Getting to Cambodia
Trip Start Jun 01, 2005
51Trip End Aug 04, 2006
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Spent at least a full day getting from the very north of Thailand to the south of Cambodia. I took the overnight sleeper train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok, and then went straight to the bus station to go from Bangkok to Trat. Arrived at 8:00 am and just missed that bus...so I bought the ticket for the next bus, at 8:30. Well, 8:30 rolls around and as luck would have it, no bus. All of a sudden a woman comes around and starts collecting people's tickets to Trat and passing out new ones...when I got mine, I noticed it said 9:30, not 8:30. After (finally) finding someone who spoke enough English to explain this change to me, I was told that there had been a bus accident on the bus we were supposed to take, and so we would be going on the next bus...great!
(A bit wearily) boarded the bus to Trat at 9:30, and spent the 5 hour journey in and out of sleep...As a tip to others taking the train, do everything you can NOT to get the seat right next to the door...people like to go in and out in the middle of the night
We all got a minibus from the bus station to take us from Trat to the Cambodian border. Once at the border we filled out the forms, etc., and went to the office to get our Cambodian visas. Reluctantly paid $30 for a visa that's officially supposed to cost $20 (Cambodian officials are known to be corrupt)...frustrating, but not much we could do about it. Got a taxi driver to take us to Koh Kohng, about 15 minutes away from the border. He of course took us to a guesthouse where he was getting a commission, and sold us bus tickets to Sihanoukville the next morning that he was taking a cut from.
So we stayed in Koh Kohng the night and got a minibus the next morning to Sihanoukville (had hoped to take the boat to Sihanoukville, but we were told by a few people that in monsoon season with high seas it would be a nightmare). The minibus ride was definitely interesting...it took about six hours, and I was sure we'd get stuck in the mud on a few occasions...a car in front of us got stuck for about a half an hour! We had to get out of the minibus and get on ferries across rivers at 4 different crossings along the way, which at least broke the trip up a little bit. It was a long trip...I think we were all glad to finally arrive in Sihanoukville!