About two weeks ago, I had my sister write a post for my blog & many of the readers requested a follow up story. She has written another post for us to enjoy.
“After being in Bangkok for New Year’s, Dan advised us to go to Siem Reap, Cambodia since we were so close & we had a few days to kill. My husband & I loved this idea. We had a rough plan that we will take a bus from Bangkok to the border of Cambodia, but we would make final decisions closer to the time.
Well, the time came. From our limited research, we were advised that we didn’t have to book bus tickets & that they would be readily available the day before you left. When we went to book two bus tickets, they were fully booked & we’d have to wait 3 days to catch the next one. That would cut our time in Cambodia so we found another option – to take the local train. Where we come from one doesn’t simply take a local train because they are not maintained & certainly not safe. You can imagine our hesitation about doing this trip, but ‘Come on’. We may never have this opportunity again. Let’s go.
The train left at 5:50am & would get to Aranyaprathet (Cambodian border) at 13:30ish. So we woke up early, found a TukTuk who would take us to the train station. When we arrived at the station, we went to buy our tickets & found our train. The train looked really cool, we got on it & found some wooden seats. I was shocked, we’d have to sit on a wooden seat for 6 hours or more. Actually my initial reaction was a nervous giggle. I’ll have no butt left.
My husband took a walk down to the other side of the train & found these amazing cushioned seats, then I was ready! During the trip, I fell asleep for about an hour or two. Every time I opened my eyes there were different people staring at me, it was actually quite funny. I didn’t realize that there were stops about every 10 – 20 minutes on this particular route. There are ladies who sell their homemade food while the train is going; they walk up & down the aisle making these weird sounds. I guess in English it would be something like “Get it while it’s hot”. Most people sit on the train eating a cob of corn while we were sitting having a packet of chips – I learnt a thing or two about cultural differences.
While doing our research, we read a lot about people at this specific border who lure you away from passport control & that sort of stuff, so we were vigilant. We met an American couple on the train & decided to stick together. When you get off the train, there are no signs on where to go – you could literally walk right into the streets without realizing you have entered the country. NB: When you walk through the gate take a sharp left, you are going the right way even if it doesn’t feel right. This is where we left our American friends because they cast a lot of doubt. We didn’t see them again… I’m sure they are fine though. We then saw signs & started following them, but still be careful as some of the people who lure you in are dressed in police uniforms. Fortunately for us, we followed the immigration officer who stamped our passports after exiting Thailand. We went through the visa offices & right through passport control. Man, was it hot in the passport control office!
After we entered Cambodia, we needed to catch a taxi that would take us to Siem Reap, I mean straight to our hotel. We had read stories of these taxis only taking people to the city & leaving them there, claiming they didn’t know where to go – we wanted to avoid this. So began the bargaining & eventually we just had to trust one driver. The drive from the border to Siem Reap was about 2 hours. Fortunately, my husband had downloaded a map & showed the driver exactly where our hotel was.
I loved Cambodia! It’s beautiful, it’s cheap, the people are friendly & the sights are stunning. I would go back in a heartbeat.
Thank you DanVenture Travels”
There you have it.
Keep traveling, keep safe.