We are what we refer to as ‘bouj-et’ travellers, where budget meets boujee. There are things we like to splurge on (like speakeasies or theatre tickets), but in order to do that, we have to save in other areas. And that is why we ended up spending fourteen hours trying to cross the Vietnam-Cambodia border.
Some of the most strange/hilarious/concerning things that happened were:
- Never receiving any tickets or confirmation
- The hostel concierge who sold us the tickets telling us he was ‘Handsome John’ and not to worry because his ‘connections are good’ and ‘you are not lonely’
- A woman throwing up on the bus, a man putting an unidentifiable liquid package under the bus and then driving away without anyone noticing, the bus attendant screaming bloody murder at a water truck that cut us off, and the driver and a passenger getting into a yelling match. All on the first bus
- The German woman saying, “I don’t like this adventure,” after four hours of bumpy riding
- Adam losing his passport photos, then forgetting his water bottle, then almost leaving his phone behind, and then thinking he’d lost his headphones
- Walking across the Vietnam-Cambodian border (and standing in two countries at once!)
- The first glimpse of Cambodia: white oxen, impressive temples, and rough roads
- Backstreet boys playing on the radio
- One of the Cambodian bus drivers picking up a hitchhiker who climbed over the lap of a French man in the front seat
- Pulling off onto the side of a random highway, the driver getting out, walking across the road, and a new random man coming out of nowhere and getting into the driver seat, then driving us away
- The many random people, most of whom did not speak good English, who just kept pointing us in directions and us blindly following
- Taking seven different vehicles over fourteen hours to finally get to our hostel
But we made it. What was quoted as a nine hour journey turned out to be much longer but we were rewarded with a beautiful view from our hostel and two amazing full days in Phnom Penh. We even saw many of the travellers we encountered on our journey later in the trip, so safe to say we all made it. But next time, we might fly!
Check out our most recent post from Southeast Asia highlighting our favourite things about Vietnam.