Sihanoukville Express, Bus Ride from Hell

Today I have a guest post from fellow blogger Ken Dunlop from The Vancouver Traveler. Ken spent several months traveling around Southeast Asia, and he graciously offered to share a bit of his trip with you. This is one of what I am sure is many anecdotes about getting around in Southeast Asia.

So, you find yourself in Sihanouk Ville in Cambodia, and you are desperate to get into Thailand. Not wanting to travel the four hours to Phnom Penh in order to fly, the lady at the Internet Café presented a great plan, “Mr Ken, take the bus…it is good ride and only 8 hours.”

Yup, you have it I took the bus.

The day began at 07:00 for the tuk tuks ride to the bus depot, for the 07:50 bus departure. The bus is one of those huge highway buses, not the kind we think of in North America, but one that actually has an area under the bus where you can bring your moto (motor bike), plus all the luggage. The bus is all decked out, two TV’s nice big comfortable seats…and thankfully working aircon.

But don’t get too comfortable yet. . . .

I have to warn you though, do not get too comfortable as unbeknownst to me, one hour down the highway, we will run into a river that does not have an operating bridge over it. That’s right, off the bus, grab your bags, (all three of them) and board a raft to get taken across the river.

Once on the other side you board another bus, and each time this process happens the busses get less and less comfortable. You get to do this two more times before you finally make it into the border town of Koh Kong. Eight hours and sure enough you are at the border of Cambodia and Thailand.

However I am headed to Jomtien Beach in Thailand so there is another 4 hours of travel. This will mean 12 people in a 15 person van, complete with easily 30 pieces of luggage. Fourteen hours later, sure enough, we were in Jomtien Beach, a trip only five hours longer then originally promised.

Take it from me, fly next time!!

Photo credit: Ken Dunlop


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Mary Jo Manzanares is a traveler, travel blogger, and podcaster. In addition to her blog, Traveling with MJ, she hosts the Where Else to Go podcast, and is the founder and the editor-in-chief of The Traveler’s Way, an online travel magazine. Her travel ethos is value luxury - luxury for real people - and her goal is to help travelers know when to splurge and when to save. Mary Jo has been a speaker at various industry events around the world. When she’s not traveling, Mary Jo likes lingering over a cup of coffee, wandering in a museum, sipping wine at a cafe, and sharing it all with friends and readers. Her most recent travels were to Stockholm, a Baltic cruise, and Universal Orlando Resort.

One Response to “Sihanoukville Express, Bus Ride from Hell”

  1. June 3, 2016 at 8:27 pm #

    Hi MJ! This story made me remember my bus ride ordeals in Cambodia & crisscrossing borders within the banana pancake trail. And I have to agree with Ken Dunlop that as you go farther, the travel becomes uncomfortable. I once offloaded myself in a town in east Cambodia because I couldn’t take the chicken screaming (yes, chicken on the bus)!

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