Sunday, 2 March 2014


It did not take long to find out why this country has been nicknamed Scambodia. Four hundred Thai Baht (£8) from Koh Chang to Siem Reap. We had been quoted prices ranging from one British Pound to twenty US dollars for the Cambodian Visa.

 We had been given times of 7 hours to 14 hours to make the trip to Cambodia. We were both fully prepared for a very testing trip. And I will say we handled the following pretty well. Leaving Thailand was easy enough. There was a stark contrast from one side of the border to the other. Reminded me a little of when we crossed over to Mexico from California. The Cambodians who were managing the visa were very defensive which quickly turned to aggression. When questioned about the visa prices I heard one guy say to a female tourist, "If you don't like it go back to Bangkok". 

The border
No one was allowed to pay in US dollars. They demanded Thai Baht. Which equated to roughly $30. Being the intelligent forward thinking travellers we are we had already exchanged our Thai Baht to US dollars so an ATM was required. Entering Cambodia & the back of an anaconda passport control queue was when the real fun started. We were told that this queue would take at least one hour, that our bus would be leaving in twenty minutes with or without us. The next bus is in three hours. If we paid £4 each we could jump the queue & get on the bus. The queue was huge & was not moving. And it was hot. Very hot! Knowing that this was just a way to part travellers from their money, but also feeling like this was a much better option than the hanging around for hours, we paid the money & jumped right to the front of the queue. We handed over our passports & within five minutes we were sat on a bus heading to the bus station where our bus was patiently waiting for us. Or so we were told.

Dumped at the bus station. It became quickly apparent that there was no bus waiting for us. Our bus was due in around three hours. A man appeared who had a private mini bus & was so generous to offer us a lift to Siem Reap and all for just £5 each. I was very close to losing it. But I didn't. We had paid £8 each originally. This was supposed to get us all the way to Siem Reap. In the queue we were given no other reasonable choice other than to pay another £4. Now they wanted another £5. Pay more money & arrive in two hours or don't & arrive until late into the night. We paid the money. Even though we knew we were being taken for a ride (excuse the pun) we were willing to pay the extra money these bandits were asking for because we would rather be comfortable. Not stood in a queue for over an hour then waiting hours for a bus. In the end I do not think I would have done anything differently. Even though it did feel like we were being hoisted up by our ankles & shaken for any money that fell out. Two girls who we were travelling with were only three days into their travels. This all was a little to much for them & they were both very stressed & angry throughout. I always try and say to myself it takes as long as it takes & costs what it costs. This is South East Asia. Love it or hate it.

The funniest scam I have heard while travelling was that of the midget in the backpack. The bag would be placed into the cargo hold of a bus. Once the bus sets off the midget would climb out of the bag & steal from other peoples rucksacks.

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