Friday, June 1, 2012

Bus Trip from Siem Reap to Bangkok

I paid 8 USD to Ta Som Guesthouse for my bus trip to Bangkok. Quite cheap compared with other bus agents because Ta Som was also a travel agent of Capitol Tours.

Since I wasn't able to enjoy the scenery during my trip from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, I requested for a front seat which was fortunately available. The bus stopped at the main road in front of Ta Som at 9:00 AM. My front aisle seat was waiting for me.

I have observed that the bus strictly followed a 100 kph speed limit. Maybe because of several accidents that have happened in the past. The road going to the border was narrow two lane black top road thus our bus sometimes crawled whenever some slow moving vehicles or animals were ahead of us. I won't dare travel along this route during night time.




After some time, our bus stopped in front of Sereisophorn (Siem Reap) clinic for several minutes to pick-up some passengers. We simply waited inside while the new passengers boarded the bus.




After almost 3 hours, we reached Poipet, a Cambodian town at Thailand border. Before alighting, our tour guide pasted a blue sticker on our shirt. Shortly after leaving the bus, we crossed the round-about until we reached the immigration departure gate. I was surprised to see that the departure gate was located along the sidewalk as you can see on the pictures below.


departure gate

Fortunately, there were few people in queue, otherwise it would be very uncomfortable since the temperature was at its peak.



After passing through departure gate, I followed the main road. It was like a market or public place. I had that feeling that given a chance I can easily sneak into Thailand without having Cambodian exit stamp on my passport; I don't remember my passport being checked after leaving the departure area. Anyhow, after 100 meters I reached a bridge and according to the notice board I need to cross to the other side to enter Thailand. Oh yes, it was reverse in Thailand. I just can't imagine how the traffic goes within this area, from left to right then right to left.



entrance to Thai immigration building

By merely comparing these two immigration offices, one can easily distinguish the big difference in facilities and security between them.

After passing Thailand immigration office, we were greeted and herded into a corner by another tour guide. He instructed us to wait for the others. We were all having blue stickers on our shirt. By the way, inside the Thai immigration office, there was a separate line for visa (on-arrival) purchase for non-Asean nationals.

After our group has been accounted for, our guide led us to the market outside the Thai immigration building where a queue of Toyota Commuter minivans were waiting. Our group got separated depending on the available seat on each minivan. Each minivan can accommodate 12 passengers. Considering most of us came from Cambodia, the vehicle was full to the brim not only by people but with luggage as well. If you are claustrophobic, I advise you to go to Aranyaprathet by tuktuk and take a larger government bus or train from there, trust me. We started our grueling trip to Bangkok.

After several minutes, our minivan stopped in front of police checkpoint. All of us showed our passport and the locals their ID. Random checking of passport was conducted. After inspection, we continued our trip.

After 2 hours or around past 2:00 PM, we stopped at gas station. We all alighted due to long lines of vehicles. I was initially annoyed since the other gas station nearby was free of vehicles. I realized later that our minivan was using CNG as fuel hence, this could be the only CNG station in this place. I took the opportunity to buy some pastry since I haven't taken my lunch yet. It was my lucky day. Without any slightest idea, I bought a Durian pastry. I hate Durian. I started hating this bus trip.



After gassing up, we continued our daredevil trip towards Bangkok. We were travelling at around 130 kph. I knew because I drove my car in Philippines at the same speed. However, our minivan was traversing at a two-lane highway whereas I drove my Nissan Grand Livina at 130 kph in a 3-lane one-way superhighway.Our minivan was stuck in traffic for almost 1 hour due to an accident along the highway. I can say that having such a narrow highway and devil may care driver attitude, I wouldn't be surprised anymore.

After a couple of hours, we stopped and gassed up again; I took the opportunity to grab another bite since I have that feeling that I would not be able to take my dinner on time.

I was  correct, our minivan was caught in another monstrous traffic jam inside Bangkok city. In fact, I knew that we have entered an elevated tollway but the traffic was also horrendous.

To sum it all, it took me around 9 hours before I reach Nappark hostel at Khao San area. I was dead tired and famished. I am not going to repeat the same journey again. Nevertheless, it was quite an experience because my patience and endurance was tested to the limit. Surely age was catching up.



MY OTHER BUS TRIPS:

Bus Trip 1 - Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh
Bus Trip 2 - Phnom Penh to Sem Reap