Day 3: Bus from Ho Chi Minh to Siem Reap
We woke up very early (again) to catch our bus to Siem Reap. The Mekong Express office was a few blocks away from Lily’s hostel so we didn’t have to worry about being late. The bus that we rode was a few years old but very well-maintained. There was no wifi though 😦 So we either had to pass the time actually talking to each other or by sleeping. The bus left on time and its conductor became our guide for the 14-hour trip.
Within the first 30 minutes, water bottles and breakfast were distributed to each passenger. For those wondering, breakfast was a small box of assorted pastries from Mekong Express’ partner bakery – mine contained a croissant and doughnut.
The conductor spoke on the microphone right before we arrived at the border and explained the immigration procedures. He had to collect all our passports and follow him at the border gate. I was a little apprehensive at giving my passport but I assured myself that Mekong Express had a very good reputation among tourists.I was also happy to find out that we didn’t have to bring our luggage to immigration; just our valuables.
After 2 hours, we arrived at the Moc Bai border and followed our guide inside the immigration building. There were many people lining up at the immigration booths but we didn’t have to join the queue. Our conductor gave our passports to an immigration officer for the exit stamp and we just had to wait for our names to claim our passports. The wait was about 20 minutes and I was directed to go back to the bus. I wanted to take a picture of me standing on the border of Vietnam and Cambodia but I had a feeling that I would be reprimanded by the guards, so it was back to the bus for me.
When everyone returned, we went to the Bavet border for our entry stamp to Cambodia. Everyone left their luggage on the bus and lined up for the immigration booths. I gave my passport and immigration card to the officer, he took my picture and biometrics, and stamped my card. The whole process took less than 5 minutes and I was officially in Cambodia! 🙂
We all went back to the bus and drove for 30 minutes before we made a stop for lunch. The food was fairly cheap and I was so happy with what we ordered. My, Karla and Jayvee’s lunch cost only 8 USD 🙂
The rest of the trip was pleasant. I passed the time looking out the window or sleeping. At around 3 PM, we arrived at Mekong’s Phnom Penh office to change buses. I bought some snacks because I was getting hungry, only to find out at that there was a second box of pastries for passengers. I managed to eat them both. Haha.
At 6 PM we made another stop for dinner. The menu thankfully had a short description for each dish so we based our orders on those. Each dish cost around 4 USD each, slightly more expensive than lunch but we still found them delicious so no complaints from us 🙂
We finally arrived in Mekong Express’ bus terminal in Siem Reap. Our accommodation instructed me to call them so a tuktuk can pick us up but I was pleasantly surprised that there was somebody already waiting for us. We claimed our bags and left the terminal immediately. Continue reading