my name is lawrence i am a 24year old divemaster from england who is travelling around south east asia for 7 months. I have just arrived in thailand and am currently staying with a friend in pattaya. I am not really enjoying it here, full of old men looking suspect, havent seen any backpackers!!
I am looking to get to cambodia asap. I have had a look at the visa and border crossing faqs and am still confused as to the best/cheapest crossing into cambodia from pattaya. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
I plan on staying in cambodia for a month then heading to laos and vietnam, before returning to thailand. I am a divemaster and am looking to blag some free diving along the way.
I havent really got a proper itinery set out for cambodia but understand poipet is the best border crossing. Then looking at heading to siem reap. I want to see angkor wat and hopefully do some volunteering. I also want to go to phnom penh, sianoukhville, chau doc and the mekong delta. However i am unsure of the best route to take and what to expect along the way. I am hoping to end up in laos after cambodia although i could just as easily go vietnam first. I have friends in vietnam (nha trang) who say they can hook me up with a diving job, so would prefer to go there after laos.
Any advice, tips, jokes, stories, places to go and stay, things to do would be most appreciated. All the best and many thanks in advance lawrence
#1 lonetraveldiver has been a member since 9/11/2010. Posts: 4
I think your best bet from Pattaya is the Aranyaprathet border into Poipet, but it looks like it's complicated to get there directly. There should be "visa run" services to that border from Pattaya, so perhaps you can book only the first half of that trip. Or, of course, you could take a bus to Bangkok and then another to Aranyaprathet.
(You might consider checking or even posting in the Thailand forum here for more information on this. The Cambodia forum is very quiet.)
After you cross into Poipet by foot you can get a bus or try to share a taxi into Siem Reap, which you'll love. After that take a bus to Phnom Penh, and then a boat to the Chau Doc border, since Vietnam is way easier to reach from there. After Chau Doc and Can Tho you can take a bus to Ho Chi Minh City, and then a train to Nha Trang.
Siem Reap itself is really nice, even aside from Angkor Wat, which is itself stunning.
Phnom Penh is a bit seedy in spots, but quite fun.
Once you get into Vietnam everything changes. English is far less commonly spoken, especially in the Mekong Delta area. I spent 3 nights in Chau Doc and 3 nights in Can Tho, and found barely any English-language tourist infrastructure in either. That makes it feel more exotic, but it can also be frustrating, especially at first.
Also, the Mekong Delta region felt quite plain to me in general. The main attractions are the floating markets, but I'd been to a bunch of those before so that didn't seem special. The landscape itself is flat and unspectacular. The section of the Mekong between Luang Prabang (Laos) and the Thai border is fantastic by comparison.
thanks rawjer ur advice is really appreciated, think i will get the bus to bangkok and then frm there to the Aranyaprathet border into Poipet as this sounds the easiest route. Will take ur advice a nd repost in the thailand forum to see if i can get some more replies many thanks lawrence
#3 lonetraveldiver has been a member since 9/11/2010. Posts: 4
The Poipet crossing is easy, although it can get busy. The visa should be no problem on arrival and people will point you in the right direction for the health form/visa/passport control offices. Once on the Cambodian side, you'll need a moto/tuktuk for about 5 minutes to the bus station. There are plenty of buses to Siem Reap if you arrive in good time, take your pick from the desks set up in front of the buses.
Agree with Rawjer that Vietnam is much easier from PP. You could take a direct bus from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville, then work back up to PP. It's a long journey, though!
Some guesthouses offer a bus/boat combo for the trip into Chau Doc, which is longer but quite an interesting route. Otherwise, you could also catch a bus directly to Saigon.
Of course, you can get to Laos from Cambodia, then work your way across to Vietnam. You'll need to have your Vietnamese visa in advance, but there's a small crossing near Vang Xai/Sam Neue (sorry, bad spelling), then a bus three times a week into Thanh Hoa, from where you can get a bus to Hanoi and travel south. Need to make sure you cross on a day there's a bus as there's nothing in the border crossing village to make you want to stay.