Base Camp for Angkor
25.12.2015 - 25.12.2015 93 °F
We caught the 8 am bus direct from Bangkok to Siem Reap on Christmas morning. This wasn't exactly how we imagined spending Christmas this year but at least we were together. We had read that the border crossing wasn't the easiest and this way we didn't have to try and find another ride on the Cambodian side to finish out the trip.
We booked the first class bus with A/C and it got us to where we needed to go. If there even is such a thing as a 2nd class bus over here, we advise to steer clear of it. For breakfast, they served us a can of coffee, a juice box, and what looked like an Asian Twinkie. Lunch was a microwaved rice and fish dish from the 7-11. No thank you! We had a digital copy of 'A Christmas Story' to watch on the laptop along the way, but it locked up about 5 minutes in.
Fast forward to the border. We got our visas stateside, so the first thing we needed to do was get stamped out of Thailand, which was no problem. Next, we walked through what is commonly referred to as "No Man's Land" - about a 1/4 mile strip between Aranyaprathet and Poipet where we assume there is no officially agreed upon demarcation separating the two countries. We were a little anxious about this but it ended up being pretty straight forward. It's full of small, dilapidated shops but also casinos. A strange place. The hardest part was waiting in line, luckily in the shade but still sweltering, to get our visas inspected on the Cambodian side.
We hopped back on the bus and about two hours later (8 total) we were in Siem Reap. We were told that we had a free shuttle to Hotel 20th Street, but as soon as we got off the bus we were bombarded with offers from tuk-tuk drivers. After some confusion, we were on a tuk-tuk, that was in fact free, and just a short ride away from our hotel, which is tucked away on a quiet dirt road not far for the city center. We walked to a nearby restaurant with rooftop seating and enjoyed a fabulous, if not traditional, Christmas dinner.