Most common route is south through 4,000 islands and northern Cambodia (passing through Stung Treng Kratie and Kompong Cham then either taking a right at KC and jumping on a bus to Siem Reap or continuing south to Phnom Penh and getting a bus from there.
I'd suggest breaking the trip in the least at Phnom Penh and 4,000 islands. If you have time also Kratie and Kompong Cham.
All depends on how much time you have.
The border crossing part is covered here: http://www.travelfish.org/feature/84
For a through ticket you're looking at around $28 and a very full day of travel.
Thanks Somtam, I am surprised it is do-able in one day. As one of our party is 78 I think that we will break the journey and will try and figure out where. Are any of your recommendations about half way? Our itinerary so far is BK 3-4 nights, Ubon 4 nights minimum (wedding), on to Pakse then down to Siem Reap, which is the bit that I am not sure about. Altogether we have 18 nights, not enough I know, but the primary reason for going is the wedding and we have done a fair bit of Thailand already.
#3 Missis has been a member since 6/8/2009. Posts: 30
Are you already stopping in 4,000 islands ( Don Dhet and Don Khon )? If so, than I'd break it at Phnom Penh and have a couple of nights there.
Otherwise, Kratie's main attractions are the dolphins and rural cycling. Kompong Cham's are more boat trips to outlying temples and some Khmer ruins -- depends on your interests I guess. Both have plenty of accommodation options.
You don't mention how many are in your group, but if it's a few, bear in mind that once you're in Cambodia it is easy to charter an entire share taxi -- that should be a good deal more comfortable than using the buses and minibuses.
Hi Somtam. We are not breaking anywhere at the moment - this is the bit of the journey that I am stuck on. I will have a look at Kratie. There will be either 5 or 7 of us, how many do the share taxis take? I am interested in comfort as 3 of the party are 78, 65 and 64! My parents want to make the most of the adventure and are up for the tour to Laos and Cambodia, but I do have to take their age and ability into consideration!!
#5 Missis has been a member since 6/8/2009. Posts: 30
Just some info to help if anyone reads in the future. We purchased a bus ticket from one of the ticket sellers in town (near to the Lankham Hotel but not there) for $20 and they said they would organise a lift to meet the bus. This was a little confusing the next morning as we didn't ask what the lift would consist of when it was past the pick up time outside the hotel and there were tuk tuks and cars, mini vans etc! The hotel kindly called the number on the ticket and confirmed that the lift was on it's way. This actually consisted of a mini van, and with our luggage it was a little difficult to fit everything in. Eventually, all jammed in we went to another hotel to pick up two more travellers. Very squished, but we all got in!
We knew the bus was due to depart the bus station at 8am and slightly confused when it was past 8am and we had driven past the bus station! The other travellers thought that maybe we were being driven to the border in the mini bus instead of a big bus, to connect with the other side and after a few more minutes this seemed to be correct.
The border was easy enough, stamped by the tent on the left to leave, and have your temperature taken, walk to the hut on the right to fill in a visa on arrival form, have that stamped and approved, walk to the border crossing and stamp there, walk to the other side. This was one of the easiest crossings although be prepared to dispense dollars and not just the cost of the visa. As there were 5 of us and some elderly we couldn't risk missing the bus for a dollar or two, if we were on our own we may have for leaving Laos for sure. Don't forget photos for the visa, otherwise there will be a charge for them to do it. And go to the loo on the Laos side as we couldn't find any on the Cambodia side and had a heart stopping moment when we realised that Mum had dashed back through the border without her passport! I guess she looked harmless enough as she sauntered back through the borders without being challenged.
Once on the other side, look for the bus that matches the name on the ticket, stow luggage and get on. There was a lunch stop in Kratie, when we were there we didn't want to eat so just ordered drinks, one thing we didn't hear when getting off is that the bus was going to pick up down the road, so make sure you know where and when.
Not sure when we arrived in Phnom Penh, other half thinks it was about 15:00 ish. Good trip, good price. Tuk tuks to Cozyna Hotel (excellent, will review when I figure out how!) and trip done.
#7 Missis has been a member since 6/8/2009. Posts: 30
Did 4000 islands to Siem Reap , started at 10am from the ferry terminal and got to Siem Reap at 11 in the night. Now they said be at the ferry terminal by 8am, and so we were there but the bus wasnt. Turns out it comes all the way from Pakse.
I got a bus from Ban Nakasan, Phnom Pen'h Sorya Transport. Border is easy, the extra dollars are funny. When I asked, i found out that the extra dollars are for keeping *hem hem* "headcount purposes". We the rich peoples of the world....
Bus continues past Strung Teng, Kratie, and Kampong Cham. I paid 18 dollars at the 4000 islands which is probably why the bus stopped at Kampong Cham and those of us bound for Siem Reap were herded into a minivan like a bunch of buffaloes and driven under a beautiful full moon to Siem Reap, with the occasional oncoming car blinding and re-blinding us and our driver constantly signalling left for some reason or the other....methinks its a way of telling the big cars Hey Boyo This Is How Wide I Am Try Not To Kill Us As You Drive By.
Now for the uninitiated there is really no other way to Siem Reap other than through Kampong Cham, and from Laos you'll have to board a bus for Phnom Pen'h and get off at Kampong Cham for Siem Reap. If only we were crows.
Needless to say the trip was a grueling one. Hope this story helps.
#8 the_tundraman has been a member since 18/3/2008. Posts: 11