For the trip from Siem Reap to Cambodia’s capital Phnom Phen we decided to travel by boat. The estimated travel time was about five hours and our hostel organized the tickets for us. The pick-up the next morning would be at 06.15 am and a minivan would then bring us to the boat dock by 07.00 am. So far the plan.
05.30: Day of departure. Our alarm clock rang and after some snoozing we got up, packed our backpacks and headed down to the lobby.
06.10: After we woke up the hostel guy who had been sleeping next to the door, we checked out and took a seat at the lobby.
06.15: By now we knew how these pickups work: A minivan circles the city and picks up all the participants. Depending on the location of the different hostel and how late the other participants are, it can take a while. So we weren’t expecting anybody to show up at 6.15, and nobody did. We had enough time to watch the hostel guy rearrange the rental bikes and scooters from the garage to the terrace in front of the hostel.
06.23: Although breakfast was only served from 7 to 10 am, we were offered to order breakfast while waiting for the pick-up bus.
06:25: We ordered breakfast while watching the bicycles being nicely arranged in front of the hostel.
06.35: The only thing that showed up were our breakfast-coffees. We started to wonder if we could make it to the boat dock in time. After all the boat was supposed to leave at 7 and the ride to the dock was at least 20 minutes…
06.40: We were served fruits as part of our breakfast. Meanwhile fresh rolls were delivered to the hostel.
06.47: The lady who booked our tickets the day before wasn’t around and everybody else hardly spoke any English. How do you explain you are starting to worry if you will still arrive at the boat dock in time? And how do you ask them to call the boat company to ask them to wait for us…
06.51: We received the rest of our breakfast, a sandwich (from the freshly delivered rolls) and a pancake.
07.00: The scheduled departure time of our boat and we were still sitting at the hostel! Breakfast was good and we had finished it quickly as we were expecting the minivan to show up anytime now.
07.05: We started to discuss alternative ways to get to Phnom Phen that day. After all we had a hotel booked in Phnom Penh. Would we get a refund for the boat tickets?
07.13: What a surprise: The minivan showed up in front of our hostel, finally ready to pick us up.
07.14: After loading our backpacks the lady in the bus ensured us that we would catch the boat. Shouldn’t it have left 15 minutes ago? There were two other girls already in the bus also heading for Phnom Phen. We were thinking we might have misunderstood the pickup time as they were exactly an hour late, but the two girls confirmed that they too should have been picked up at 6:10 am instead of 7:10 am.
7.17: Stop at the next hostel, more people and backpacks board the minibus.
7.24: After several more stops the bus started to get pretty crowded. But it seemed there was still space for more people and luggage. After the last seat was occupied we discovered that there were foldout seats in the aisle which hadn’t been utilized yet! More people boarded the bus. The backpacks dangerously towered in the front of the bus next to the driver.
7.25: We made a fascinating discovery: The bus-lady was wearing trousers showing a “Lacoste” crocodile on fabric covered with the famous “Chanel” logo.
7.26: Two french people started discussing the brand confusion when Andy came up with the idea that the brand of the women’s trousers must be a “Chacoste”. Laughter around the tourists in the bus…
7.29: Meanwhile the minibus kept waiting on the roadside for some to-us-unknown reason. The bus seemed more than full to us, so why didn’t we continue on to the boat dock?
7.31: A tuk-tuk stopped next to the bus and two more people entered the bus, with luggage.
7.35: Finally the bus headed on.
7.56: We arrived at Chong Kneas, the location of the boat dock.
08.10: After our tickets were validated we hopped on a boat, hoping that it would head to Phnom Phen. Again there was lots of confusion with the different boats and tickets… The two girls which had the same tickets as us, ended up on another boat…
08.14: Our boat left the dock and headed towards Pnom Phen!
08.15: There was a lot going on on the river and its banks.
08.26: While these kids seemed to have a lot of fun cooling off and splashing around in the water, we felt no desire to take a swim in the brown river water.
12.30: After some hours on the boat, Tini apparently was still in a good mood 🙂
14.15: A glimpse in the captain’s room before we left the boat revealed he must have been very thirsty during this trip…
Finally we had arrived in Pnom Penh! Besides some timing issues and a probably drunk captain we had enjoyed the ride. Definitely it had been more comfortable than siting cramped-up in a bus and we got to watch a lot of interesting river-life going on 🙂This entry was posted in Asia, WorldMap