On our fifth day in Cambodia we left our hotel at 8 am to get a van that would take us back to Thailand, precisely in Trat, where the ferries to the island of Koh Kood leave from. We were looking forward to our relaxing end to the trip. It has been an infernal journey of 10 hours, we were tired and disheartened. The kind girl at the reception of our hotel in Siem Reap (https://www.thecyclodangkor.com) had found and booked the transfer for us, even if I had shamefully asked her advice only the day before. She was so sweet, one morning she even gave me her bracelet as a gift! All the staff was exceptional actually, they were all so helpful, always smiling and cheering you anytime you would leave or go back to the hotel. So many places should learn from them, where the staff is older and more experienced but maybe not so kind, which I find shameful if you decide to work in hospitality.
As we wanted to save money and a private car was too expensive, a bus to Trat (365 km from Siem Reap) was fine for us. Thank God during the journey I had a good book with me, otherwise I would have gone mad.
After 3 hours of traveling, with two toilet stops if I remember well, we arrived at the cambodian border of Poipet (famous for its casinos, where Thais go to play). They dropped us because we had to change vans for the third time. We had to reach the Thai border on foot with our backpacks (you had to pay more if you wanted them to bring your luggage to the other van, which is only fair). It was a 15 minutes’ walk. They didn’t give us any directions and we were just following like sheep people in front of us who were intuitively walking, too. We had to show various times passports and visas, do a lot of queues (the last queue was the worst: I think it lasted 1.30 hour). After finally arriving to the Aranyaprathet border, in Thailand, we didn’t know where to go, again. It was all very improvised. An unpleasant and rude man, from Hangtep Company I guess, told us where to wait for further indications and pointed with his finger where we had to stop. Unfortunately we didn’t understand and so we kept walking like 10 metres more, when suddenly we heard someone screaming, and guess what, it was the rude man shouting angrily at us! “Where are you going? I told you to stop there! Why don’t you listen to me?” I was shocked, I felt like crying. He really had problems managing his anger. And anger for what? For two confused clients not understanding where they had to go because of their shitty “organization”? And two minutes later he was arguing with another couple, too, because they rightly didn’t trust his directions and he started shouting and saying curse words to the poor girl. Moreover, the Finnish guy who was sitting next to me on the van had lost the sticker from the company, that we had to stick to our t-shirts, and the same horrible man was telling him that he had to pay again for the transfer to Bangkok. Like they didn’t have a list with the names of the passengers! He could have just checked his name on the passport to find out that yes, he had paid already. But of course he wasn’t interested in giving a fair and honest service.
Then, after 2.30 hours on the border, we finally got the van to Trat. I think this was the worst of the three, it had a continuous, intermitted “beep” (for 2.30 hours) and the driver was driving so fast, I was pretty frightened. I’ve been travelling since I was a kid so I’m used to this kind of driving (in Cuba, Sri Lanka, Egypt…), it’s not that I’m only used to a safe, Swiss-kind of driving (I’m not talking clichès, I studied in Switzerland ahah) but believe me, this was terrible. You always need to thank God when you survive after such trips, it’s just a matter of luck.
We finally made it to Pop Guesthouse in Trat, near Laem Sok pier (26 mins by car): we were so relieved. We only paid 15 euro for a basic, but clean, room. We had a shower, dinner at the on site restaurant and then we met a nice German couple who was staying there, too, exchanging advice and travel adventures. The owners were helpful and there was a nice doggy coming to greet us. It was a very quiet part of Trat.
Unfortunately we had to spend one night in Trat. I hoped to go directly from Siem Reap to Koh Kood without wasting nights in-between, so that we could enjoy more time at the seaside, but we arrived too late and the last ferry to the island had already left (it was at 2.20pm). The following day we had breakfast (it wasn’t included) and then the pick up from Boonsiri, the ferry company, arrived to bring us to the main reception, very near to the pier. We waited 40 minutes there and were then transferred to Laem Sok to catch the morning ferry. The journey lasts only 1.15 hour, we spent 40 euro per person (35 pounds) because we also bought the return ticket and then the Boonsiri bus from Laem Sok pier, in Trat, to Bangkok, to catch our flight back to Italy. We liked the company, the ferry and the bus were clean and quite new and modern. You can check routes here (https://kohkoodferries.com/boonsiri-ferry-catamaran-fantasea/), they travel to Koh Mak and Koh Chang, too.
Above you can see a photo of our room in Koh Kood, but this is a different story.
How about you? Have you got any infernal journeys to tell me about? If yes, I’d be happy to read them in the comments. Let’s share the misadventures.
Have a lovely day, dear readers!