I chose Bangkok as the final stop in this Indochina trip because BKK is notorious for a shopping adventure. I don’t want to carry around a heavy goodies-filled baggage during the trip, so it makes sense that BKK should be the last leg. I got a 20kg baggage allowance in my return trip ticket.
Research says it takes 9 hours via bus from Siem Reap to Bangkok. I couldn’t research about a particular bus company (something like Mekong Express) or where do we buy tickets, so I asked my fellow Pinoy travellers also staying at Bou Savy Guesthouse. They bought theirs at Bou Savy guesthouse for $11. It looks like it is a discounted trip ticket because the ticket’s printed price is $16. I thought they raised their prices because my initial research says the bus ride just costs $8. Apparently, the $8 fare is the bus from SR up to Aranyprathet-Poipet border only. The $11 is the fare all the way to BKK. Where exactly in BKK? I have no idea. We need to be dropped off near a train station.
At 8:00 am, we were picked up by a van from Bou Savy. The van already had other guests, and we stopped by another guest house to pick up other passengers.
|Morning. Still fresh.|
We transferred to another bigger bus, with a weak airconditioning. At 8:30, the bus cruised along the highway. It was hot (I’ve said this a lot of time in this Indochina series) and the airconditioning brought the air, not cooling. I kept myself sane by listening to my playlists.
|The freshness if whiffed away by the hot bus ride|
At 9:30, barely one hour in the journey, the bus stopped over. Toilet break for a couple of minutes.We didn’t do the toilets nor get some snacks. It was too hot to hang out outside.
|Ambilis naman mag-stopover.|
The bus hummed along the hot highway. Shortly past 11:00am, we reached another stopover station. The bus driver said we will stay here for one hour before going to the border. We didn’t feel like ordering, and there were not a lot of choices anyway. We ate the bananas we brought from breakfast.
|Nothing much in here. Not much to do. Just waiting.|
They have store wherein all the goodies are priced at $1. Talk about captive market.
|I splurged and spent $1 for a dewberry pack|
Before boarding the bus again, they placed a numbered sticker on each of us. We were going to change vehicles after crossing the border.
At 12:00 noon, when the sun was feverishly hot, we were on the border. We got out of the bus, carried our backpacks going to the border. Hot hot hot. Here goes the line. The line is moving, but some lines take longer than others. The immigration officer stamped my departure off Cambodia.
|Packed immigration. No photos allowed. I took this one before a sign reminded me.|
Walking under the sun, we proceeded to the Thailand Immigration area.
The airconditioning inside the building was welcoming.
At 1:30 pm, we were finally in Thailand. We walked some more until we reached some area with white vans and we found our fellow travellers with the stickers on.
We had to wait for the van that will take us to Bangkok for another 15 minutes.
I scouted the food sold there, and they were already priced in Thai Baht. I was kinda panicky at this point, we still had no Baht yet. I decided to withdraw 500 BHT in the ATM nearby. Better suffer the ATM charges to calm my nerves than be freaked out with having no Baht.
Packed in the van, with good airconditioning, I was eager to get to BKK. But 10 minutes into the ride, the van stops. Another stopover, really? Come-on! Let’s head to Bangkok! Nobody was interested to eat or do the toilets because I think everybody had their break while waiting for everyone to cross the border. Hahahaha. Move forward, van. After almost two hours of driving, we stopped to feed the van some gas.
We were asked to get out of the van while they were filling the tank. I wandered around the shops there and bought some food. The Baht came in handy. Back at the van, I asked the driver if he can drop us off in any metro station. I don’t think he can understand English. All he said was “Khao San Road”... again and again. I gave up. We will just have to figure out what to do once we are in Bangkok.
Once in Khao San Road, we roamed around. The resort now is to just hail a cab to the nearest train station. With the limited English, I was doubtful if the cab driver will understand “nearest train station”. I wanted to name a definite train station when we hopped on the cab. After a couple of streets later, we stopped a backpacker and asked for help. She gave us her map. The nearest station is “Hua Lamphong”.
Rode the cab. Rode the train. Reached the hostel. One huge PHEW.
|Navigating BKK's train system.|
|Happy smiles now in the elevator. Me posing so formal.|
With the hot sun and long ride with lots of stopovers, this journey contributed to my premature aging. You can’t really get a dose of long sleep because of all the stopovers here. I burned the batteries of my Ipod. Snacked on junk food. It was one heck of a long ride. We got in the hotel at 7:30 pm. That was almost 12 freaking hours of travel from SR guesthouse to BKK hostel.
Good thing we had a nice cheap dinner in the streets of Bangkok.