Bangkok – Siem Reap: What a nightmare!

We are absolutely fine and dandy but we had an exhausting day yesterday. We are now in Cambodia in Siem Reap but the struggle to get here was much harder than expected! We got up early to catch the bus which was fine which took us to the border at Poipet between Thailand and Cambodia, but the tour company were cheeky and took us to their travel agents a mile from the official border and were charging about $45 for a visa, when at the border it costs $25 at most. Pez and I had paid for an E-visa when we were online in Thailand which was $25 each so we didnt have to worry but they were scamming the extra money out of the other tourists. They were all asking advice from me and Pez and we were the only ones who had bothered to read up anything about the border (idiots!). I told them they could quite easily get the visa cheaper but if they did that the tour company would not take them any further, but that at the other side of the border they can get a taxi the rest of the way for about $12. They all wanted to do that but couldnt be bothered with the effort so paid the extra money.

Pez and I paid them so that we could get a taxi organised by them all the way to Siem Reap and straight to our hostel, which was fine as they saw us through the border and put us in a taxi as promised. Half way to Siem Reap the taxi stopped at a rest stop with a toilet (basically a girl selling drinks and food out of her house). Pez and I got 2 cans of 7-UP and the girl tried to charge us 50,000 Cambodian Riels which is about $11!!! Everyone there was shouting about the prices she was charging but I didnt want any hassle so I gave her 10,000 Riels and told her she can have that or nothing (politely of course!). She of course accepted as even that was over paying.

When we got to Siem Reap the taxi stopped at the edge of town and put us on a Tuk-Tuk (a little motorcycle with a covered seat pulled along behind) which insisted they were taking us to our hostel called Bun Kao Guesthouse. They took us to a hostel, but not the hostel we asked for! There was no sign to say where we were but we knew we had been taken somewhere else so they could get commission for us to stay there instead.

Pez and I were so tired and fed up at this point that we paid to stay there. But after discovering the air-con didnt work and that there was no fan AND the bathroom was flooded and filthy with a centipede running around the sink, we completely lost our temper and wanted to leave. It was just after 7 in the evening after getting up at 5 am for the bus and we had had enough of being ripped off for one day. So, we picked up our bags and told the man at reception we knew we were not where we had asked and said we wanted him to write down the address of where we were and we asked for our money back. We had paid $25 and at first he said he would give me money back for 1 night only as we had been in the room, I told him I wanted all the money, but finally caved in and said if you give me $20 I will leave now and that will be the end of it. He complained but gave me $20 from his wallet.

We stepped outside and met a really lovely Tuk Tuk driver who took us to the real Bun Kao Guesthouse. He explained that the hostel doesnt have a real name so they can take people there and get commission, but he said he does not associate himself with that Guesthouse. He charged us $3 to take us around town to the right place, but we paid him $5 and he was very shocked and happy. After a long day it was nice to finally meet someone kind and honest!

So now we are at the right place and stayed here last night. Our room is really lovely and the family that run it are very sweet. I am so glad we made the decision to leave the other hostel as Pez and I were convinced our things were not safe there. But all is well now! We went to bed early and only woke up at 10am this morning. We have wondered around the Old Market centre of Siem Reap today and I bought a lovely pair of silver earings and a silver and turquoise pendant – very cheap!

Tomorrow, we are planning on getting up at 4 am to get to Angkor Wat for the sunrise, but we will see how that goes. We are here until Monday so plenty of time to go there for sunrise and sunset.

This is Britain, and everything’s all right. Everything’s all right. It’s okay. It’s fine.

We are in Cambodia, but no wireless for iPad so on a Microsoft windows XP com-puter?

So yes, we’re fine, but we are never using a tour operator to get us across the border… ever… again.

Scams galore, which Noony will explain later once we can get back on this computer.

Our shortest post so far…? Not for long.