We booked the bus to Phnom Penh from our hostel but they sell tickets all over the island for a standard price ($30). The boats leave don det for the mainland just after 8am so after grabbing a quick smoothie from JJs restaurant on the beach and some bread rolls from the little supermarket we were made our way to the beach around 7.40am.
Four boats were loaded full of people and rucksacks to reach the mainland and it was the most amount of people that we’d seen for days! It’s hard to imagine everyone was even staying on the island!
Anyways once we reached the mainland we did the short walk to the bus station and waited to board our bus to Phnom Penh… Well that’s what we thought we were doing.
After over an hour of waiting, we were handed a visa information card to complete by a man sitting at the bus station claiming that he was there to help people with their visas. It seemed like everyone was listening to him and going along so we filled out our forms, handed over $40 each for the visas as well as our passports… Then the guy ran off!
In hindsight it was a really stupid thing to do and we got ourselves worried that the guy would steal our passports but it luckily worked out.
The large group of us where put into small mini vans to drive to the Laos- Cambodian boarder around 20 minutes away. We were then kicked off the bus and walked through boarder control where the ‘officials’ tried to give everyone a ‘health check’ which consisted of taking everyone temperatures – Leah and I walked straight passed (by walking under a barrier) but apparently it’s a well known boarder crossing scan. If your temperature registers higher than a certain degree they try to force you to pay a sickness fee for entering the country…
After everyone had passed the health check (although they did try to stop a few people) we sat waiting around for an hour and a half to be given our passports back with the visa stamped inside.
Some people chose to walk through the boarder crossing themselves and saved $5 so it’s definitely worth doing seeing as you’re all getting on the next bus together so you have to wait for everyone.
Once we had our passports back we boarded another bus which would now take a large group of us to what can only be described as a service station in the middle of Cambodia. When we were dropped at the stop no body knew what was happening, the driver couldn’t speak English so we couldn’t even ask him! Luckily it was in the middle of the day time so there were lots of people around.
After waiting for over an hour at the service station- hoping that another bus would turn up and take us the rest of the way to Phnom Penh- a mini bus arrived and we all bundled in. The mini bus was actually really small and as every seat was filled with a person, our rucksacks had to sit underneath our seats – meaning that everyone was sitting with their feet on their large rucksacks and their little rucksacks on their backs…. It was a very compact 6 hours journey to Phnom Penh!