Our woeful journey to Vietnam

As I mentioned in my previous post, we made the silly mistake of booking our bus tickets based on no more information than the time and location on a poster. This resulted in a journey which took 15 hours to cover 7-8 hours of road.

The journey started questionably with a night bus which had no curtains and seemingly no space for everyone. Some guy who could well have been the conductor, set up a mattress in the aisle and proceeded to elbow me in the sides while I was trying to sleep for two hours. In the three hours we were on the bus we maybe got an hour sleep before we were dropped off at Phnom Penh.

Sleepy and confused, we waited around for our bus to arrive hoping to get on one of the two waiting outside the building we were dropped at. Our hopes were shattered however when we were told an hour later that our bus wasn’t due until 6am and we realised we were being switched to another bus company entirely. We were then told that we could “sleep at the office” which was the biggest joke of the journey.

Shortly afterwards we were dropped off by tuk tuk outside a closed furniture shop, where a woman was putting out foldable seats and locking the front door. Here we spent the next five hours grumbling to ourselves, half chuckling at how stupid it was and feeling very annoyed for not researching the bus company beforehand. It even started raining around 2am just to wake us up a bit too.

At roughly 6:30am our second bus finally arrived but instead of it being a ‘hotel bus’ as advertised, it was an old and falling apart vehicle with seats that weren’t even secured to the floor. I have no idea how a bus gets that trashed but there were signs of wear and damage all over the place and the seats were barely in one piece. It was then we realised how good the Giant Ibis buses had been in comparison to this shoddy mess. With Giant Ibis we got free pastries in the morning, free WiFi on the bus and free water too. With Olongpich Express we got ignored, dumped with a different company, left outside in the rain and driven on a bus that felt like it was rolled over by a t-rex in Jurassic Park.

Once we set off our new conductor came around to collect our passports, but we weren’t about to hand them over to a stranger who barely spoke to us before asking for them. After that he refused to answer any of our questions and made himself a bed on one of the seats, coughing violently into the air while we quickly covered our faces with handkerchiefs.

The journey over the border was pretty smooth, probably because it was nothing to do with our bus driver. It was almost a relief to be off the bus for a short time too.

Once we were back on the bus there weren’t really many issues other than a few mosquitos trying to get some lunch from us.

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