The VIP Sleeper Bus Experience in Cambodia

Be Your Own Advocate
5 Weeks in Asia: Costs
A Quick Trip Out of FRA
Money Problems in Beijing
72 Hour Visa Free Transit of Beijing
Scams in Beijing
The Angkor Experience
The VIP Sleeper Bus Experience in Cambodia
Sleepy Kep, Cambodia
Arranging Visas on the Move
The Adventure of A Ricetime: Mekong Delta
The Adventure of  A Ricetime: Easy Riders Tour
The Adventure of  A Ricetime: Tailored Hoi An
The Adventure of  A Ricetime: Solo Motorbiking
The Adventure of  A Ricetime: Halong Bay
The Adventure of  A Ricetime: Sapa
Scams in Vietnam
6 Hours in Bangkok
Scams in Bangkok
A First-Timer First Class Experience

This is a post I’ve been not really wanting to write for a while now… which is why there haven’t been any more installments in my trip report. In an attempt to get the ball rolling again, here’s a short post about the VIP Bus Experience in Cambodia.

I needed to get from Siem Reap to Kep, Cambodia. It’s not a common route for people to take; most tourists are either headed to Phnom Penh or Sihanoukville. So, naturally, my bus route was Siem Reap -> Phnom Penh -> Sihanoukville -> Kep. It was meant to be something like a 14 hour bus ride, all combined, with just one bus change in Sihanoukville. 

My tuk-tuk picked me up from the hostel I was staying at and took me to the bus station where I showed my ticket and boarded my bus. The inside of my bus was two levels with “beds” the shape of recliners at the beach or pool. Two on each side on both the lower level and top level. As a single traveler, you basically get assigned someone who sleeps in the recliner that is right next to yours, but let’s be honest… It’s really one. You can kind of get an idea of how not-ideal the sleeping situation for this long bus ride is from this photo… You can tell that this is a lower level since there isn’t a window. 

VIP Bus in Cambodia

My ride from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh was actually alright, even in spite of the configuration. There was a small boy (maybe 6?) that had the recliner next to me. It was pretty nice, because he was small, so there was a little bit of extra room. At one point he was kind of snuggling with me (I guess he thought I was his mom in his sleep?) which was cute. His family got off in Phnom Penh.

And on got my new seat mate… In this case, it was an overweight middle-aged man, so there was no extra room, and even more than that he was spilling over into my seat. Definitely not my favorite travel experience ever.

Before I tell you about the last leg of the journey, let me mention how the bathroom situation worked. Well, to start, there was no bathroom. If someone had to go, the bus driver was informed, where he pulled over the bus to the side of the road. At this point, if you even thought you might have to go, it was best to get off the bus and take care of business. So in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere in Cambodia, here you have 10-20 people getting off a bus and going to pull their pants down behind the bus, or a bush, or just right out in the open. Obviously, the guys generally had it better than the girls here. 

Finally we made to the Sihanoukville where I was to change to a smaller bus, but we had arrived about 20 minutes late and my bus was already gone! That meant a 4 hour layover while waiting for the next bus. Another traveller, who had missed the connection as well, and I decided to stash our non-valuable bags in the “office” at the bus station and take a tuk-tuk to the beach for a few hours. It was a pretty storm-y day, so not the best beach day, but it was nice to be off the bus and away from the bus station for a little while. 

We eventually made our way back and got on our next bus with nothing too eventful happening, and on that bus I met a girl, Christine, who I would later travel with from Hoi An to Hanoi including side trips to Halong Bay and Sapa, so all ended up turning out great with the missed bus, and while the VIP Bus experience isn’t something I am rushing to repeat, I survived it just fine. In some places bus travel is the most reasonable form of travel, and Cambodia happens to be one of them.

 

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