March 10, 2021
The inevitable day has come, and we must say goodbye to Laos. Our next destination, Cambodia, is just on the other side of the river. However, we still have a long journey ahead of us. We decided to go directly to Siem Reap, which if famous for Angkor Wat Temple. The main roads lead through Kompong Cham, which makes the route much longer. On the island of Don Det, it was possible to buy a bus ticket at a tourist agency, but we wanted to arrange the transport ourselves. We get up in the morning and after saying goodbye to our host family, we take a boat to Ban Nakasang. There, we bypass another travel agency and look for a different way to get to the border. We meet a nice couple from Holland, who has the same goal as us, so we join forces and after a few minutes we go towards the border by a tuk-tuk.
The land borders of Cambodia are infamous for the bribery practices of customs officers who add extra money for obtaining a visa. First you need an exit stamp from Laos, for which you have to pay! When it is time to get a visa to Cambodia, even though the price on the embassy website is $20, the guards ask $25! We decided to fight it, and we were probably not the first ones, as the guards knew how to deal with it. There is no information about these fees anywhere. In the event of a refusal to pay, the guards refuse to stamp the visa. When asked where the money is going to, or when asked about an invoice for the fee, they turn their heads and throw our passports without stamps. The other ways don't work either. If you don't have money, borrow from a friend. If you are alone, borrow from the guide who brought you to the borders. If you don't have one, borrow from the driver who takes you to Cambodia. If you didn’t buy a ticket yet, sit down and wait. At repeated visa requests, the guards, who are also policemen, start to get irritated. In order not to get into unnecessary trouble, we give up paying a total of $8 extra. We know it's not much money, but the fact that they openly rob people did not seem right.
While we were fighting the injustice, our Dutch friends found out about further transport. We managed to find a bus to Siem Reap with a change in Kompong Cham. And since Jacklyn liked to bargain, she managed to get tickets at a good price. We get to Kompong Cham around 20:00, where after an hour we are taken by another bus to Siem Reap. We look forward meeting Southeast Asia's greatest attraction.
“I travel because it makes me realize how much I haven’t seen, how much I’m not going to see, and how much I still need to see.” – Carew Papritz