I’m in Cambodia, and for this part of my journey I’ve been joined by my good friend Will who flew into Bangkok from the UK today.
We travelled overland to Cambodia from Thailand on a hot and noisy third class only train that we managed to catch despite being told the wrong platform by several railway staff in Bangkok.
After a bone shaking five-hour ride the train stops, as scheduled, just shy of the border with Cambodia. From here we jumped into a Tuk Tuk to take us the last kilometre. The border was hectic and marked by a large gate over the road that was teeming with cars, buses, trucks, bikes, people, stall holders, and random hawkers. Within this chaos we had to seek out the various offices and officials to get the necessary visas and stamps we would need to formally enter the country.
The local currency here is Riel, however the locals seem to prefer US dollars, or Thai Baht. This is, of course, entirely confusing and lays you open to being short-changed and generally ripped off as transactions are often carried out using a mixture of all three currencies, or at least they have been thus far.
Everything seemed overly complicated and there were no shortage of ‘helpful’ people who were only to happy to get involved in any transaction making even the simplest of tasks unduly theatrical and confusing. Just getting a taxi was a painfully tiresome affair that seemed to involve a great deal of people who all wanted money!
In the end though, after an entire day of travel, not to mention the overnight train I took to get to Bangkok, we eventually arrived at a hotel in Siem Reap just before 11pm.