Saturday, October 18, 2014


Yes, I am here :-) !
I took the advice from and crossed the border at the closest point from Bangkok, the Phu the Ron cross 2 hours away from Kanchanaburi. I am still on the way and I am already happy with the decision. I have not met any oteher toursts the whole way from Bangkok, only few Thai people at the border who were kind enough to give me lift to the other border. This cross is in the jungle, it's basic and scenic. It is my first time when I've seen working elephants, working in the forest, not for tourists. It's only 3 of us in a minivan and the road is OK. Dawei is the place where I will spend few days.
I have crossed few borders lately and it always amazes me how big differences can be spotted just behind the line! Each country has different kind of cows, different huts, a bit different vegetation and so on, but some things are same even thousands kilometres away! Like long boats on the river or type of house.
Anyway, all went well, I am in bed after sweet hot shower, I have WiFi and drinking water and can just go to sleep. :-)

Day two
I think I am the only tourist in this town. Everybody smiles at me! And there is something gentle in the air here. ATM works and people speak basic English. Beach tomorrow!

The immigration office

Monday, October 13, 2014

Practicalities about on land travel Vietnam - Cambodia - Bangkok

Hello my readers!

As I have found it a little challenging to find information about reliable bus connections in this area, so I want to share what I have done.
This whole area is covered by company called Mekong express which was also recommended to me, but as I travel on tight budget, I was looking for cheeper options.
I have found a nice bus from Ho Chi Minh for half price! :-)
Company called Kumho Samco Buslines connects Ho Chi Minh and Phnom Penh and runs daily buses at 7am, 8am, 9:30am, 11am, 13pm, 15pm. Here is their card with all other details. In Phnom Penh, they can drop you off if your address is on the way to their office, otherwise you get off at the office. It is not far from center at all. If you feel like tuk-tuk, never pay more than 5$ (more likely just 3$) and for motorbike taxi just 1$ is a good price, unless you cross the whole town.

Later on I was looking for a direct connection from Phnom Penh to Bangkok and again, I found many complicated ways how to do do this journey, but nothing direct. But I asure you, it's easy and OK, if you don't mind 13 hours on a bus. I know it's a lot, but do you want to pay the high fee for leaving Cambodia by air?So Capitol is the answer:
Nice and reliable company, can book you a seat over a phone as well. Bus leaves once a day at 6:30 am from the company office. It costs 18 USD, so don't pay at agents, go strait to street 182 and buy the ticket there. We took the southern road (not through Siem Reap). The road is OK there and it took 8 hours to the border (as bus delivers things and drops people off). At the boarder, wait for another employee of the company to come aboard, he speaks English, gives you another ticket for the driver on Thai side and shows you the way to immigration. ;-) Yes, easy right?
Now once you are on Thai side, hold your new ticket visibly and people will point you out to he right minivan (in front of 7eleven) once all customers cross and sit, bus is ready to go. It takes another 4 hours to Bangkok (with one stop). Drop of is at Khaosan road or Victory monument (sky train). Or just speak to the driver at the break time, when our driver was visibly more relaxed and talkative.
Wish you a safe journey!!!

Friday, October 3, 2014


It has been a while since I crossed the border from Vietnam to Cambodia. I did it by bus and all went smooth. I chose Phnom Penh as a place for getting my Indian visa as I googled it should be nice and easy here, but, there is always a but when getting visa. Apparently here they don't issue visa earlier then 2 weeks before your journey, so they told me to come back later. And also the procedure takes only few days, not two weeks like in EU. I was highly disappointed, packed and went to Siem Reap to do some volunteering teaching English in a small village. This was definitely a good decision and great experience. I never did this before and I have to say it's not so difficult. Kids are eager to learn and wild. The school is very basic and chickens often take over the classrooms during breaks. It's very organic and follows the pace of the village. I stayed for 10 days and visited some of the Angkor temples at weekend. (Did you know that Angkor is run by Vietnamese and all the profit goes to Vietnam?)
I had bad diarrhoea followed by a flu while there, it had spoiled the experience a bit. I was tired and at the end loosing my voice, so it was good that more volunteers arrived and we could split the day. How did I find it? On There are many schools and organisations listed, just choose the one for you. I was lucky to meet some great people there.
Cambodia is very poor and people live simply. I thing that it's the highest number of tuk-tuk and motorbike drivers per head here. And I have not seen expensive motorbikes elsewhere but here, which is a bit bizarre. Dukes are especially popular. It is definitely a land of smiles, grieve, eating, flat landscape, lots of water and pretty people. Phnom Penh as any capital is a place of many possibilities, dirt and traffic. It has large French community and some fine bars, restaurants and one Costa coffee shop. Everyone warns tourists to be very careful with handbags as lots of bag snatching apparently happens here. Otherwise it feels safe during daylight. Moto ride through town and day is just one dollar.. tuk-tuk ride should not be more then 5$. Me and my friend Mel went to a cinema last night to watch The killing fields and that was a nice experience. Good movie, it was only us there so we could talk and enjoy it well.
There is lots of beggars here as well and many of them are children, or children selling things at night on streets, sad picture, but not much we can do, apart from not buying and not giving them money and hope this businesses will disaapear. Cambodia is also a land of pretty ladies and lots of prostitution can be noted. High risk of HIV is present. And Lady boys!! Yes it's somehow normal social thing and very popular.

On the other hand, people in the countryside are still growing their own rice, cook on fire, sleep in stilt houses and rely on natural resources. Cambodians eat almost everthing, frogs, snakes, crickets, you name it. Homes are simple and traditional. Rubbish is a huge issue, there is no education about it, so it's either everywhere, or burnt.

I am currently waiting for my Indian visa to be issued, so stuck in Phnom Penh, but with very nice couch surfers. As this visa process takes so long, mainly due to holidays, I will have to change my plan, skip Laos and go to Thailand instead. I still hope that I can visit Myanmar for 2 weeks. Wish me luck!