My 18 hour bus journey or How I reached Siem Reap, Cambodia

By far, this is the longest I’ve spent in a bus travel! So how did this happen?! Allow me to explain 😀

The original plan was a 12 hour ride from Ho Chi Minh City with a one hour stop over at Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. The ultimate destination is Siem Reap, which is the base city for visiting the Angkor temples. With all enthusiasm, I boarded the Mekong Express Limousine Bus at 7 AM. Everything was smooth until we started from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. Then the trouble began! I’ve never seen such crazy traffic before in my life. Coming from an Indian, it sure does mean a lot. We were stuck for almost 4 hours, scarcely moving and covering just 20 km in that span of time. Apparently, the reason for the congestion was Chinese new year!  I ditched travelling in Vietnam during this time for the very same reason 😛

Apart from my Lonely Planet guides and excessive sleep routine, what kept me interested during this journey was a little Indian girl in my front seat. She was around 6 years old and irresistibly adorable. She  could alternate between her mother tongue ( I am guessing Kannada) and perfect English effortlessly. All I did was listen to her super intelligent opinions with a wide open mouth. On one such occasion, her dad was showing her how to use the GPS in his phone and telling her that the road that we were travelling on leads to Thailand, Laos and even China if we take the right directions. With not even a moment’s hesitation, the question she popped was, “Will it lead to India?” Be it a 6 year old or a 24 year old, wherever we travel, a part of our heart forever lies in our homeland, the Incredible India :’)


My home for 18 hours 😀

The bus service “Mekong Express” took care of the on arrival visa formalities and made the procedure extremely convenient. I highly recommend it to anyone who are willing to spend a few extra bucks ( around 3-4$ more compared to the rest ) and get a quality bus service. Even though the travel was annoyingly long, I had a fairly comfortable ride, thanks to the plush seats and working air con =) I arrived at Siem Reap at around 1:30 in the night but was able to find a tuk-tuk and reached the guesthouse safely. Wait, are you asking what is a tuk-tuk? See the picture below 😉  Though I haven’t seen them in Vietnam, apparently they are common in many places in South East Asia 😀 Its like riding in a horse drawn carriage, except that there is no horse and its actually a man riding a motorbike 😛 Pretty strange but cheap & awesome!

Such a relief to be on these tuk-tuks on a scorching hot day!

Such a relief to be on these tuk-tuks on a scorching hot day!

I did not go through all this trouble for nothing. My Ankgor experiences more than made up for my travel inconveniences. I was mind blown by the whole experience and can’t wait to share them all. Coming soon in my next posts, my detailed notes on Angkor 🙂

8 thoughts on “My 18 hour bus journey or How I reached Siem Reap, Cambodia

  1. Loved your writing!
    Interesting – Why is it called a limousine bus? , The Tuk Tuk looks exactly like a modern day chariot for an average man!
    The six year old has just spoken out loud what most of us crib within ourself 🙂

  2. Pingback: On being an Indian girl and travelling solo | TALES OF MY JOURNEYS ACROSS OCEANS

  3. I’m going to sound terribly old but when I went to Cambodia such a bus journey in even 18 hours would have been unthinkable! There were no proper sealed around 13-14 years ago. From the Thai border to Batambang I remember was about 8 hours and I think 80-90 km! The improvement in roads and infrastructure in Cambodia in the last decade has been amazing. Thanks for sharing.

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