From Siem Reap To Phnom Penh

Posted by : foongpc | Thursday, October 20, 2011 | Published in


There are 3 ways to get to Phnom Penh from Siem Reap. You can take the boat, the bus or the plane. Jam, his friend and I chose the bus. We reckoned it was cheaper than the plane and more comfortable than the boat.

There are a few bus companies offering daily scheduled service between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. We chose Mekong Express Limousine Bus. It is known as the the No. 1 bus company in Cambodia offering first class comfort so it should be a good choice, right? Maybe.

With the help of our driver Xiao He a day earlier, we managed to buy 3 bus tickets at the price of USD11 per person. The bus company actually had someone coming over to pick us up from our inn to the bus station - not bad!

Our bus departed for Phnom Penh at about 12.30pm. Like most long distance express bus, it is air-conditioned, has a TV and a toilet. The TV was switched on throughout the whole duration of the journey. Jam and I were seated quite in front like, just behind the driver.

There was this lady seated beside the driver who would periodically give announcements over the PA system. She would also briefly describe the places we passed by during the journey.

All passengers were also given complimentary breads and a bottle of mineral water.

My problem with this bus is that the driver was driving way too slow! If I am not mistaken, he's driving at under 40km per hour! Do you know how slow is that with a straight road ahead and practically no vehicles in front? I remember telling Jam that at the rate this bus is moving, we would probably reach Phnom Penh by nightfall!

Another problem was the leaking window. It rained halfway during our journey (which I was quite happy about as I love the rain haha!) and water was seeping in through the window that was shut. Luckily I was not seated next to the window but Jam was! Talking about first class comfort...

The bus only made one stop throughout the entire journey, which was at Kampong Thom. Most passengers would have their lunch or tea at this restaurant.

As we had already taken our lunch earlier in Siem Reap, we did not eat at this restaurant. But we found a stall outside the restaurant selling these!

Fried crickets, grasshoppers and spiders! My oh my, I could hardly believe my eyes! And believe it or not, Cambodians eat them as snacks!

Fried grasshoppers

Perhaps the lack of food and starvation during the Khmer Rouge rule forced the Cambodian people to turn to these insects for food. Well, they are definitely high in protein and pretty cheap.

A scoop of fried spiders costs 500 Cambodian Riel while a scoop of other insects costs 300 Cambodian Riel.

Fried spiders each almost as big as your palm

Did you know that Angelina Jolie's adopted sons Maddox and Pax love to eat crickets? She said they would eat crickets like Doritos! Even Angelina herself indulged in this Cambodian delicacy likening them to potato chips!! Read about it HERE.

So did we eat any of those spiders and insects? Of course not!! Not even if someone were to offer me USD 1 million! Wait...perhaps I will eat one, just one grasshopper for USD 1 million. OK , maybe two. Haha!

But the spiders? No way in hell am I ever going to touch those! You would have to top up another USD9 million for me to even attempt a bite at one of those hairy legs! Yikes!! I would much rather eat a balut! LOL! Hmmm, I wonder what exotic food awaits me for my holidays to Egypt which I am planning for next year?

Besides those vomit-inducing delicacies, there were stalls selling fruits. Do you know what fruits these are?

Soon we were on our way again. That was sure an interesting stop! No regrets sitting this bus, I must say. Other than the leaking window of course.

Guess what time we finally reached Phnom Penh? With the painfully slow driving speed coupled with an unexpected traffic jam on the bridge above Mekong River in the capital city, our bus reached its destination at about 6.45pm - a journey that took more than 6 hours!

Once we got down from the bus, a good friend of ours who worked in this city helped check us into Asia Hotel, which I have already blogged a little about in The Case of The Missing Slippers.

I could not wait to see what Phnom Penh had to offer.

Wishing on a Falling Star