A “Cambodian Massage” – The public bus to Phnom Penh

After a big night out in Siem Reap it was nice to sleep in and not set an alarm. We were sad to say goodbye to this city and were gutted we didn’t get to spend one more day here.

The bus to Phnom Penh left at 12:30pm and was scheduled to take around 8 hours. Key word there was SCHEDULED.

This bus ride was what our Tour Leader liked to refer to as a “Cambodian Massage” and by that he meant 8 hours driving on unsealed road through the countryside in an old rickety bus.

It started out fine. We were given a little lunch box with a sandwich and a biscuit for lunch which I thought was rather cute. We were making our way and had been going a couple of hours when all of a sudden we pulled over and came to a stop. We’d broken down. It was something to do with one of the front wheels. No one really knew what it was in the end but after about 20 minutes we were on our way again.

Fast forward another couple of hours and the front of the bus started SMOKING. That’s right. The bus started filling up with smoke!! We pulled over and opened all the doors and windows whilst the driving crew tried to figure out what was wrong. They pulled off the entire dashboard of the bus and revealed the most epic spaghetti junction of cables I’ve ever seen. We sat on the side of the road for probably close to an hour while these men tried to fix whatever the problem was. I don’t think we ever found out what went wrong but eventually they fixed it and we were on our way again.

For lunch we stopped at a small town halfway between the cities and had a quick snack. A couple of the Ausy boys even tried fried Tarantula!! Gross!

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A couple of hours late and tired as hell, we all arrived safe in Phnom Penh, our second Cambodian city. It was interesting to see the differences between this place and the last. Phnom Penh is the capital city and is larger than Siem Reap, making it a lot poorer and run down. This was immediately recognised amongst the group. We headed out to some night markets but ultimately were all so tired we all ended up having quite an early night. We needed out rest anyway to prepare for what was sure to be an emotional journey the next day at the Killing Fields.


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