I'm backpacking for the first time - at the age of 50 - on my own. I haven't resorted to hostels yet 'cause at £15 a night for a hotel room I can't see why I need to!! : o
I didn't use Travelfish to book my hotels, I was recommended another website to use that rhymes with 'Looking'!
I've just done the Siem Reap to Phnom Pehn bus journey on the Mekong Express Limousine Bus. Limousine isn't what I'd call it but it had a good engine in it and the air ducts worked. The company name on the ticket is C.A.T Cambodia Asia Travel Co., Ltd.
I booked it through my hotel at 4:00pm the day before I needed to go without a problem and they issued me with the ticket. There were 4 bus times to choose; I opted for the 10:00am-ish bus.
From what I can gather, Mekong Express seem to have their fingers in all the hotels' pockets because it was their official booking pad that was use at the hotel counter. I should've booked earlier but because it was only me to consider, I had an idea I'd get on one of the 4 buses available for that day - Monday 25th March 2013.
A mini bus picked me up from the hotel and took me to the bus station. It already had people on it so they were picking up well before they got to my hotel, and they stopped a couple more times. It was 30 minutes late but it's connected to the M.E company so there wasn't an issue.
It wasn't a brand new bus; there were cushions on the seats - lots of wear and tear I'm assuming; I didn't look! Grubby-looking in appearance inside but it was clean considering how old it was. There were 2 massive cracks on the windscreen - MOT's don't appear to be an issue for them here! Luggage was tickets and I was given the stub. The ticket actually has the seat number but I didn't realise, so I got on and took a seat and then was told where I should be sitting; no hassle, just told where I should be.
A flat screen TV - amazing....couldn't understand a word though! And even more amazing than that?? WIFI - I kid you not! It worked a treat but then became sporadic as we got into PP - the last 45 minutes or so. Now THAT should keep those kids happy! I had my iPad 3rd gen. and my iPhone 4 going with no problems.
The 'stewardess' was very efficient but it was a touch hard to understand her English. She supplied a wipe, like they do on the planes, a 500ml bottle of water and a box with a sandwich - not very appetising - and a pastry; same! I wasn't for one minute thinking we'd get anything so I bought a few nibbles. You might want to do the same. I'd also frozen 1.5 litres of water from the night before so it stayed cold throughout the journey. I drink 2 litres a day when I'm at home in the UK, so I drink more in their heat!
The driver scared every bike or tuk-tuk he passed with a blast of his horn! I didn't hear any other buses doing it though - must have been a new horn! lol
He didn't waste time with the overtaking either but I'm a fast driver myself - I don't do dawdling - so it didn't bother me.
We stopped at a restaurant for 30 minutes; another bus turned up and did the same, so I'm assuming it's their regular stopping place. I got back to the bus 10 minutes before - you really don't want to miss that bus; but people were still running back just as the driver was pulling away - they don't do a head count. She held up a board before we got to the rest stop showing the time - 12:20pm - they ain't waiting for no one after that!!!
The journey took just under 6 hours; as we got into PP - at 4pm - rush hour turned everything into a crawl.
The bus station was rammed with tuk-tuks vying for trade so that bit ended up like a cattle market. I walked to my hotel as I enjoy walking - it took me 1.25hrs - so I don't know what they were charging.
For the princely sum of $12 - US - I thought it was a good service. The highway out of Seam Reap is a nice bit of road. A bit bumpy just before and after it, and on the road leading to the toilet break but it's probably the same as the roads in the UK at the moment with all the salt and snow damage! : o
There was a $8 ticket but that bus doesn't have a loo - I don't know what condition 'ours' was in 'cause I never used it! I've read somewhere to take some toilet paper with you on these bus trips.
I'd do it again in a heart beat if I was travelling this same itinerary. I'm leaving PP in a couple of days; on my way to Ho Chin Minh City. I'm thinking of using them for that journey too. Again, it's about a 6 hour journey.
I've written this review because some of the questions and answers regarding this journey/Company were well over 12 months old.
HAPPY TRAVELLING. : )
The TV was playing Cambodian music so, if you know the language, you could sing along.....if you know how to read the subtitles. Catchy tunes too!! lol : )
It's how I roll Lizzy. ; )
I'm on the move again!!
I'm leaving Phnom Penh tomorrow via the same bus company and traveling to Ho Chi Minh. This time it's been more difficult to book the ticket because the hotel I'm staying at doesn't use Mekong Express. I went to one Travel Agent who made me sit there like a lemon whilst he turned the place upside down looking for SOMETHING!! I don't know what he was looking for, but when I asked him what the problem was, he said he would have to charge me an extra dollar! I'm assuming he doesn't have an account with them so he wants to make it worth his while.
I know it's only 1 dollar but I didn't have a good feeling about the place so I went to the Air France TA. The ticket will be delivered to them later today. Fingers crossed that it is. I should get be getting a call from then to confirm all this later this afternoon. I've been assured that I'll be picked up from my hotel via the mini van as well.
I'll let you all know how this next journey goes in a few days.