When you say "I walked accross the border myself" what exactly do you me...is there a public bus that will take you close to the border so i dont have to get on an organised bus that will surely rip me off??
My Dutch/German friends and I caught public buses up to Poipet from Trat in the Gulf Of Thailand. The bus dropped us off at an open-air restaurant on the Thai side of the border. Main problem for us, was we were still a few kilometres from the border .. too far to walk. A tour tout was advising us to wait a few hours and catch a mini bus. He was very convincing in his scare tactics, warning us not to go alone across the border. The couple I was with, decided to play it safe and wait for the bus.
I was definitely unnerved, but didn't want to succumb merely to fear of the unknown. Someone had once mentioned to me that "F.E.A.R" stood for "False Evidence Appearing Real". Funny how things come back to you. I hired a tuk-tuk to the border crossing. There were plenty of locals doing the daily crossing thing. I already had a Cambodian visa, so I was able to pretty much slip through unnoticed.
It was a very hot day, and I had a pack on my back. Quite a few pick-up truck drivers were hassling me to overpay them for a ride. As with most transit stations, it's best to just walk straight past until you're away from the crowd and confusion.
I ended up sitting on fairly soft bags of fruit in the back of a pick-up with Cambodians for an hour or so. The ride was extremely bumpy and dusty, and I got quite sunburnt. We drove to Battambang via Sisophon. The latter is about as appealing as Poipet. We had to wait for the pick-up to fill up again with passengers at the Sisophon bus terminal. There were flies galore amongst the heat, dust and stench.
It all made Battambang look good. I stayed 5 days in Battambang. The hotels are good value. Apart from that, you can jump on the back of a motorcycle for a ride in the countryside and see a Khmer Rouge killing cave, which I found much more interesting than the Killing Fields in Pnom Penh.
Like YerMan suggests, there's no need to panic. Cambodia is a real adventure, but not for the faint-hearted.
Well, thanks for all your help and advice. I have found a fantastic web site that has helped put my mind at rest also www.candypublications.com and it tells me everything i wanted to know about the crossing from Bangkok-Siem Reap...check it out if your still unsure. I think I will get a public bus from the Northern bus station in bangkok/tuk tuk or moto from Aran-Poipet and then hopefully a shared taxi for 200B to Siem Reap. I dont fancy the journey on the back of a pick-up truck nor do i wanna use the tourist bus as i have heard the journey is purposfully made longer so that when you arrive in Siem Reap it is late and the guides then take you to a commissioned guesthouse. I think i'm chosing the quickest way.
Has anyone used the share taxi mode of travel from poipet and if so how did you find it??
I've heard stories from friends that the Poipet to Siem Reap pickup ride was the worst experience of their life. They told me next time that there was no question that they would fly from Bangkok.
I've heard and read enough stories that the obvious solution is to take a share taxi. Why subject yourself to waiting around for the pickup to fill up, then stopping at every hick town along the way to go to the driver's cousin's restaurant, then being dropped off at a guesthouse at close to midnight and bullied into staying the night?
A share taxi is 1000 to 1100 baht for the entire car. You can fit up to 6 people inside. For 200 baht (or less) you can leave right away and ride in a car with AC and be in Siem Reap in 3.5 hours.
Isn't 3.5 hours in relative comfort compared to 9.5 hours of pure suffering worth the difference in the fares (120 baht)? That's $3.
I've already posted a similar warning about the overland route to Cambodia through BKK. I've done the border crossing in both the north and south to/from Thailand and WOULD definitely recommend the crossing from Trat to Sihanoukeville (2 hrs from Pnom Penh). The scams abound from Poipet to Siem Reap and it's just as easy to get from PP to SR by speedboat. Plus, the entire area to SR from BKK is unsafe (warning I recieved after I did it from someone who lives in Cambodia).
Or just get a flight....
Take care, and don't be too scared. The border is the worst of Cambodia.
If you take the Trat option on the way out from Thailand be sure to have a few days chilling out on the beaches of Koh Chang. Definitely worth a stopover there if you're in the area and have the time.