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running away Traveling south east asia, china, australia, new zealand and america. wherever the mood takes me!

getting into cambodia

CAMBODIA | Friday, 7 November 2008 | Views [671] | Comments [1]

I think it was the first morning where I didn't hear anyone wake me up, maybe because when we arrived in last night, Charlie proceeded to make loads of noise with an empty plastic bottle, to give the girl that woke us up the morning before a little taste of her own medicine. It was really funny.

I woke up and first thing was I had to go to the post office and post all the stuff I had bought since I had been in Thailand. I had bought quite abit as I knew if I posted it back now it should get home in time for Christmas. So I posted off the box and then I had to get back to pack. In the process of me going to the post office, martina had disappeared so I didn't get to say good bye to her, and Charlie was out for the count, sound asleep so I didn't get to say good bye to her either. So it was kinda depressing leaving, hungover and not saying goodbye to anyone. Well other than the guy behind the desk at the hostel.

I got the subway to the place where the weekend market is held, as the northeast bus station wasn't suppose to be to far up the road from there. As I started walking, a motor driver saw me and asked did I want a lift. I said no, thinking that it wasn't too far away.

I was walking for what seemed like ages and I saw some buses on the otherside of the road, but I wasn't sure if that was the bus station. there wasn't anything to say. So I continued to walk. It was getting hotter and hotter and I was starting to think I would never get there. That's when a moto driver showed up and I asked bus station and he pointed down the road and indicated for me to sit on his bike. I went no thank you and went to walk off. But he said no and said to get on, pretty much indicating that he wouldn't ask for money. Being hot and tired I wasn't going to argue.

I now know that I can go on a bike with my big backpack on my back and carrying the small bag. Didn't know I would be able to before. And man am I glad I got onto his bike. It was way down the road. It would have taken me ages to walk there. When we got to the gate I got off the bike and thanked to moto driver, he was such a sweet heart for doing that.

So I got inside the bus station hoping to rest for a few minutes after getting the ticket. But the next bus was leaving for the border town in the next few minutes, so I had to find it straight away. I walking out to the bus stops and there where loads of buses and of course the ticket was in Thai. But I didn't know what number was for what. So I showed my ticket to a worker and he had a look at it, I don't know if he couldn't read or not but he past it on to another worker, who took forever to look at it and point me in the right direction. In the mean time an older Thai gentleman indicated to me where to go, as he must have seen me at the ticket counter. And I wanted to follow him but I didn't want to be rude and take the bus ticket away from the worker so I had to wait. When the worker pointed the same way as the older gentleman went, I went hurriedly as I didn't want to miss my bus. I found it around the corner and when I got on it I happened to be sitting next to the Thai gentleman that helped me. So I was able to thank him.

I was hot and sweaty and still hungover, but I was finally on the bus and I could finally relax. And I did, I fell asleep quite fast.

Half way to the border we stopped for petrol and toilet break. So I was woken up and just realised I should go at the last moment, so I didn't have time to go buy some snacks. Silly me, especially since all I had for breakfast was a couple pieces of toast and orange juice. So I was up now and feeling alittle more awake, and revived from my exertion to get to the bus station. So I happen to start talking to the the Thai gentleman beside me. I had noticed at this stage, that I was the only foreigner on the bus and I was hoping to meet up with other travellers to share expenses to get to border and then to siem reap after. But I guess it wasn't to be. I was lucky though. Lawyer was the Thai guys name and he happened to be going to siem reap. So he asked me if I fancied sharing a tuk tuk to the border so we could split the cost. I was happy to do that and atleast one of us knew what they were doing. Ha ha.

So when we arrived to the town beside the border we had to get a tuk tuk to the border and then we had to walk to it and go though customs. Getting out of Thailand was easy. It was Cambodia where I had a little trouble. Lawyer was still waiting for me so we walked across the border together. There where Cambodians there offering different lifts I believe, but they were bargaining with lawyer as he was able to speak Khmer. We got to the Cambodian border police and were giving a customs slip to fill out. I filled it out and asked lawyer you know how much for visa? He looked at me in surprise saying you didn't get one before hand? I didn't know I could have gotten one before hand. He was saying yeah you have to go to the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok and they give you one there. Well that was news to me. Everywhere I had read up to then had said the borders issued you with visa when you arrive. I Never hears I could get it before hand. Of course I would have done that if I knew. I also found out later in siem reap you can also get in online now. Well that wasn't any good for me at the border at that moment in time. So I ended up paying nearly double for the visa than I would have if I got it in Bangkok So I guess I know for future reference. So I got my visa, got through Cambodian border and followed lawyer to get our transport to siem reap.

When we got to the cars that were waiting, it seemed that lawyer was abit conned to. So I'm glad I wasn't on my own. From what I gathered I think he was told we could get a shared taxi to siem reap as the bus had stopped running, also the buses take forever, but there wasn't anyone else to share with. So it was just me and him and it would cost $35 for the car. lawyer asked me if I minded waiting and I said no I have all the time in the world. So I put Sean down on the floor and sat on him, ready to wait. I was talking to lawyer and debating on what we should do, cause it was very late in the day, I think about 5 O. clock at this stage and there wasn't going to be many more people coming through the border. So we could wait and hope someone else came through or go. So we decided to go and split the cost.

On the journey there, between the bus and the taxi I learned many things, about Thailand and Cambodia and about lawyer. He was an interesting man, and had lived in many places and spoke many languages. He used to own a hotel on phuket before the recession in Thailand years ago. Has also sold goods to other countries for years especially in Europe. He seemed to like the German people the most.

He told me about the Khmer. language, saying it was the mother language for Thai. That Thai originated from Khmer. So it is easy for Khmer. people to learn Thai but not so the other way around. He was an interesting man to talk to and I think I was lucky to have meet him on the journey over.

The taxi ended up dropping me at my accommodation which was difficult to find as there are no street signs and it was late so it was very dark out, with really no street lights. So I thanked lawyer for everything and met my first host off couchsurfing. Manfred!

Although there was confusion at first. Manfred works for a charity organisation and he thought I was there to be a part of that and he was worried because there was no room. So he asked me had I booked in. I didn't realise this and I said yeah I emailed you to let you know I was arriving today, from couchsurfing. That's when it dawned on him and he apologized, saying he thought I was going to partake in the charity. So he collected his things and we walked to his apartment that just happened to be down the road. So I found my adcomodation for the next 3 nights. I was having my first surfing experience with Manfred in siem reap, sleeping on a couple of small mattress in his one roomed apartment. It was prefect.

We ended up going to dinner together, and we got to know eachother. Manfred was from Switzerland and told me about his organisation that he worked for and how he ended up there. And I told him where I had been and where I was to go.

So that was my first night in Cambodia and so far so good!

Tags: border crossing, cambodia, couchsurfing, kindness of strangers, visa




Hey Trish,
You are still making me jealous but also making me laugh more and more every time I read one of your updates!!! Its priceless the things you have gotten up to and interesting to hear about the beautiful sights you have seen!! You have a great colour judging by the photos... its absolutely freezing over here, sharp frost most nights now....mayb even a white Christmas!! Not much goss from here still working away in school 2 wks left to Christmas hols so looking forward to that!! We will miss you this year on the St Stephens night gathering in the Apt!!! But I am sure we will have one or two or mayb 3 drinks EACH for ya!! Keep us updated and stay safe buddy XX will e-mail again soon Xx Carol

  Carol Dec 9, 2008 10:29 AM

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