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Cambodia bus scam - Poipet to Siem Reap

  • IvanaCZ

    Joined Travelfish
    24th April, 2013
    Posts: 12

    We crossed the border into Cambodia at Poipet, where a free bus took us to the bus station. The only options were to take a bus for $9 ( which is expensive. Later we found out that for $9 you can go all the way from Bangkok to Siem Reap ) or the more expensive van and taxi. We decided for the bus even though we were pretty sure they were ripping us off but we didn't see any other option. The bus was supposed to leave at 2 but didn't get going until 3:15. All that time they had us sitting in the bus. After 30min I went to fetch our driver and was told that if I don't like the situation I can take a taxi. I was steaming with anger at that point already unaware of what was to come.
    When we finally left the bus station, a friend of the driver's decided to play us his favorite disco music and turned the volume up to the point where our ears started to pop. We told him to turn the crap off which only pissed the driver off even more. He made several personal shopping stops and after a mere hour he announced a 30min dinner break! I guess the idea was that we all buy something and he will get a free dinner, which we didnt fall for and most of us went across the road. After 40min, our half-god/driver returned behind the wheel. We got to SR about 3hours later than promissed and after dark, plus we were dropped off at a bus station 4km away from town. There we were already expected by tuktuk vultures (I'm 100% sure the drivers and tuktuks have some kind of agreement and run this scam together) who offered us rides for double the price. We waved them all off and went to the main road where we hailed a tuktuk.

    Here is some general advice about private transport, things you should find out before paying:

    1. Ask where exactly you will be dropped off. If you have a map, have them show you the spot. If it's way out of town and they want to charge you a lot of money for the ride, negotiate. You don't want to pay for a tuktuk.

    2. Double check with them if the bus will go at the time you were told or whether they will wait for more people. This is important, otherwise you might end up waiting on the bus for an hour and lose time and patience like me.:-)

    3. If you get dropped off somewhere else than arranged, demand that you be driven to your destination. It's not gonna be easy but you need to be tough and gang up on the driver.

    4. If your driver drives you into the arms of tuktuk vultures, don't take the first offer. Either negotiate or, even better, go to the main road and hail a tuktuk. I never want to give them the satisfaction of milking me right after I step out of the bus. Be prepared that their first offer is either double the price or 1/3 higher. The ride from the Siem Reap bus station into town should cost $3 a tuktuk, not per person!

    All the things I wrote here go not only for Cambodia but other countries. Check out my Laos bus scam post, if you're going to Laos.

    #1 Posted: 24/4/2013 - 02:43

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  • swag

    Click here to learn more about swag
    Joined Travelfish
    28th March, 2007
    Location Australia
    Posts: 330
    Total reviews: 6

    Oh my god, reading the last posts from this poster really makes me cringe. I mean haggling over inconsequential amounts of money really makes my stomach turn. Sure we all like to get from A to B in the most efficient cost effective way but yelling at bus drivers in Laos, whingeing about the extra 50 cents for an iced coffee wtf!!! Christ I rarely comment on these sort of posts but couldn't help myself. So what if things cost a tad more what sort of holiday are you going to have with all these negative aggressive experiences.

    Obviously if you are being completely ripped off and dropped off in the middle of nowhere you need to be calm and relaxed and try and work it out. If that fails move on pay the dollars and enjoy your holiday. Maybe you can go home and reflect on your trip and hopefully decide that S.E Asia is not for you. That way I won't have to put up with sharing a mini van with you and listening to your pathetic rants.

    Time and time again my wife and I see this behaviour when we have our annual trips to Asia. The group of 5 people cursing and screaming on the Songthaew on Koh Chang. The couple that ate all their seafood meal on Koh Mak then bitterly complained about the quality till they got their money back. The group of Israel's haveing a massive argument with the guesthouse owner in Kanchanaburi about the price of a mini van till I explained how it worked. No understanding just outright rudeness and nastiness.

    Christ I could go on and on with what I've seen over 30 years travelling to S.E Asia but I've come to the realisation that these sort of people will never be happy all I can do is run at 100 miles an hour when I come across some one like the above.


    #2 Posted: 24/4/2013 - 23:22

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Understand what you are saying Swag. Seen them myself. I believe she complains about the coffee in another post.
    In fairness this one is more about companies messing about. It's a heads up for travel virgins. It's the hot season now and tempers are fraying so the best way to stay cool is to be aware of the Khmer mindset. There's nothing unusual about hanging around. Have a look at one of the minibus stations, you'll see Khmer stuffed in like sardines fanning themselves to stay cool waiting for that extra passenger to fill it so they can go.
    Bus stations are quite often outside towns and tuk-tuk drivers will try and get as much as they can out of you. If they ask too much I laugh and say I'll walk. They soon catch me up and agree a better price. Anyway as the OP says, there are plenty more on the streets outside.
    Loud music is a pain. Does everyone in Asia have a hearing problem? Take a quality pair of headphones and play your own music to mask the local karaoke.I once met Kong Nay, a famous Cambodian traditional musician. He told me that karaoke had ruined music, so you are not alone in hating it.
    Anyway, enjoy the trip and laugh the hassles off.

    #3 Posted: 25/4/2013 - 02:16

  • JaiYen88

    Joined Travelfish
    25th April, 2012
    Posts: 110
    Total reviews: 2

    Good points from both of you. I would just add that the Aran / Poipet border crossing is notorious, and as soon as you start doing a bit of research you see multitudes of stories about the scams. So to get so angry and upset about these things betrays the naiveté of the poster and an inability to go with the flow, which is obviously a major requirement in this part of the world!

    The karaoke on buses is hilariously awful though... I think I'll go start a thread about it.... :)

    #4 Posted: 25/4/2013 - 11:51

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