The 'Chicken' bus from Strung Treng and other nonsense

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Asia » Cambodia » East » Kratié
January 2nd 2007
Published: January 4th 2007
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The only option for crossing from Laos straight into Cambodia is, it seems, to work with this one company that charges $20 to get to a city half way between the border and Phnom Pen. As soon as I got to the border, I knew that this was going to be a unique experience. Actually, it was before that. I was picked up from the Island at 8am, delivered to the bus station by 8:10, and then found out that we were not leaving until 9. I was thinking, "then why the heck did I get up at the crack of dawn?". On arrival at the border, we all lined up at this little hut and immigration just opened up for our bus and then closed down after our group went through. I was able to get through quickly because I already had a visa, so I was off to Streng Treng on the first minibus. Upon arrival, I was greeted by a bunch of touts trying to sell me a room because "the bus today is a 'chicken bus', bus tomorrow is a VIP bus." I have been at this travel thing long enough to know BS when I see it (or CS as it was in this case). I let them know in no uncertain terms that I did not want a room in the city, and got on a perfectly decent minibus to Kratie. We were delivered to a guesthouse that was recommended by the book, so I took a room there, after talking them down to $3 from 4. They claimed to be out of $3 rooms, so I let them know that that would be their loss not mine and they came around to giving me the $4 room at the same price. The only catch was that they got to take the TV out. I was just to happy to have the free up the counter space anyway, and they got my hint and never bothered with the TV. Other than that, I just went for a walk after a solid 7 hours in the bus, had dinner with an Israeli guy and a Dutch gal, and caught the first bus to the capital in the morning. Main lesson was that I needed to have heightened awareness to both personal security and cons. No, I was no longer is Laos, that was for sure.

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Hand pumped gas stationHand pumped gas station
Hand pumped gas station

They hand pump the gas here, in other places, they have it lined up in 1 liter coke bottles

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