Saigon to Phnom Penh

Saigon to Phnom Penh

July 15, 2005

We woke up around 7:45 am this morning to get our free breakfast from our guest house. After stuffing our food in our mouth as fast as we could to catch our 9:00 am bus we checked out of our guest house and headed to the tourist office. The lady at the tourist off told us to leave our bags there and walk to another tourist office to get our free breakfast and wait for the bus. We did so and ordered our free breakfast. I ordered bread and cheese and Tina ordered bread and peanut butter(a treat these days). We packed these meals in our bag. This would be our lunch on the bus ride. Cheap backpacking travelers are resourceful ehh?

We sat there waiting for the bus to show up while swapping Vietnam horror stories with a girl form Ireland and one from Scotland. We’ve told our Vietnam border crossing so many times now; it doesn’t seem as horrid anymore. While chatting away, a man announced our bus would be late because the driver was arrested for running a red light. Great, this should be and interesting day. The bus was only an hour late and the bus ended up being one of the nicest buses we’ve been on while traveling in Southeast Asia. The bus took us back to the first tourist office and we picked up our bags

The trip to the border was only 2 hours long. After our last border crossing we were a little nervous, but wow what a change from the last border crossing. They immigration building was nice and new and it was a building unlike the three huts from our last crossing. We departed Vietnam in a timely manner with no problems.

We walked up to the Cambodia side and noticed they were building a nice new immigration building, but we were still using 3 small cement buildings. We filled out our Visa information and the immigration officer said that would be $25 each. Our tour guide on the bus said it would be $24 each, but my very resourceful wife did her research and found in several places, which included the Lonely Planet forum, it should only be $20 each. Tina told the officer our friends just passed through here a few days ago and said they paid only $20 and our tour guide said it should be $24. He insisted on $25 for a while, and then dropped down to $24 all while having a grin on his face. Tina just stood there with two 20’s in her hand saying here is forty dollars. We all stood there not saying anything for about five minutes. Then he took the $40 dollars and gave us our passports with our Cambodia Visa’s. Nice job Tina.

We had a quick lunch at the border which included our free breakfast sandwiches and a can of Angkor beer each. Our bus from the border to Phnom Penh was not nearly as nice and the one we just got off.

We rolled into Phnom Penh around 6:00 pm and checked into the guest house the bus dropped us off at. We set our bags down in the room, put on another round of deodorant and were out the door to find some food. Phnom Penh really surprised us. This place seemed more affluent then any other cities we’ve been in besides Bangkok. We walked around a carnival area which seemed to run all year round. Tina’s been craving popcorn and you can’t have a carnival without popcorn. We scored some caramel popcorn for 2000 Reil ($0.50), but got slightly off course to finding a place to eat. We finally found a place to eat and had a nice conversation with our server. The Cambodians seem to be really friendly so far. This is nice change from Northern Vietnamese.

We walked back to our guest house, told them we wanted to take the 7:00 am bus to Siem Reap tomorrow and went to bed.

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