Geraint's World Trip travel blog

Well, it was the border crossing I had been least looking forward to: crossing from Thailand to Cambodia at the Aranya Prathet/Poipet crossing is supposed to be a mission at the best of times. We went early for it, arriving before the office had even opened and joining the long queue of people already waiting. It was early enough in the morning that the usual hordes of people that apparently lurk around looking for ways to get money off you must have still been in bed since there only seemed to be people there who actually wanted to cross the border. Thai immigration was simple - we were stamped out straight away and without fuss, got a bus to the Cambodian immigration, bought a visa at only a slightly inflated price (for the "express service" despite me being the only one in the queue and most likely the first person of the day to go through) and got through to the other side taking the free bus to the taxi/bus terminal, passing the hordes of Cambodians heading in the other direction with carts laden with goods bound, presumably, for the Thai markets on the other side of the border. From there we took a taxi along one of the worst roads ever (on this trip the only worse journey I have made was getting to Uyuni in Bolivia, and that was technically following river-beds not roads, so this takes the title of worst road to date) to Siem Reap/Angkor Wat. Despite being the road from Thailand to Angkor Wat, which is the main route tourists take to get in to Cambodia, it is still a dirt track for most of its length because, as the rumour goes, Bangkok Air have a monopoly on flights to Siem Reap airport, and they are paying the Cambodian government to delay the upgrade of the road until that monopoly runs out in 2009. We took a taxi since the bus didn't arrive for another 6 hours and wouldn't get to Siem Reap for at least another 6 hours after that. The driver wasn't too careful about his car, to the point that shortly after hitting one crater-sized pothole and hearing a loud thunk he got out and checked under the car, then promptly drove in to the first car repair shop he found. He had managed to put a big dent in his oil sump, and the car was leaking. It didn't take too long for the mechanic to beat it back in to shape and re-attach it, and we were soon back on our way, getting to Siem Reap mid afternoon, and checking in to my first hotel in ages that has had air conditioning. The benefits of sponging off your parents!!

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