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Southeast Asia forum

Bus scam from Laos to Phnom Penh SORYA TRANSPORT

Posted by antifa7 on 22/3/2013 at 00:51

Hi all,

I live in Phnom Penh in the Toul Kork district. This place is practically a suburb of Phnom Penh, about 10km into the main tourist/backpacker areas. The streets are laid out in a spoke and wheel pattern and it is easy to get turned around and confused about where exactly you are. As well, once you reach my neighborhood, you can no longer see the skyscrapers and it is easy to not know what direction is town.

For the past week, I've been seeing dozens of backpackers wandering my neighborhood at 11.30pm. The first time I saw this, they were dropped off in front of an ATM at the ACLEDA bank training center. The other night I stopped two of them and asked why they were out here at such an hour. They explained they had been on a bus all day from Laos and that the bus dropped them off in Toul Kork. The tuk tuk drivers all demanded $18 for a ride, even though a full tuk tuk, at night, from Toul Kork to Phnom Penh center should be about $5 for foreigners. I went and found them a ride that was decently priced.

Last night, on my way home, I saw a tuk tuk full of backpackers leaving so I headed in the direction I've seen them before. I ran into a group of five women and at least 7 Khmer tuk tuk drivers haggling the price. I approached and asked what bus they took. One woman said it was Sorya Transport while the tuk tuk drives all reassured me it wasn't. I told the drivers I was here to pick up a friend who said she was being dropped off here (which is a lie, no one getting on this bus know they are going to be dropped off in the middle of no where). The drivers all told me different bus company names and acted as if it was normal to drop people off out here and that my friend's bus already left and I didn't have any business here.

I speak German and so I asked if there were any Germans. Luckily, all five were, and we switched to German so they wouldn't understand. After a while, the drivers knew what I was doing and started telling me in Khmer that they had already agreed on a price. I reassured them I was only helping them find good guesthouses. I also pointed the general direction of Phnom Penh out, and told them if they just walked down this street a little further, they would see the lights of Vattanak Center (under-construction skyscraper and highly visible from miles around), and this really irked the tuktuk drivers. I knew I had overstayed my welcome, so I took off home, hoping the women would either get a fair price, or walk until they found another tuk tuk.

To sum up, PHNOM PENH SORYA TRANSPORT is dropping people off outside Phnom Penh and then tuk tuk drivers are extorting $15-18 dollars off of these people who have just spent a day on a bus.

Please don't fall for this and tell your friends. I am not sure what the company name of the bus in Laos is, but I am sure this is a scam run between the bus drivers and the tuk tuk drivers. You can complain if this has happened to you at the bus station which is located in the southwest quadrant of the Central Market.



#1 antifa7 has been a member since 22/3/2013. Posts: 2

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Posted by Geer1 on 22/3/2013 at 02:22

I found Phnom Penh Sorya bus company to be very professional and find this claim odd , especially since it is the authors only post. Phnom Penh Sorya does run a bus from the Laos border but from what I saw I don't think they would do this. I can tell you that the Phnom Penh Sorya doing this route was in much better shape then the piece of crap Rith Money bus I got put on. Anyways if you do end up taking this route with Sorya just make sure you don't get off until the bus stops at their Phnom Penh office, it is right close to the main market. Look it up on a map and figure out where you are before you get off if that is what it takes. Also never deal with the moto/tuk tuk drivers waiting for you, walk past them and find someone else to take you.

I will say that buying tickets in Laos or at the border is an absolute rip off, they know they have you in the middle of nowhere and charge upwards of 2 times a fair ticket price. The Laos/Cambodia border is a pain and very poorly handled, if possible I would avoid it.

#2 Geer1 has been a member since 14/9/2012. Posts: 540
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Posted by sayadian on 22/3/2013 at 03:02

I saw this post first on Khmer440. I don't think the guy has a beef with Sorya. I think he's just trying to be helpful with the heads up. I doubt whether this is organised by the company and is maybe a scam between tuk-tuk drivers and bus drivers.
With the knowledge provided by the OP people can refuse to get off since surely the bus HAS to get back to Sorya bus station near Psar Thmei.

It's a long walk from Tuol Kork into town but if anyone stuck like this has a map they could walk to the old Lakeside area as there are cheap hotels there on Monivong near Caltex and opposite Calmette hospital.

I can't see much choice as there won't be a lot of tuk-tuks around Tuol Kok at this time of night and they wouldn't interfere with the scam for fear of retribution.I'm damned if I'd pay $18.

You certainly risked your neck undermining their little earner!

Like geer1 I find that Sorya Bus Company is, these days, totally professional but it's just possible for a couple of drivers to be working this scam without the company knowing. After all, this is Cambodia.
Try phoning Sorya?

#3 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
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Posted by antifa7 on 22/3/2013 at 06:26

I have posted this on k440, LP and here. I've been a member on K440 and LP for over 6 years, this board got my first post. As I stated in the OP, the travelers told me it was Sorya buslines, that is where I got the name. As I stated in the OP, this is most definitely a scam between the bus driver and the tuktuk drivers. I take Sorya 100% of the time and they are by far the most professional busline in the country.

I will be talking to them in person.

#4 antifa7 has been a member since 22/3/2013. Posts: 2

Posted by sayadian on 22/3/2013 at 06:38

I'd like to hear what they have to say about this. I don't find Khmers take anything seriously. You'll probably just get the usual embarrassed smile.

#5 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
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