07.03.2016 - 07.03.2016 38 °C
Day 21 - 07 March 2016
The infamous border crossing
And so today was the big day, the day that we had both been looking forward to, the day that we had both been nervous and excited about, after hearing and reading the horrendous horror scam stories, it was the day of the crossing of the infamous Lao/Cambodian border.
First, we had to get there. We left the island on another canoe type boat and got to Nakasang where we waited for almost an hour for a bus to take us the short trip to the border.
We arrived on the Lao side of the border and it was ghostly quiet. The 11 of us that travelled together to the border made a joint decision to stick together. We also had instructions from AVT or Asia Van Transfer company who were going to be transporting us direct to Siem Reap, what we needed to do at the border crossing. First, the lao departure card and passport was handed to the lao guard along with two dollars each for the stamp.
Once we had all this completed, we walked up a short section of road or no mans land until we were now on the Cambodian side of the border crossing. The guard at the desk directed us to a shack at the side of the building and this was where we gave our passports for our visas and 35 dollars for the privilege. As we were walking up the road, there were a few guys sitting in little tents shouting at us to get a health check for 1 or 2 dollars before entering the country. This is the biggest scam going at this border crossing and is notorious for catching out backpackers.
Once our passports were stamped, visas issued and all associated paperwork completed, we were officially in Cambodia and the best thing ever was the crossing itself. Very straightforward and nothing to be scared about at all.
We met the guy from AVT and we waited for the remaining backpackers going to Siem Reap aswell.
AVT piled us into a mini van and we made our way to Stung Treng, a couple of hours south of the border. The roads for the first half hour or so were very bumpy and rough and there was little or sign of civilisation other than a few shacks here and there.
After a quick stopover at their office, we hopped into another mini van which brought us the remaining journey to Siem Reap, home of the very famous and ancient Angkor Wat.
On arrival, we got picked up by a tuk tuk driver, tom who dropped us to our hotel. We also hired him to take us around the famous sights of Angkor Wat over the following three days.
Our hotel was magic, with only nine rooms for its guests and the reviews that we read online seemed accurate and consistent with what we saw. Also, we got a cold drink and wet towel on arrival, always a good start to any visit. The room was very spacious with a king size bed, ensuite and a bath as extra, big wardrobe, lots of floor space and came with its own private garden. Probably one of the best hotels that I have ever stayed in.
We settled in for our first night in SR and had dinner in the hotel restaurant which we almost had to ourselves.