I have just made the bus journey from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh on-board a bus from Giant Ibis Transport, and I must say that it was an excellent experience, particularly coming close on the heels of the tiresome trip from Bangkok to Siem Reap; there are cheaper options running on this well trodden route, but if you don’t mind stumping up $13 US, this is the company to go with………..my hotel in Siem reap booked the ticket for me and took my payment (without charging me any commission)….. The thirteen dollars included pick up from my hotel in the company’s air-con 20 seater (negating a taxi or tuk-tuk fare to the bus terminal) and as soon as the bus set off, a bottle of water and a lovely fresh, warm croissant, in hygienically sealed packaging.
It was a new(ish) bus with very comfortable reclining seats, individual and direction controllable air-con vents, that could be shut completely if you got too cold (which you do in lightweight clothing)…………. and on board wi-fi……… wow!….we made a toilet stop for 5 mins after a couple of hours and a 45 min lunch break a couple of hours later; the journey took 6 hours and 15 minutes in total, the driver was very good, he drove quickly and assertively, but not recklessly, and the bus felt safe and well maintained; when on occasion, he needed to brake suddenly, you could feel the power of the big discs stopping the bus quickly and in a straight line; after experiencing the buses in India, with their twisted chassis and questionable breaking systems this bus ride was luxurious in the extreme!
The landscape between SR and HCMC is relentlessly flat, but gazing out of the (clean) bus window, I got some lovely views of Cambodian rural life; thousands of mostly wooden built houses proliferate along the side of the road, all built high on stilts, as testament to how heavily this whole vast area floods when the monsoons visit; traveling, as I did, beneath the canopy of a clear blue sky and fierce sun in late January, it seemed a most improbable event, but the whole landscape of fields and dwellings are sculptured to accommodate the inevitable drenching that is to come.
Where we stopped for lunch (middle of nowheresville) there were a couple of roadside stalls selling the most remarkable dried fish (pass)……….
The luxurious Giant Ibis bus………..
The relentlessly flat landscape…………..
Anyone for dried fish?
I think I’ll stick to Bresaola and sun-dried tomatoes………………
Madame poisson………. in her hammock, waiting for her next punter………could be a while!
Journeys end………………Phnom Penh……..snap taken from a tuk-tuk on the way to my hotel from the bus terminal………….