It was 3PM when we got in the boat that took us from Koh Tao to Chumpon. The sea was a bit rough due to a strong rain right before we had sailed away, but the trip was ok. When we got to Chumpon, we were supposed to wait for 3 hours for the bus that would take us to Bangkok. Yet, not even 2 hours later, we were on our way to the capital in an extravagant pink bus.
We arrived to Bangkok at 3 AM, precisely 12 hours after leaving Koh Tao. Again, it was supposed to arrive at 5AM, so our plans were to spend the day there and go to Cambodia the following day. However, since we got there 2 hours earlier, we had enough time to jump into a taxi, the only one that agreed on turning the meter on (instead of a fixed price) and go to the train station on time to buy the ticket to Aranyaprathet, the last Thai village before the border with Cambodia. The train, with 3rd class carriages only, was a good alternative to the usual buses full of neon lights. Simple, but comfortable, always with its windows open, it allowed us to have a glimpse of a more rural Thailand.
Arrived in Aranyaprathet 6 hours later, we found a pickup truck, that works as a collective taxi, for only 15 Bahts and quickly got to the border. One very friendly lady inside this truck gave us all the instructions and showed us the way to the border office. The exit from Thailand was fairly easy. We went to the Cambodian emigration point to get our visas.
We had read a lot about this border, how there are dozens of people trying to exploit poor lost tourists with fake money exchange or fake visa offices. Truth is that everything went smoothly. The only thing we didn’t bother to fight about and knew beforehand was going to happen was the fee we paid to the police officers that gave us the visas. The normal price for a tourist visa is 30USD, but these gentlemen charge an extra 150 Bahts for an administrative fee. There are even some fake printed papers indicating this nonexistent fee. If we hadn’t paid this fee, it would have taken us a couple of hours to get our visas. Instead, it took only 10 minutes. After getting our visas and stamping them a bit more ahead, we entered a free bus to the closest bus station. 30 minutes later we were on our way to Siem Reap on a 3 hour journey.
The bus wasn’t the most comfortable, but the trip wasn’t very long and we made a 45 minutes break on the way. We parked in Siem Reap when it was already night time. We followed a German couple we had met on the bus to their hotel, hoping to get a room there. It was full and even they, who had a reservation, could not spend the night there. We went out to the street and found an even cheaper place just a couple of meters away.
In the end it was 28 hours of trip that went in a twinkling of an eye, such was our excitement of going to a new place, with new and different people. We were in CAMBODIA.