It was the night before Harmony and I left for Bangkok. We were becoming anxious whilst going through the usual steps of searching for and booking a hostel. This went on until 2am – meaning we were only afforded four hours of sleep. Our bus from Siem Reap was at 7am and we were pushing it by ordering breakfast at 6:55. Multiple mini vans pulled up at our neighbouring hostels and the few seconds when it looked like a lady was coming to collect us were tense. Luckily, our mini van was a little bit late! That mini van then took us to a bigger bus and then the journey finally began!
As always, we slept for most of the journey but, this time, it was important to be well rested. We had to be in the right headspace for when we arrived in Poipet at the border. To say the least, it was not a very nice place. The roads were underdeveloped, there was a really strange smells and the locals always looked at us funny! It's also notorious for scams but, thankfully, we didn't have any issues. The border crossing was actually pretty easy!
After getting our passport stamped in the departure building, we went to Thai immigration and stood in line for about an hour. Here, we all had to fill in an arrival form ready for the immigration officers before we were given our 30 day visas (that Harmony and I would later extend). Strangely, a processing fee of 2,000 Baht was advertised, but the visas were in fact free.
When we were on the Thai side of the border, we could sit back and relax. All we had to do was wait a short while for a converted truck to take us to our bus, which was waiting for us at a place where we could eat. Whilst waiting for the truck, it was fairly easy to find members of our group. We had to stick with them, as this is the where it typically gets a bit tricky for some tourists. We found ourselves looking for the few faces that we remembered from on board the bus or at least looked for their big backpacks. Thankfully, almost all of the bus companies give out lanyards so, if all else fails, you can look for somebody wearing the same colour as you.
We were travelling with a bus company called Hang Tep. All in all, the bus itself wasn't bad, but any amount of time on a bus is a challenge and a question of comfort. Fortunately, the bus had air con and I had Harmony's neck pillow. Harmony's chair wasn't as reclined as mine either, so I could always lean up against hers - that's a top tip! When we arrived in Bangkok at 7:30pm, some people got off the bus at the train station, whilst Harmony and I got off close to Khao San Road - where we were staying nearby, in a quieter and cheaper area.