their own visa, and the bus driver got so angry he drove off without them, but with all their luggage.
The crossing went quite smoothly and before we knew it we were in Cambodia. Soon after the border the coach stopped at a large shed, where the driver said we would stop for 30 mins for lunch. We followed everybody else into the back of the shed where we were handed a plate of rice. We sat down at a table and a bloke came round with a half pint glass of iced tea; Terry had one but I didn't. We were just discussing that we didn't know lunch was included in the price when a dirty looking guy came to our table with a wad of $ bills in his hand and asked us for $2.5. We'd already been screwed over and we'd only been in the country 10 minutes
Approx 2 hrs later we crossed the Mekong River by ferry and then journeyed an hour more through lush plains of cultivated fields, until we arrived in Phnom Penh. The journey had taken 7 hrs, but it was not all that bad - better than the train journey from Hue to Danang. Terry said that train journey was the nearest he ever wanted to get to a 'homestay'.
After collecting our luggage we took a TukTuk to our hotel and checked in. We liked the fella that picked us up; his name was Deem and he said he would take us anywhere we wanted to go anytime. He even offered to wait outside our Hotel, the Golden House International, in the morning, but we told him we didnt know what time we might go out. His English was excellent.
Our room was as expected, spacious and spotless. We were still getting over the bad Hotel experience we had had in Hoi An; especially so as the horror had been all bought back by Agoda asking me to write a review; which I did. I'll be surprised if they publish it.
Terry did some research and discovered a restaurant just down the road that had favourable reviews, so we set off to find it. En route to the restaurant we must have said ' no thank you' at least twenty times to Tuk Tuk drivers asking us if we wanted a lift.
We had an excellent meal at Karma although the food was extremely spicy. When we got back to our Hotel, I had to sleep with the air conditioner set at 16 degrees as my whole body was burning from the inside out. Terry, who had had a slightly cooler meal, had to wrap up like an Eskimo or risk hypothermia.