So this is my second time visiting Thailand, both trips were great, but it was the second trip that got me to think about the two countries: Cambodia and Thailand. Both of them have their own good points and I’m going to say things that I’ve been noticing a long the way.
I went to Thailand by bus both time. What I dislike is the fact that it took me too long to arrive at Bangkok. From Phnom Penh to Bangkok, it is about 715km, and it took me about 13 hours to get there. I paid 16$ for VIP van from Phnom Penh to Poi Pet, and another 250 THB (approximately 7$) from the border to Bangkok. I arrived at Bangkok at night.
From Phnom Penh to Poi Pet, you will be on national road number 5, and the road is a two-way road. The VIP van drives at the speed of around 100km/h or more, the company has set the time for them, so they cannot arrive at the destination late. When I arrived at the bus station in Poi Pet, I bought Thai sim card. The sellers will ask you if you want the 7-day sim card or you want the 6-month sim cards, and they will do all the sim installation and top up for you. Normally the cost of the sim card is written on the sim card package, but in my experience, the seller charged me the extra 30 THB for the installations and stuff. The sim card can be bought at the bus station and also they also have the money exchange service there.
You may buy the ticket to Bangkok before you check-in at the border or you can do it after you the check-in point. There are luggage carrier who will ask you if you want their service. Here is how it works: they carry the bags for you by putting them on their carts and you can have your bags on the other side of the border. The check-in process will take a bit of your time so by the time the process is done, you may find your bag already at the bus stop (or other places as you tell the bag carrier) waiting for you. I understand that it’s hard to trust the cart puller but you can ask the people working at the bus station to find a bag carrier for you.
In the check-in point, you will have to fill in some papers and have your passport copied. there are two to three men who are sitting at a desk in front of the photocopy stall. They will ask if you want to fill in the form by yourself or you want them to fill for you. My mom normally let them fill in the form for us. One person is charged 1$ for the form writing service and 1000 Riels (0.25$) for the photocopying.
After that you get your passport checked from the Cambodia part and proceed to the Thai part. In the Thai office, the check-in point is more organized, air conditioned, cleaner and more modern.
When you got into the bus, you may notice that the outside of the van looks better than the inside. In some car, the air con doesn’t work.
The road from the border to Bangkok is a one-way road and in that road there are 3-5 lanes. The drivers drive very fast, some hit 140km/h, and they stop about 3 times in different petrol stations (PTT station). You may have meal there, some food sellers speak Khmer and understand some English, but no worry, they have pictures for you, you may just point the food you want to order.
The bus stop in Thailand is in the Pratunam area, and the guesthouse that is popular among Cambodian people is DD House. DD House is very convenient for those who wants to go shopping at night but it’s not clean enough. If I remember correctly, the staff there can speak Khmer.
Even in the city, drivers would drive up to 140 km/h. One thing that I notice is that, in their one-way roads, drivers don’t change lane easily, and if they cross the street, they will stop until they are certain that they will not cause interruptions to other drivers. One more thing though, when a driver stops (loading their goods) in a busy street (Pratunam Alley), the driver behind him would patiently wait and if it takes some time, some tuk tuk drivers even stop the engine and wait. They don’t normally honk and it seems to me that Thai drivers are more patient. I’m impressed.
Their selling techniques are also interesting. For example, if one shirt is retailed for 220 THB, it will cost only 150 THB each if you buy 3 items. I enjoy buying the discounted items in big markets more though.
Thanks to my mom’s friend, I got the chance to try sky train and underground train. Interesting. 😉 I haven’t tried our Cambodian train though, I bet it would be another great experience.
I think I should stop here for now. I may update this post or create another one for more info.
Have a great day/night 🙂