when are you planning to do the trip? we are planning on doing the same route in a couple of days.
Maybe we can share a minibus?
I am wanting to make the same trip by mini bus / bus from Siem Reap to Koh Chang in November 08. Did you do this and how did you find it?
I am also interested in this route, but would like to go from Ko Chang to Siem Reap. Any information available would be helpful.
The sensible way to do the trip overland avoiding the numerous scams and dodgy minibus operators is this:
KC - Siem Reap( for Siem Reap - KC just do the opposite)
Leave your hotel early moening, take the ferry & then a pick up truck taxi to Trat bus station. From theretake the first bus to Chantaburi around 90 minutes ( max) ride away. From Chantaburi bus station you need to take a bus to Aranyaprathet, the border town with Cambodia.
Cross the border, avoiding anyone who wants to help you in any way. On the Cambodian side forget about a shared minibus as this will often stop and offload you into an overcrowded pick up truck a few km into the journey. Instead spash some cash and pay US$70 - 80 or so for a guy with a private taxi - an old Camry or similar, to take you to your hotel in Siem Reap. If you do this you'll be sipping cocktails by the pool by late afternoon with no problems.
Coming the other way, from SR - KC, I know people who've left SR early morning and been on KC by 4pm with no hassles.
Use public transport in Thailand and spend a bit more for the Poipet - SR trip in Cambodia and you wont be one of the people posting horror stories of their journey on their blogs.
Writing as the owner of a tour shop in Chai Chet, I'll say that you can avoid the scams and uncertainty and travel in relative comfort by buying a through ticket from any reputable TAT registered tour company on Koh Chang. You'll leave at around 7am by minibus, change to another bus at the border and arrive at your hotel in SR by nightfall.
Not the fault of the person who sells the tickets - it's the companies that actually run shared minivans. This from a couple who did the trip one week ago:
We had heard that there were a few typhoons in northern Thailand which were heading south, so we decided to cut our stay short by a day or so and head for the border and into Cambodia.
Four of us had arranged our transport through a travel agent recommended by our hotel. The bus was an hour and a half late, a great start.
Scam 1 – when we got near the border we conveniently stopped at an office and were told that it was the only place we could obtain our visas. We handed over the cash, but it didn’t feel right and I felt a scam, out came the bible (lonely planet) and sure enough it was, so we kindly asked for our money back. That’s when the trouble started, they got aggressive and threatened us with all sorts. All eight of us (from the bus) gave as good as we got and not until we had our mobiles out to call the police did they hand back the cash – a one hour ordeal.
Scam 2 – we then had to walk to the border to arrange our visas ourselves, only to be greeted by corrupt border patrol officers. The signs clearly stated ‘visas to Cambodia $20’, but no, they wanted 1,000 Batt ($30). There was no arguing, we had to pay it or they wouldn’t let us through.
Scam 3 – while we were arranging our visas, the driver from the Thai border had telephoned the driver on the Cambodian border and ordered him to drive off without us, so we were left high and dry with only taxis at extortionate prices left to take us to Siem Reap, at cost of $45 per cab.
Scam 4 – about 8k outside of Siem Reap, in the arse hole of nowhere, the taxi pulled into a lay by and waited – conveniently he didn’t speak a word of English. Fifteen minutes later a few tuk tuks turned up with an English speaking guy who said the taxis could not enter the city because they were ‘too dirty’ having driven along the country roads, but hey!, we could get a ‘free’ ride into town on his tuk tuks. Knowing full well that they would take us to some dodgy hotel, we refused. Again they got seriously aggressive. We had no other choice but to agree a fee to take us to our chosen hotel.
Thankfully, and having paid a small fortune, we arrived safely – a total journey of 14 hours. We checked into our hotel, went for a meal, had a few beers and headed for bed. We had every scam listed in the Cambodian Lonely Planet in one full day. We’ve since discovered that the majority of guests here at the hotel have had similar experiences and some much worse.
OMG. We are going that same route in a few weeks. I plan on getting the visas before going to Cambodia to avoid all of the drama that I've read about. In the meantime, what could be done differently to avoid some of the perils and pitfalls that you encountered. I really want to visit Cambodia, but want to minimize the hassles if possible.
I've seen loads of blog posts and messages on discussion boards like the one I posted yesterday.
Virtually the only people to get scammed are those taking the shared minibuses that appear to be the simplest, most cost effective option. Sometimes they are but often they aren't. Do the journey yourself, get an e-visa online and you can make the trip with minimum hassles.
See www.talesofasia.com for info on all the border & minibus scams and how to avoid them.
There has been a real problem with Cambodain e visa's recently, with people having to pay again at the border and no refunds. Check it out before buying on line.